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Spring practice review: offense

Austin McAfee/The Daily Mississippian

With the end of spring practice, football beat writer Bennett Hipp breaks down next year’s Ole Miss football team position-by-position, starting with the defense. Tomorrow, he breaks down the offense. 

 

Quarterbacks:

This position received the most attention during the spring and will continue to do so until a starter is named in the fall. Junior Barry Brunetti started off playing well in the spring and won the first week and a half or so. The last two weeks belonged to sophomore Bo Wallace, who capped off his spring with an impressive performance in the Grove Bowl. Both players enter the summer as co-number ones on the depth chart. Senior Randall Mackey shifted to wide receiver during the spring but threw for two touchdowns in the spring game in special formations. Ole Miss could add another quarterback to the mix as well, as University of Kansas transfer Brock Berglund is scheduled to visit Ole Miss in the coming days. He would have five years to play four. 

Running Backs:

Lack of depth is the biggest issue for the Rebels at this point in time. Junior Jeff Scott returns, but he isn’t built to be an every-down back. Sophomore wide receiver Tobias Singleton shifted from receiver to running back during the spring, but it’s not a certainty that he’ll stay there. Senior Devin Thomas and sophomore Nick Parker, who lost a lot of weight during the off-season, are both battling to stay in the rotation. Ole Miss will be forced to rely heavily on incoming freshmen I’Tavius Mathers, Jaylen Walton, Mike Hilton and, possibly, Kenno Loyal. 

Wide receivers/Tight ends:

As a whole, this group probably had the most productive spring. Sophomore Donte Moncrief continues to look like a potential All-Southeastern Conference player and is the clear number-one receiver. Junior Ja-Mes Logan was named the offensive most valuable player of the spring by the coaching staff and looks to be a solid number-two option. Sophomores Vincent Sanders and Collins Moore, as well as juniors Korvic Neat and Philander Moore, all had productive springs, as well. They are mostly unproven, but Ole Miss has something to work with at the position. At tight end, senior Jamal Mosley struggled at time during the spring but clearly has the talent to be a force in Hugh Freeze’s up-tempo offense. Senior Ferbia Allen provides the Rebels with a quality second option at the position.

Offensive line:

The unit struggled early in the spring as Ole Miss installed its new, quicker tempo on offense. As the spring progressed, so did the offensive line, but there’s still tons of room for improvement. Junior Emmanuel McCray, finally healthy after dealing with chronic knee injuries, emerged as the starter at left tackle. Sophomore Aaron Morris worked at left guard for the majority of the spring and is the Rebels’ best lineman in terms of talent. Junior Evan Swindall is the number one at center, while former center senior A.J. Hawkins is now at right guard. Junior college transfer Pierce Burton is entrenched at right tackle. The unit lacks depth, and a summer in the weight room may not be more important for any position group than the offensive line.