Going position by position with the Rebels after signing day …
Tony Conner had five stars by his name from Scout and 247, but he wasn’t as talked about as others in the Class of 2013 like Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell.
Conner arguably had the biggest impact of all, however. He earned freshman All-America honors and filled up a season-ending stat line with 66 tackles, third on the team, five for losses, a sack, an interception, six pass break-ups and four hurries.
His college-ready level of play made it possible for Dave Wommack and staff to move Mike Hilton to corner.
It’s a very different Ole Miss defense last year if Conner plays at level somewhat less than what he showed.
Dehendret Collins was the backup at Huskie, and he’s gone.
High school signee D.K. Buford will begin his career as a Huskie and has a chance to crack the 2-deep. Rising senior Cliff Coleman also was listed as a Huskie on the final 2-deep of 2013.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see signee C.J. Moore end up at Huskie, though he’ll start at safety. C.J. Hampton is also a name to watch.
Buford didn’t play much defense at Lafayette, though he’d occasionally be used in special situations.
His speed and physicality really stood out to Hugh Freeze when watch him on special teams, however.
Depending on how cornerback shakes out it’s possible Mike Hilton could get back in the mix at Huskie.
Coleman, who played cornerback previously in his career, had eight tackles and a tackle for loss last year.
The freshmen will compete for playing time. How they adapt or whether Coleman takes a step up in his final season will provide a better look at depth behind Conner.