Walnut’s Linton eager for step up to college football

From the Mother Ship, I visited with Ole Miss signee Armani Linton early last week before the snow set in.

He’s a neat story, a small school guy who had to work a little harder to get noticed than some prospects. He did that with help of his coach, and when he began to get noticed things began to take off.

Linton is listed as 6-3, 200, a frame that will grow.

A redshirt season is not something that’s really on his radar right now. He says he’ll embrace the idea if it’s something that Hugh Freeze says is best for the team. It may end up that way, but right now Freeze is telling Linton that if he comes in, acclimates quickly and gets in shape that he’ll have a chance to play.

Armani Linton

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze (Daily Journal photo)

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze (Daily Journal photo)

Also from the Mother Ship, five questions for Ole Miss as the Rebels begin spring practice. Some of the same story lines I hit on for the blog yesterday.

Five questions for Ole Miss as spring football begins today:

What will Chad Kelly do? Will the troubled junior college transfer walk a straight line off the field and throw straight passes and win the job on it, ultimately becoming the starting quarterback? The guess: Jeremiah Masoli understood he was at the end of his rope in terms of college football opportunities. So will Kelly, and he’ll be the Rebels’ starter when they open the season Sept. 5 against Tennessee (the Martin campus).

Who will replace Cody Prewitt and Senquez Golson? The departing All-Americans take with them a combined 13 interceptions, 10 pass break-ups and 129 tackles from a very solid defense last year. High expectations remain for the Ole Miss defense, but the spring will be a big time for untested players. The guess: Tee Shepard and Tony Bridges and rising sophomore C.J. Hampton over the next month will gain the confidence of defensive coordinator Dave Wommack. That’s first first step in carving out roles and replacing two very talented players.

Is Jaylen Walton the clear leader at running back? Without a doubt. Walton began to distance himself from the pack at the end of last season. Hugh Freeze made Walton a big part of the game plan against Mississippi State, and Walton responded. The question is who emerges at No. 2. The guess: Spring should be an interesting battle between Jordan Wilkins and Akeem Judd, both somewhat bigger backs than Freeze has had during his Ole Miss tenure. Keep an eye out for incoming freshman Eric Swinney in August.

Will the Rebels be better on the offensive line? Five starters return, but it won’t be a shock if there is a change in the lineup especially given the fact that senior Aaron Morris is recovering from a second ACL surgery. Ole Miss was 10th in the SEC in rushing yards, 12th in sacks allowed. The guess: There are more numbers and growing talent on the line. Look for rising sophomore Rod Taylor and true freshman Javon Patterson – currently in school and ready for spring – to separate themselves from a pack of young players trying to get on the field.

What will Laquon Treadwell do in the spring? Not much. Freeze has said his game-changing receiver would be involved in spring work in some capacity. Treadwell and linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche sustained broken ankles a week a part last year, Nkemdiche at LSU followed by Treadwell at home against Auburn, the latter just inches from scoring what likely would have been the winning touchdown. In mid-February Treadwell posted a video on social media that showed he and Nkemdiche sprinting on the indoor practice field. The guess: Treadwell won’t get near physical contact nor should he. However, it will boost confidence for himself and his teammates if he goes through some non-contact drills. Exactly what he means to the Ole Miss offense was painfully clear when he missed the last four games.

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.

Posted in Football Tagged with: , , , ,

Parrish’s Twitter Feed

Meet the Writers

JD and Parrish

Want Email Updates? Warning... We Update Often

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 778 other subscribers