Making the Jump

Senquez Golson came close to signing with the Boston Red Sox. He'll admit as much.

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Actually, he could still sign with the club. The Red Sox drafted Golson out of Pascagoula High School with their eighth-round pick (262nd overall) of the Major League Baseball draft in June.

Golson, who plans to play both baseball and football in college, has since reported to Ole Miss and is participating in fall practices.

"It's just competition, you know? Things are a lot faster," Golson said of college Monday during Ole Miss' annual media day. "It's just something you've got to get used to, not make a big adjustment, just get in there early and see if you can make the jump."

He didn't completely shut the door on the possibility of signing with Boston. The deadline for Major League teams to sign 2011 draft picks is August 15. Golson, an outfielder in baseball and cornerback in football, batted .325 with three home runs, 23 RBI and 16 steals as a senior.

"It was getting down to it," Golson said of negotiations, which took place mostly in late June, early July. "It came pretty close, but I don't think that's going to happen. You still got August 15 to sign, but I just feel like I need to be here for a couple of years before I go out on my own."

Senquez Golson
Chuck Rounsaville

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Golson, who has impressed in August practices, was rated a four-star recruit and the No. 25 cornerback in the country by He finished his senior season with three interceptions and five touchdowns.

By comparison, Ole Miss was last in the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense last season and, as a team, had just six interceptions.

The 18-year-old Golson said the opportunity to play football was important, hence his arrival in Oxford for the second summer term last month.

"It was really important. I got love for football. I love football," he said. "Here, I can play football and baseball. That's a big part of it. I think I can come in and help out a lot, kind of add depth to the corners, you know? I just got to get in and learn the plays and get everything down.

"The upperclassmen, they're helping me out and pushing me along. I think I can come in and make a pretty good impact, hopefully."

Golson has already left an impression on one of those upperclassmen, safety Brishen Mathews. Mathews, a starter, believes Golson could see the field early if he continues at his current pace.

"Senquez is going to have a very good opportunity to play this year as a true freshman," Mathews said. "He's really fast, he listens well, he takes coaching, got great ball skills. If he keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to be very happy come the fall."

"When you look at the freshmen, you usually think ‘Oh, he's just getting his feet wet.' Senquez, he's working," sophomore cornerback Charles Sawyer said. "He listens to the coaches, takes coaching and he makes plays on the ball. That's what you need in the secondary."

The presence of Golson is a relief for head coach Houston Nutt. Ole Miss is severely lacking in depth at cornerback. Golson provides quality depth, if not the potential to start at some point this season.

"Senquez Golson, I thank him every day. And his family," Nutt said. "They had an opportunity to accept money and go play baseball, and they didn't do it. Wanted to come to Ole Miss. This guy is so talented. He's physical. He's more mature than I think any freshmen corner I've seen in a long time. It's a blessing that he's here. If we didn't have Senquez, we'd be hurting with depth."

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