A few observations on the first official depth chart.
OL – Jared Duke had a good camp, and it will be interesting to see if that translates to playing time. Aaron Morris was a third-team preseason All-SEC pick by the coaches, but he had some attitude adjustment time in camp while Duke ran with the first team.
At the other guard spot, Justin Bell is listed ahead of Patrick Junen, a product of in some way of Bell’s playing time in camp while Junen was out with injury and riding the stationary bike. Bell is not completely healthy either, and I suspect it will take both of them to get through a game.
Freshman Kailo Moore is not listed among the running backs, but I think you’ll see him. There was a lot of effort to get Moore the ball in space during camp through quick tosses and short passes.
Former walk-on Jordan Holder is listed second at slot receiver. Based on the reps he got in camp that’s legit, but I would be surprised if Evan Engram, Jaylen Walton or Moore don’t show up there in some capacity. With the injury to Korvic Neat slot receiver has gotten thin in name, but there are options Hugh Freeze can put in that position.
How much Freeze chooses to play a running back in the slot could have a trickle down effect on what running backs play. There is lots of talent but little experience behind Jeff Scott, and it’s possible that freshmen Mark Dodson and Jordan Wilkins could get caught up in the numbers. It’s those numbers, however, that will allow Scott to be the primary punt returner, which the Rebels sorely need.
Defensively, it didn’t take Robert Nkemdiche long to run with the ones, and he deserves it. It does create a unique story line, though, to have a true freshman pass a senior on the depth chart. Cameron Whigham will help, particularly in the run game. End is a fairly deep position right now when add DT Shackelford and Channing Ward into the mix. Carlos Thompson has gotten a lot of reps too.
Interesting to see Woodrow Hamilton ahead of Issac Gross at nose. Again, an injury played in there, but there are high expectations for Hamilton. Keep an eye on him.
Quintavius Burdette and Dehendret Collins are both listed first at their respective corner positions, but their names are followed by an “or,” which means there’s not a full-blown endorsement on their behalf. Still, these guys are going to have to play. Senquez Golson and Charles Sawyer, the returning starters, have missed too much camp time for their conditioning not to be affected.
It’s unfortunate that Ole Miss begins the season against one of the top receivers in the league — Jordan Matthews — and perhaps two depending on the status of Matthews’ running mate Chris Boyd. Boyd is currently suspended for his alleged role in the Vanderbilt rape case.