Stock Report: Five to Watch

Ole Miss opens its 2010 season Saturday against Jacksonville State at 2:30 p.m. Go inside for five players to watch as kickoff approaches.

#5 WR - Melvin Harris
Buford, Ga. | SO-1L
SIZE: 6-7/205
STOCK: En Fuego
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: It could be argued that no player has had a better preseason camp than Melvin Harris. He opened fall practices firmly behind senior Markeith Summers at wide receiver, only to make the jump to starter after showcasing his ability to consistently make plays for a receiving corps in need of a go-to target without Shay Hodge as its crutch. Harris spent the summer working individually with sophomore quarterback Nathan Stanley, sharpening his routes and developing an on-the-field chemistry. Not that the pair had to do too much to gain a comfort level. Harris and Stanley, both redshirted after signing in the recruiting class of the 2008, have worked alongside as scout team members for the last three seasons. Now in 2010, they'll have the opportunity to take it to the playing field inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
QUOTABLE: "It's always been my dream to play college football," Harris said. "I've been playing football for 15 years. To be that go-to guy is just a blessing from God. I'm glad they trust me enough to know I'm dedicated and committed to have that role on the team."
2009 TOTALS: 3 games, 1 reception, 5 yards
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 3 catches, 87 yards, 1 touchdown

#7 DE - Wayne Dorsey
Baltimore, Md. | JR-JC
SIZE: 6-6/265
STOCK: Rising
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Wayne Dorsey already had enough pressure in his Ole Miss debut. When he arrived in Oxford in January, the junior college transfer was immediately cast as the team's starting defensive end opposite Kentrell Lockett, chiefly due to inexperience at his position following the departures of seniors Marcus Tillman and Emmanuel Stephens. He's lived up to his lofty five-star ranking, providing a solid, if unspectacular, presence for an Ole Miss defense billed as one of the SEC's best. He'll have to shoulder even more of the burden Saturday, however, as Lockett has been ruled out due to an irregular heartbeat. By default, Dorsey becomes the veteran anchor of the defensive ends, even if he's yet to take a meaningful snap in his Rebel career. It's more responsibility than he could have possibly anticipated, but if Dorsey has proven anything this fall, it's that he's capable of handling any role thrown his way.
QUOTABLE: "I've learned a lot throughout the years, but I haven't played a down in the SEC," Dorsey said. "But I've still played more football than the younger guys, so I can point out little things that I've learned to try and help them along."
2009 TOTALS: N/A
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 4 tackles, 2 sacks

#12 QB - Nathan Stanley
Tahlequah, Okla. | SO-1L
SIZE: 6-5/215
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Nathan Stanley makes the list for obvious reasons. As if his first career start wasn't enough, the sophomore signal-caller will be playing under, let's face it, heightened scrutiny. Jeremiah Masoli was ruled ineligible by the NCAA this week, meaning Stanley is clearly the Rebels' starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. How he fares is sure to be discussed and dissected amongst Rebel faithful, so a good opening performance could go a long way in easing any concerns of his ability to consistently run the offense. And not once this fall has he proved incapable, thanks mostly to his calm demeanor and knack for making the right play. Turnovers have been a problem over his young career, but Stanley has come a long way in curtailing his most glaring deficiency. As long as he stays within himself and doesn't try and do too much, he could be in for a happy season opener.
QUOTABLE: "Just to be focused and take these guys seriously," Stanley said. "(JSU is) a real athletic team. They're corners are real aggressive and have good ball skills. They fly around to the ball."
2009 TOTALS: 5 games, 11-of-23 completions per attempt, 163 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 8-of-15, 201 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception

Bastrop, La. | JR-JC
SIZE: 6-0/190
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Like Stanley, Randall Mackey easily makes the list, and for obvious reason. Not even a week ago, it appeared he would be used sparingly, if at all, Saturday. There was even mention of a redshirt season by Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, as remote a possibility as that may be. However, with the unfortunate loss of Masoli, the decorated junior college transfer steps in as Ole Miss' No. 2 quarterback. He has a role, too. Nutt intends to use Mackey in certain packages built around his ability to create with his feet. But don't discount Mackey's passing ability. Nutt has often referred to the talented dual-threat as the most accurate of the three quarterbacks. It doesn't hurt that he threw for close to 4,000 yards in his final season at East Mississippi Community College. Still, Saturday will be his first taste of the Division-I level. While he arrived at Ole Miss with the highest of expectations, he'll need his time to adjust to the speed of the game, as well as the every-down nuances of football's most scrutinized position. Good thing he gets his feet wet against Jacksonville State.
QUOTABLE: "We're feeling real good. Me and Nate are feeling real good about the game plan we have," Mackey said. "We just have to go in, execute and make sure we do everything right."
2009 TOTALS: N/A
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 4-of-9, 54 yards, 1 touchdown; 4 carries, 21 yards, 1 touchdown

#90 DE - Gerald Rivers
Ellenwood, Ga. | SO-1L
SIZE: 6-5/245
STOCK: Rising
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Outside of the quarterbacks, no player has more riding on Saturday than Gerald Rivers. The sophomore defensive end, who claims just five career game appearances, is being asked to pick up the production gone with the absence of Lockett. It's taken some time for the long-time backup to make noise in preseason camp, but he did in August, leaving a lasting impression on his coaches and staving off a star-studded class of true freshmen. The job is his to lose until Lockett returns. He must avoid those mental lapses that have sidetracked his course to productive player. If he does, Rivers will continue to see the field as a member of a talented, albeit thin, rotation at defensive end.
QUOTABLE: "We rotate just about every other play, so you just got to be ready," Rivers said. "We were going to be back out there anyway, so it's just depending on who I'm rolling with. If everybody stays focused and follows through on what Coach (Tyrone) Nix puts out for us, we can do good things."
2009 TOTALS: 4 games, 4 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss
BEN'S BOLD PREDICTION: 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

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