Tight End Specialist

Junior tight end Evan Engram said the Rebels feel a lot better about things now than they did at the end of last season when they lost four of their last six games to finish 9-4.

“I feel like we’ve got a lot of energy,” said the junior tight end. “I still feel like we’ve got a lot to prove to ourselves. We’ve got a lot of things that we need to work on and we’re focused on that this spring.”

Engram said he and his teammates are working as one over the next six months to prepare for another season of Ole Miss football.

“We’re going to play for each other. We’re going to get better each and every day,” said the Powder Springs, Ga., product. “We’re going to push each other and play to the best of our abilities. We just want to be the best ‘us’ that we can be every day. That’s where our momentum is and really focusing on us and on the things we can do better than last year.”

The 6-foot-3, 227-pounder said he’s seeing a lot of good things from the quarterback position where Ryan Buchanan, Devante Kincade, and Chad Kelly are working to be Bo Wallace’s replacement.

“There’s a lot of dedication. Lot of hard work and little things in the film room, in the weight room, on the field. Those guys are working every day, and that’s what we want to see from a quarterback,” Engram said. “A guy that’s dedicated to competing for a starting job and leading the team, and all three of them have shown that.”

Having Laquon Treadwell back has also been a positive for the team. The all-star receiver broke a bone in his foot in a loss to Auburn on Nov. 1, 2014.

“It’s good to have him around, have him back in workouts, talking as usual and getting us going,” Engram said. “It’s fun and good to see him out there. He’s put a lot of work in the training room, and now he’s back in the weight room and running with us. He brings an energy and he brings the leadership, and it’s good to have that back.

“He looks good. He’s lost some weight. He moves a lot better. He said he feels good running, and he looks pretty good.”

Engram caught 21 passes in eight games in 2013. Last season he was in 13 games and caught 38 passes. He has five touchdown receptions in two years of college football.

He wants to improve in every area before the 2015 season begins on Sept. 5 against Tennessee-Martin in Oxford.

“I’ve been focused on getting stronger. Being able to hold blocks with the D-ends and the linebackers and the bigger guys. I’ve been focused on getting stronger in the weight room, focused on my hands, route running, just everything that comes with the tight end spot.

“I want to be more of a guy that coach doesn’t have to pull me out on third and short. I want to stay in and see if I can hold my own against the bigger D-ends. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger. I’ve still got the spring and the long summer, so I’ve got a lot of time. I feel like I’m getting there.”

Fellow tight end Sammie Epps has made progress, according to Engram. The redshirt freshman from Greenwood is 6-5, 215.

“He’s ready to learn. He’s staying after workouts and getting extra work in,” Engram said. “Catching balls. Running routes. He’s pretty much under my wing now, leading him and making sure he’s doing right on and off the field. He’s a good kid and he’s going to be good. He wants to play and help this team win. He’s matured with his decision making off the field. He has the ability to stretch the field. His route running has gotten a lot better. His speed is up there, and he’s pretty physical. He’s bigger than a lot of people think he is. He’s real strong and he can do some things in the run game as well.”

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