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The Ole Miss Rebels have just completed another exciting spring of football. After a ruff beginning to last years football season, the Rebels found the man to lead their football team right in the trenches, Matt Luke. Luke played offensive lineman for the Rebels in the mid 90s and he has been a long time assistant for the team. Luke is coming off of his first spring as Ole Miss head coach, and there is plenty of excitement starting with quarterback Jordan Ta’amu.
Ta’amu is the Starter
There is no quarterback competition in Oxford after 5 star recruit Shae Patterson bolted to Michigan. Ta’amu has embraced the role of being the teams starter, and he also had a solid spring game completing 12 of 20 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Ta’amu has given the Rebels a reason for optimism heading into this years season with his steady presence.
Takeaways From the Grove Bowl
The Ole Miss Rebels will once again be a formidable opponent in the SEC, but they will face their challenges on defense. According to the Clarion Ledger, coach Matt Luke is concerned about the Rebels physicality on defense and their ability to stop the run. The Rebels will have to replace linebacker DeMaquis Gates, defensive linemen Isaac Gross, safety C.J. Hampton, defensive end Maquis Haynes, safety A.J. Moore, defensive tackle Herbert Moore, and defensive end Breeland Speaks, who all participated in Ole Miss pro day.
Chucky Mullin Courage Award
The Chucky Mullin Courage Award was created in 1989 to honor the Ole Miss defensive back, after he suffered a career ending injury that left him paralyzed. The tradition at Ole Miss is each year one defensive player will be awarded the Chucky Mullin Courage Award, and with that award goes the honor of wearing jersey number 38. This years award winner is defensive back C.J. Moore.
Ole Miss Pro Day
There were 31 one teams represented at Ole Miss pro day, with the Washington Redskins being the only team not in attendance. Safety A.J. Moore ran an impressive 4.39 40-yard dash. Also notable was Marquis Haynes, running a 4.56, and offensive lineman Daronte Bouldin putting up 35 reps at 225 pounds. Haynes and Speaks are expected to be drafted in the third or fourth rounds while running back Jordan Wilkins, who rushed for 1,000 yards last season and ran a 4.51 at his pro day is expected to go in the fourth or fifth rounds. Over the past five years the Rebels have recruited as well as anyone in the country. In 2016 the Rebels had six players drafted and last year they had five players drafted.
After an exciting spring, the Rebels are looking forward to returning to life as usual. I have the Rebels being bowl eligible, winning 7 games. Obviously, their offense will have to carry the team this year, but they will cause trouble for SEC foes. Look for Ta’amu to put up some big numbers in the air with a very solid receiving corp. Ta’amu should also provide the Rebels some opportunities with his ability to move the sticks with his legs.