The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Ole Miss Rebels.
No. 53: Ole Miss Rebels
Spring Practice Starts: February 7
Spring Game: April 7
Ole Miss Rebels Spring Status
Just keep on breathing.
After all the punishments and all of the problems, Ole Miss has the head coach in Matt Luke who lives and breathes Rebel football, it has the offensive coordinator in Phil Longo, and it has enough decent players to do more after finishing strong with a 6-6 season.
There won’t be any bowl game at the end of the rainbow, but the team never gave up last year, it won three of its last four games, and it beat Mississippi State – bowl game, schmowl game.
QB Shea Patterson might be at Michigan now, but the receiving corps is loaded, four starters are back on the O line, and just about everyone is back in the secondary.
Once again, this will be a dangerous team with nothing to lose. And it’ll play like it.
Ole Miss Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Running back. The Rebels move the ball through the air, running for just 1,607 yards last season. However, Jordan Wilkins was a player, hitting the 1,000-yard mark and running for nine scores.
There’s a deep group looking to be a part of the rotation, starting with leading returning backs D’Vaughn Pennamon – who’s trying to come back from a bad knee injury – and Eric Swinney, but it’s JUCO transfer Scottie Phillips who’ll bring the big expectations.
Ole Miss Biggest Issue
The run defense has to be back to great. Or, at least, it has to be okay again. The 2014 and 2015 Rebel run defenses were incredible, but the 2016 version fell off the map, allowing close to 3,000 yards and 31 scores.
Last season, it was hit for 2,944 yards and 20 touchdowns, getting run over by everyone in the SEC but Texas A&M. There’s experience and size, but everyone has to be a whole lot better around Benito Jones.
Ole Miss Biggest Positive
The Patterson-less passing game is going to rock. The one positive of Shae Patterson going down was the rise of Jordan Ta’amu, who stepped in and finished with 1,682 yards and 11 scores with four picks.
He’s back along with most of his weapons. A.J. Brown is one of the SEC’s best targets, but he’s hardly alone with the top five targets returning. Expect 4,000 passing yards.
Really, Why Are The Ole Miss Rebels Ranked Here?
The depth isn’t there, but it’s not like the program is going to fade away after all the issues. There’s enough offensive firepower to make up for the concerns on defense – keeping up with most teams won’t be a problem. Sort of like last season, the Rebels can let it loose, and it should make for a whole lot of fun, wild shootouts.