There’s a hole to be filled in the absence of Shay Hodge, a physical route-runner who was the Rebels’ go-to receiver last year. Hodge was the SEC’s only 1,000-yard receiver (1,135) and led the league in receptions per game (5.4) and yards per game (87.3).
In fact, Jevan Snead looked for Hodge so often that, while the Rebels return a group of receivers with game experience, senior Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux combined for only 30 catches last year, not even half of Hodge’s number.
Breaux has had some big catches in his career and has shown good hands. Summers can get deep. Hodge had a knack for getting open – something both of them need to do this year.
The receivers could be a surprise group. Collectively, there’s a nice blend of athleticism and ability, experience and youth.
The wild card is sophomore Pat Patterson, rated the nation’s No. 4 receiver coming out of Noxubee County two years ago. He caught 12 balls last year in a freshman campaign marred by a mid-year suspension. He was less productive near season’s end and was suspended for spring drills. All accounts are Patterson is focused, and that will be a plus if true.
Sophomore Jesse Grandy, a lightweight at 155 pounds, will be more involved this year, mostly in the perimeter passing game.
Redshirt freshman Ja-Mes Logan is fast and physical and, though inconsistent, had the best spring among the new Rebels’ names.
Noxubee County freshman Vincent Sanders is a newcomer who could make an early impact.
Each week, we’ll look at a different position for Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Last week: Defensive backs. Next week: Defensive line.
Need more college football? Check out College Football Extra in today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal