Brassell Has Brass

The quick emergence of Rebel freshman do-all performer Nick "Snoop" Brassell may be surprising to some, but it's not to him nor his high school coach, South Panola's Lance Pogue.

Last summer, in a chance meeting at a Mexican food joint in Batesville, Lance Pogue, South Panola's ultra-successful head coach, didn't mince words.

"Snoop (Nick Brassell) will be one of Ole Miss' best players on the team midway through this season," said Pogue, with not a hint of hesitation or indecisiveness in his voice. "He is the ultimate competitor, the ultimate team player and he never, ever quits."

While one knows to trust Pogue, a no-nonsense guy when it comes to football, that's a mouthful.

After all, Brassell would be jumping up into the SEC and, as it panned out, he would not be able to go through the whole summer training session - he arrived at Ole Miss for second semester summer school.

"Just sit back and watch," Pogue reiterated.

As is turns out, Pogue was right on the money, but his prediction was not so much a prophecy as it was just knowing his protege.

Brassell hit the ground running and has basically taken a seat at the head of the table on the Rebel squad, playing both offense and defense.

Yes, there were some learning curves in the early going this year. Yes, there were mistakes. Yes, there were growing pains.

But those things lasted about two blinks of an eye.

His numbers aren't mind-boggling, but they are impressive. Through seven games, Brassell has caught 15 passes for 245 yards, a 16.3 yards per catch average, and he has knocked down four passes, caused a fumble and recovered it in limited defensive play at corner.

"Nick is a special player who is really coming into his own now," said Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt. "We have a world of faith in him. We trust him. Look at his contributions against Arkansas. We wanted the ball in his hands and he wants it in his hands."

Brassell, who caught eight passes for 70 yards and ran for 17 more yards on five carries from direct handoff, had a feeling it was coming.

"I had a talk with Coach Nutt last week and told him I knew I could make plays for the team if they would put the ball in my hands," he said. "I know what I can do with the ball in my hands and he trusted me to make something happen.

"I kind of knew I was going to get the ball more by the plays we worked on in practice, but I wanted him to know I wouldn't let him or the team down."

Nick Brassell
Associated Press

Brassell keeps things simple in his approach. Instead of worrying about the difficulty of the transition from high school to college or the complexity of college offenses or defenses or the speed of the game on this level, he just does what comes naturally.

"Right now, all I know to do is just go out there and ball," he said. "I can't think about how great the players are on the other team or whether or not I belong yet. I just do my thing and play."

That attitude alone, however, has not gotten him to this point in his development.

"When you have a coach like Gunter Brewer, who has coached some great receivers like Randy Moss and Dez Bryant, you know he can help you if you pay attention," he continued. "I get better every week because I listen to him and he teaches me something every day in my technique or film study.

"He knows we (Brassell and the highly-regarded group of freshman wideouts) have talent, but he knows we have to polish things. How to come out of breaks and simple things that we are picking up on each day. He has also taught us a whole lot about reading coverages. We are a work in progress, but we are making strides."

Brassell is an exception to most players, however. He is also asked to flip over and play some defensive back in certain situations.

"The coaches have kept it simple for me. When I go in, it's usually just them giving me the number of a receiver and letting me cover them man-to-man," he stated. "I am part of other coverages too, but they don't overload me mentally."

His preference?

"Man, I don't care. I just want to be on the field and do what I can to help my team win. That's all - put me anywhere," Nick noted.

When the ball is in his hands, Brassell only has two thoughts.

"I'm a one-move guy. I get upfield as quickly as I can. I don't believe in dancing around. I will make one cut and go. I also think I can score every time I touch the ball," he said.

Brassell is not used to losing, and he says he will never get used to that, but he's not discouraged.

"We are really young right now, so we are just trying to get everyone on the same page and finish the season out strong," Brassell said. "We are not only looking forward to the rest of the year, but we are looking to the future as well.

"The teams that are beating us now better enjoy it, because it will be our turn soon. We will get it together."

Brassell has progressed by leaps and bounds, but he's nowhere near where he believes he will be in the long haul.

"I have to keep working on everything. Work hard, stay focused, be a team player, be a young leader - it will all come," he closed. "Also, right now I am just trying to keep my strength up and keep my weight where it is (175 pounds). Next year, I'm going to be around 185-190 and it will be a totally different deal for me."

Nick Brassell has already made some noise in his true freshman year.

Expect the volume to be turned up more and more as the weeks click by.

As Pogue said, Brassell is special.

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