Over and Out?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - If Monday was Donte Moncrief's final game in an Ole Miss uniform, the junior wide receiver went out in style.

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Ole Miss defeated Georgia Tech, 25-17, in the Music City Bowl. Moncrief, who is eligible to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, led Ole Miss in receiving with 113 yards on six receptions, including a long of 52 yards. His lone touchdown grab came from 28 yards out midway through the second quarter.

"I'm just going to let my dad, my mom and (Ole Miss head) Coach (Hugh) Freeze sit down and talk about it," he said of his upcoming decision. "Whatever decision they make, I'm going to go along with it."

Moncrief said a he'll know what he's going to do next week after he meets with Freeze. He certainly showed his potential against Georgia Tech.

But a few hours prior to the game, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay projected Moncrief as among the top half dozen wide receivers taken in April's draft, with the possibility of going as high as the second round.

"I ignore that stuff, man. What a team needs, what a team wants, that's what they'll get," Moncrief said. "I'm just going to keep on playing football, man, and get back and let Coach Freeze and them make the decision.

"There are a lot of great players, a lot of great receivers. I don't know. Everybody else is out there working hard just like I am. Wherever they have me, they have me. Whatever Coach Freeze comes up with, I'll go with. I'll just have to work my way to the top."

Donte Moncrief
Bruce Newman

Ole Miss totaled 477 yards of offense in the win, and junior quarterback Bo Wallace was named MVP. He led Ole Miss with 86 yards rushing on 13 carries and two touchdowns. Through the air, he was 22 of 32 for 256 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

While Wallace would obviously like to have Moncrief back, he feels the Rebels have capable wide receivers in the wings should he bolt, namely impressive freshmen Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyejo.

"Quincy's coming on," Wallace said. "That's really exciting to see. If Donte leaves, obviously it's hard to fill his shoes. But we have a guy (in Adeboyejo) that has the potential to be a Laquon-type guy. A game-changer. I think he's the guy in our receiving corps who can catch the ball and take it 60. I think he's that guy."

"Obviously, he's a force and we'd love to have him back," Ole Miss co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner said. "But we've got a bunch of guys we feel good about, along with some of the guys who are committed to us."

Ole Miss has two wide receivers committed for the recruiting class of 2014: Jackson, Miss., wide receiver Dayall Harris, a three-star prospect, and Purvis, Miss., wide receiver Markell Pack, who is rated a four-star prospect by Scout.com.

"I think the recruits and people see that we're going to throw the ball and playing wide receiver here is a lot of fun," Werner said. I feel really good about that position right now.

"I will definitely give (Moncrief) my opinion. In my years at other schools, we had a lot of guys leave early - some for the good, some not so good. So we'll talk about it. But the main guy is Coach Freeze will talk to him. It's a life-changing decision. Whatever he does, I wish him the best."

In Ole Miss' favor is the allure of a college degree, which Moncrief said is not only important to him, but his mother, too.

"The big thing is for my mom, like she always says, getting that degree," he said. "That's a big thing for her. That's one of the things, and the Egg Bowl also. We lost to (Mississippi State) this year, so we need to go out and get another win. Those two things are big things for me. Just staying focused and keeping God first."

Still, Moncrief admitted the itch to jump to the NFL, the dream, is awfully tempting.

Donte Moncrief
Alex Edwards

"It is, ‘cause that's always been the dream," Moncrief said. "But at the same time, you've got to think about other situations and other things that can happen in life. A degree is a big thing for me, and that's a big thing for my mom. Coach Freeze has been in this situation before. He knows what's best for me. I'm going to let him make that big decision."

Moncrief finished his junior season with 938 yards on 59 receptions and six touchdowns. His 113-yard performance in the Music City Bowl was his ninth 100-yard receiving game in his Ole Miss career. His 20 touchdowns rank third in school history.

His production took off under Freeze. As a freshman, the Rebels won all of two games and suffered 10 losses. They were 0-8 in the SEC. However, Moncrief was a part of the heralded class of 2011, which was instrumental in a five-game turnaround a year later.

Playing with his teammates is what he'll miss the most if what's next is NFL millions.

"My class, when we first came in, we always used to say we're going to change things," Moncrief said. "We used to stay together all the time, we used to do extra work and we always stayed around each other and tried to keep everybody up when everybody else was down. That was the big thing. We tried to help out the team as much as possible. We were just staying focused as young players and it just kept building up. The more time together, the better we got.

"These boys gave it out every game - defense, offense, young guys and older guys. Great players out here, man. These guys are going to keep getting better, whether I'm here or not."

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