Note: This post-spring depth chart only includes players currently on the roster. Ole Miss secured a top-10 class in February, including many top-rated signees who will factor into the season-opening plans for Florida State in September. But it’s April, and while Ole Miss certainly feels good about its additions, transition times vary from player to player. Suffice to say, the depth chart is fluid and sure to change. For now, we’ll go with what we know for sure.
1. Chad Kelly 2a. Shea Patterson 2b. Jason Pellerin
Spirit’s Take: Kelly is obviously the headliner of the position, but both Patterson and Pellerin came along late in spring, moving the offense effectively with Kelly sidelined for the final week of practices due to surgery to repair a sports hernia. Barring the unforeseen, Kelly is going to take the vast majority of snaps. He enters his senior season as the top quarterback in the SEC, and he’s embracing his role as a leader for the Rebels, while also knowing the offense inside and out. Assuming everything goes according to play, he appears poised for a banner year.
1. Jordan Wilkins 1b. Akeem Judd. 3. Eric Swinney 4. Eugene Brazley 4b. D.K. Buford
Spirit’s Take: Ole Miss is in good hands with experienced veterans Wilkins and Judd leading its running back stable. The pair’s combined experience shining in the spring. But they didn’t rest on their laurels. Both Wilkins and Judd have worked to improve, and they’ve been successful in their quest. But Swinney certainly raised eyebrows with his physical running style. He ran over a defender seemingly every practice.
WR: 1. Damarkus Lodge 2. Trey Bledsoe
WR: 1. Quincy Adeboyejo 2. Derrick Jones
Slot: 1. Van Jefferson 2. Markell Pack
Spirit’s Take: Obviously Damore’ea Stringfellow will play into the rotation, if not a starting role, once he returns from his ankle injury in the fall. He’s long been considered the heir apparent to Laquon Treadwell, who opted to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. He’s a projected first round pick. But Adeboyejo, Lodge, Jefferson and Jones were all impressive during the spring, while Pack has been a proven performer. No player raised his stock more than Jefferson, who redshirted last season. He was named the most improved offensive player. Of course, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and Tre Nixon are on the way.
1. Evan Engram 2. Hunter Thurley
Spirit’s Take: Ty Quick and Dawson Knox could very well factor in at some point in the fall, but Engram is firmly entrenched as the starter, while Thurley had a strong showing over 15 practices. He also had good moments last season in a reserve role. But there’s a path to playing time for four-star signee Octavious Cooley, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound physical freak who Ole Miss believes is the future at the position.
LT: 1. Alex Givens 2. Michael Howard
LG: 1. Javon Patterson 2. Tyler Putman
C: 1. Sean Rawlings 2. Eli Johnson
RG: 1. Jordan Sims 2. Darounte Bouldin
RT: 1. Jeremy Liggins 2. Talbot Buys
Spirit’s Take: Arguably no position will see more reshuffling in the fall than the offensive line. Robert Conyers should factor in heavily, if healthy, at right tackle or center, while Rod Taylor should, too, so long as his shoulder is full healed and he keeps his nose clean off the field. Taylor could slide in at tackle or guard, and five-star Greg Little was signed as the replacement for Laremy Tunsil, who is widely considered the top overall prospect of this year’s NFL Draft crop. But the idea of Taylor at left tackle has been floated around. In short, Ole Miss has plenty of options, even if it wasn’t able to show it in the spring.
DE: 1. John Youngblood 2. Garrald McDowell
DE: 1. Marquis Haynes 2. Victor Evans
DT: 1. David Jones 2. Ross Donelly
NT: 1. Breeland Speaks 2a. Benito Jones 2b. Austrian Robinson
Spirit’s Take: Fadol Brown, it stands to reason, will assume his starting position at defensive end ahead of Youngblood once he returns from a foot injury. Issac Gross is sure to play significant minutes at either defensive tackle spot. The bottom line is the defensive line should be a team strength. Charles Wiley showed tremendous ability in the spring, but, as of today, he most likely needs a redshirt.
LB: 1. Demarquis Gates 2. Temario Strong 3. Willie Hibbler
LB: 1. Terry Caldwell 2. Taylor Polk
Spirit’s Take: Like the offensive line, linebacker will see an influx of talent come fall practices, including Oregon State grad transfer Rommel Mageo and former Georgia signee Detric Bing-Dukes. Freshman Donta Evans got his first taste of college football in the spring as one of six early enrollees, but he’s still learning the ropes and swimming a bit, though Ole Miss is excited about his potential.
CB: 1. Kendarius Webster 2. Carlos Davis 3. Jalen Julius
CB: 1. Tony Bridges 2. Kailo Moore 3. Cam Ordway
Spirit’s Take: The collective experience of the Rebel cornerbacks from last year showed in the spring. The group appeared much more confident and sure of themselves schematically as an entire unit. Ole Miss is comfortable with its depth at the position and has talent across the board, which is something Ole Miss hasn’t been able to say in quite some time.
FS: 1. C.J. Hampton 2. Zedrick Woods 3. Armani Linton
SS: 1. C.J. Moore 2. Myles Hartsfield 3. Greg Eisworth
Husky: 1. Montrell Custis 2. A.J. Moore
Spirit’s Take: Closing fast are Hartsfield and Woods, which should make for an interesting, and competitive, fall camp. Head coach Hugh Freeze said upon the conclusion of camp he was excited about his safeties, as the group possesses a nice mix of veterans and dynamic young talent. And to think, Deontay Anderson isn’t even on campus yet, not to mention Tony Conner, who entered his junior season as a projected first round draft selection. He’ll be the husky so long as he returns to form from his meniscus injury, and freshman Greg Eisworth impressed and should see time as well.