By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Among the three Mississippi wide receivers signed by former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, Donte Moncrief may have been the least publicized, but he’s the last one standing.
Moncrief took part in pass-catching drills at Pro Day at Ole Miss on Monday. Roughly a week after turning heads at the NFL combine with his 40-yard dash times and other results, Moncrief did not compete in the other measurable drills on Monday and did not speak with media afterward.
Nick Brassell, the former South Panola All-American, was a part of the Mississippi wide receiver trio. He played one season at Ole Miss, a two-way player as a receiver and cornerback in 2011. Eventually academic problems forced him away from college football.
He’s cheering for Moncrief and hopeful that he’ll get a chance at the next level, too.
“Everything happens for a reason. Donte is a close friend, like a brother. I’m proud of him. I’m glad he got the shot. Hopefully we’ll meet up at the next level,” he said.
Brassell had an unofficial 40 time of 4.55.
He hasn’t played organized football since the 2012 season at East Mississippi Community College but says he’s constantly working out to stay in shape. He spent some time on Canadian Football League practice squad last year.
Brassell admitted to being “a little nervous” at Pro Day. “I haven’t been out there under the lights in a while.”
He also says he’s more emotionally prepared for a chance at pro football.
“I had to mature a lot and grow up. A lot of mistakes I was making as a young guy I had to learn from. I couldn’t go down that same road,” Brassell said.
Among the 2013 seniors participating, defensive back Charles Sawyer and offensive lineman Pierce Burton seemed to impress the scouts.
“One scout told me he didn’t know I was as athletic as I was,” said Burton, a junior college transfer in 2012 who went on to start 26 games at right tackle.
He was clocked unofficially at 5.11 in the 40. He had hoped to run 4.9 or 5-even. He measured at 6-51⁄2 and 303 pounds on Monday.
“That was the only real drill that I was disappointed with was my times,” he said. “I feel like I did really well.”
Burton did 26 reps with 225 pounds in the bench press. He did 229 a week ago, he said.
Moncrief is the surest bet for an Ole Miss player to be drafted.
CBSSports.com projects him a third- or fourth-round pick, but there has been speculation that his combine results will push him higher than that.
Brassell said he hopes his continued work and the exposure from Pro Day will lead to work at some level of football, if not the NFL.
“Football. That’s the dream. I’ll push till I can’t no more,” Brassell said.