2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 26 Ole Miss Rebels
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Ole Miss Rebels
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No. 26: Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss Rebels Prespring Status
It was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but the talent was still in place to do some damage. Losing to Florida State and Alabama early on wasn’t any big deal – both were close games and both were national title-caliber teams – but QB Chad Kelly got hurt late, the run defense went bye-bye early, and the Rebels lost five of their last seven games, bottoming out in a blowout loss to Mississippi State to finish with a losing season.
This year’s team loses Kelly, and a few of the top receivers, but there’s plenty of hope – post-season ban aside, for now – with the line full of underclassmen last season all returning, and with Shea Patterson looking like the program’s new star under center. The defense can’t be much worse, so it’s not that big a deal to lose six starters – at least in theory.
Ole Miss Rebels Biggest Issue
The receiving corps. The defense might lose plenty of starters, but six of the top seven tacklers are back. Losing star TE Evan Engram takes away the most dangerous target and the team’s leading receiver, but the early departure of Damore’ea Stringfellow might sting just as much. Throw in the loss of Quincy Adeboyejo, and three of the top four receivers are gone. The goal, though, is for everyone to be better because of …
Ole Miss Rebels Biggest Positive
The Shea Patterson show. Even with the losses in the receiving corps, Patterson should make last year’s 13th-ranked passing game rock again. It obviously wasn’t a plus to lose Kelly for the season before the final three games, but on the plus side, Patterson got his feet wet, showing why some considered him 2016’s top quarterback recruit. He might have been a little off at times, but he hit the 320-yard mark in two of his three games with two touchdown passes in each.
Really, Why Are The Ole Miss Rebels Ranked Here?
It just seemed like the season got away from the Rebels. The talent and athleticism are there on both sides of the ball, but defense has to be far, far better after getting ripped apart way too easily, while the offense has to be a bit more balanced. More than anything else, Ole Miss has to be more physical up front.
There’s flash, splash and dash, but can the Rebels get nasty? Expect a rebound with the good recruiting classes starting to mature, but there won’t be a major push to win the SEC West – and now there won’t be a bowl game. Of course, that could be the least of the team’s problems if Hugh Freeze doesn’t survive the controversy. However, the team is good enough to come up with a winning record, and that’ll have to do considering the self-imposed sanctions and post-season ban for 2017.