Looking ahead

Never too early to look ahead to the next college football season, is it?

A couple of interesting links from Athlon Sports here. The Rebels didn’t make the cut for Athlon’s pre-2013 Top 25 but are listed “Next In Line” category.

This brings up an interesting question. What is the next logical step for Ole Miss football?

The Rebels return most of their playmakers on both sides of the ball. It would seem that the words “youth and inexperience” won’t apply to as many conversations as they did this year.

While Hugh Freeze is putting together what looks to be a very good recruiting class, how many of the incoming signees will be needed to contribute right away?

Three intriguing names to watch in 2013: Bo Wallace, Channing Ward, D.T. Shackelford.

Coaches often say that players make their most improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. Bo Wallace was pretty good this year. Can he improve his completion percentage? It’s at 63 percent right now, but there are a lot of high-percentage passes in the offense. More importantly, can he cut down on the 15 interceptions he threw in the 2012 regular season.

Can Channing Ward with a year under his belt followed by an off-season, a spring and a summer, become a dominant defensive end?

And what can the Rebels get out of D.T. Shackelford? After two years away can he return to the same level of productivity? Some do, some don’t. Kentrell Lockett wasn’t as good after the injury as he was before.

Here’s another link of note from Athlon, which rates Denzel Nkemdiche as the No. 19 freshman in the nation in 2012.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • How much of a difference do you think that the new coach hire will have at Arkansas next year? I think that it sucks for Arkansas State in the past few years as when they get a good coach that they are taken by another team.

  • Parrish Alford

    It will be interesting to see what Bielema does. He was successful at Wisconsin, but now he takes a job in a different part of the country with players recruited to run a system different than the one he runs. Good coaches find a way to win regardless of the details. We’ll see.

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