Channing Ward has been cleared by the NCAA, Ole Miss has announced.
An All-American defensive end from Aberdeen, Ward is considered the prized recruit in the signing class. He's also the last to get in, and that's not good news for the learning and acclimation that takes place for any newcomer.
In the off-season Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze mentioned Ward as a guy he felt could contribute early, particularly as the Rebels seek a playmaker off the edge.
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack has experiemented with different position changes in the search for that playmaker. Linebacker Ralph Williams has moved down to end, and tight end E.J. Epperson has moved over to defense from offense. Earlier this week Epperson was working with the first team.
How quickly Ward contributes will have a lot to do with his physical condition and how quickly he picks up the defense.
The most important thing for the Rebels, though, was getting him certified, and that happened earlier today.