By Parrish Alford / NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The comeback trail for Tig Barksdale reached an abrupt end Saturday.
On the day Ole Miss veteran players were to sign in with coaches, the former South Panola star was dismissed from the team.
A gifted athlete and a high school All-American, Barksdale excited many Ole Miss fans with his potential, but he never played a down for the Rebels.
He signed in 2009 but did not play because of an undisclosed medical condition. Earlier this year he was suspended for spring drills for unspecified reasons.
An e-mail release from the school Saturday evening said Barksdale is “no longer a member of the Rebel football squad so he can address personal issues.”
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was not quoted in the release.
On Friday when newcomers reported, Nutt said Barksdale was a team member in good standing, though he would be subject to the same one-strike policy Nutt has implemented for former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Masoli, dismissed from the Ducks in June after two run-ins with law enforcement in a six-month span, joined the Ole Miss program last week.
“We have a little contract with Tig as well, and we’re going to hold him to that,” Nutt said.
He then went on to praise Barksdale’s attitude and recent academic success. He talked in hopeful terms of how Barksdale might contribute, though he questioned what type of physical condition he might be in having been away from organized football for such a long period of time.
Barksdale had been projected as either a running back or a defensive back.
“I always thought he was a tailback. That’s all I read about. But boy he wants to play safety,” Nutt said. “I’m not so much concerned about his position as much as him just keep taking those steps one at a time, and so far he’s been doing that. I’ve been proud of that.”