NASHVILLE – The dust is beginning to settle on who will and won’t be available for Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl.
The return of tight end Evan Engram is significant, and the Rebels welcomed two other starters Friday in safety Cody Prewitt – the AP All-American – and defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton.
Both had missed workouts before the Christmas break.
The news is not as good for freshman offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze did not rule out Tunsil but said, “I’m not optimistic about Laremy.” Tunsil is in Nashville and attended Friday’s workout in sweats and a jersey.
The Rebels will also be without senior wide receive Ja-Mes Logan, an academic casualty.
Logan is the team’s third-leading receiver with 44 catches for 583 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Bo Wallace expressed a certain comfort level with Logan but won’t have that available to him on Monday.
With Tunsil out the Rebels will be experienced at left tackle with senior Emmanuel McCray but won’t be very deep at tackle.
Senior Patrick Junen will likely back up at both guard and tackle. True freshman offensive lineman Davion Johnson, who has not played this season, is on the trip.
The only player expected to be in Nashville who did not report is junior tight end Nick Parker.
Freeze said Parker’s wife had a miscarriage Thursday morning.
“Our prayers are with him and his wife. He had not reported yet. She just had it the morning that we were leaving. It’s one of those gut-wrenching things that happen in life,” Freeze said.
Parker, a former running back, saw his playing time increase after the injury to Engram.
Parker had appeared in only seven games in his first two seasons by played in 11 games this season.
A former South Panola star, Parker is expected to join the team.
Both teams are staying at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
Players were treated to a welcome party – which included a rib eating contest – aboard the docked General Jackson showboat Friday evening.
The Rebels will practice this afternoon and will attend a hockey game between the NHL’s Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings.