Welcomed Return

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt battled nerves late Monday night. He couldn't help it.

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Freshman cornerback Senquez Golson was in Boston negotiating with the Red Sox, who had selected Golson with their eighth-round pick (262nd overall) of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft in June. The deadline for Golson to sign a contract was 11 p.m. CT.

The Red Sox offered Golson a multiyear contract well above slot position for an eighth-round pick. The final offer was substantially north of $1 million, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

Nutt kept tabs on the discussions. He contacted Golson's father, Anthony, about five minutes prior to the deadline, the elder Golson assuring Nutt his son wouldn't be signing with Boston.

"Oh my goodness," Nutt said. "That was awesome. That was just unbelievable. I just appreciate (Senquez) very much. For him to turn down that and have a feeling that he wanted to be an Ole Miss Rebel, it's special. I appreciate that decision."

But Nutt still had reservations on his way to work Tuesday morning. He didn't get a chance to speak with Senquez Monday night. "That's what scared me," he said. "I thought, man, they still got him and they're going to sign him." So he called Anthony again. The answer was the same.

Senquez would be returning to Ole Miss to play both football and baseball.

Senquez Golson
Bruce Newman

"I was still a little nervous coming to work this morning," Nutt said. "I called (Golson's) dad again. I said ‘Hey, is he coming home?' He said yes. I said ‘Is he coming home without a contract, though?' Yes. I said ‘OK. Good.'"

Freshman wide receiver Tobias Singleton said he and Golson are "real close." A pair of former four-star recruits, the two developed a friendship throughout the recruitment process, and ultimately signed with Ole Miss together in February.

Golson's return, at least to Singleton, is a relief.

"I was real pumped. He's in our class; he's in the class of '11. We need all the guys we can to come back and play," he said. "I'm happy he's back. He can help the team out, ‘cause he's real good."

"I mean, it's just another guy we needed on defense, just another weapon," wide receiver/cornerback Nickolas Brassell, another member of the highly-touted freshmen class, said. "It's great to have him back. We were going to support him whatever his decision was."

Had Golson, who didn't participate in practice Tuesday, signed with Boston, Brassell was poised to see even more time at cornerback. Though he has split time between offense and defense throughout August practices, Brassell has played wide receiver primarily.

"I mean, we're just trying to work either/or. Wherever we need help at, just fill in at that position," Brassell said of playing both ways. "We've got a lot of corners, a lot of good corners. I just got to keep working on both sides, getting a lot of reps on offense and defense. I'm just working. Wherever they need me, I'll be ready for it."

Ole Miss lacks depth at cornerback, making Golson's return that much more important. He is currently behind starters Charles Sawyer and Marcus Temple (a sophomore and a senior, respectively) and key reserve Wesley Pendleton, a junior college transfer.

"Good. It gives more depth and it gives us more competition with all the corners," Sawyer said of having Golson back with the team. "He's very strong, he's a competitor and he has good ball skills and he has good awareness."

Golson, of Pascagoula, was rated the No. 25 cornerback in the nation by Scout.com, after tallying three interceptions and five touchdowns in his senior year of high school. As an outfielder, he hit .325 with three home runs, 23 RBI and 16 steals.

"He came and talked to us before he left," Singleton said. "He was, like, he was just going to see how it is. But he didn't know if he was coming back. I just wished him the best."

Now Singleton can welcome him home.

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