OLE MISS NOTEBOOK: Offense will miss TE Engram

Thomas Wells| Buy at photos.djournal.com Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram had 20 catches for 265 yards and three TDs before a season-ending injury.

Thomas Wells| Buy at photos.djournal.com
Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram had 20 catches for 265 yards and three TDs before a season-ending injury.

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – The absence of freshman tight end Evan Engram will be felt by the Ole Miss offense, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said Monday.

The school announced Sunday that Engram would be lost for the remainder of the season after surgery to repair a high ankle sprain sustained against LSU.

“I think Evan Engram was on track to be a freshman All-American. We don’t have another one like him that can win some of the one-on-ones in space and do the blocking we were asking him to do,” Freeze said at his regular press conference. “That’s a difficult loss. He’s such a great kid and will be a tremendous leader for this program for years to come.”

Engram had two catches for 28 yards against LSU, one for a 22-yard gain.

Ole Miss lost three tight ends from its 2012 roster and signed three more. One didn’t qualify academically, another has had injury problems, and Engram had been the only newcomer to impact the position, quickly becoming a favorite target of quarterback Bo Wallace.

“It’s going to change our offense a little bit just because he was that guy that allowed us to go 11 personnel and do a lot of different things, flex them out. It hurts me not having him to stretch the field,” Wallace said.

Engram ends his freshman season with 20 catches for 265 yards and three touchdowns.

Injury update

Freeze upgraded starting cornerback Mike Hilton (hamstring) to questionable.

Defensive end Cameron Whigham (stinger) and linebacker Keith Lewis are also questionable, as is running back Jeff Scott (thigh bruise).

Defensive end Carlos Thompson will not play this week, and Freeze said he is waiting on linebacker Serderius Bryant (concussion) to be cleared to play.

New commit

Jackson Callaway defensive lineman Breeland Speaks said Monday that he’d given a verbal commitment to Freeze.

Speaks (6-foot-3, 275)is rated a four-star prospect, the No. 13 defensive tackle nationally and the No. 5 player in Mississippi by Rivals.com.

He is the Rebels’ 21st commitment in a class currently ranked No. 12 by Rivals.

Jones passes test

With Senquez Golson suspended for the LSU game, freshman Derrick Jones made his second start at corner. This one wasn’t only about Jones being a big corner to match up against an opponent’s big receiver, as was the case when Jones made his first start against Texas A&M.

“I think he played almost every snap,” Freeze said. “He did some good things. It was a tough baptism by fire with Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, two very difficult match-ups, but he stayed over the top and did not get beat deep.”

Freeze said Jones gave up some passes but only missed one tackle.

“To find out on Friday morning that you’re going to play a considerable number of snaps, a true freshman against the rival team with great receivers … he passed with flying colors.”

parrish.alford@Journalinc.com

  • Kevin

    Why are there so many injuries? In the last two games, it seemed like there was a injury after every play. Could this be a strength and conditioning issue? Coaches–you guys need to get your team ready to play.

  • REB

    Our strength and conditioning coach is one of the most respected in the business. Injuries will happen, as they have with a hugh number of programs. What about that Big recruiting pickup in Breelon Speaks. If Ole Miss keeps recruiting going on track we will another top ten class. A more level playing field is getting closer with each recruiting class. To all true Ole Fans. Way to go;

    • Kevin

      Sure injuries happen, but you have to admit that we’ve experienced untold number of injuries in the past few weeks. Last week, it seemed like on every play during the second half one of our defensive players was slow to get up. When Nkemdiche went down vs. A&M, that happened right in front of me. I saw him seize up while chasing Johnny Football down and I said to my friend, “he’s out for the season because of a pulled hamstring…” Hammie injuries are almost always a breakdown in strength and conditioning. The coaches didn’t have Nkemdiche properly conditioned to go the whole season as a starter.

      • handy010

        This is the same strength coach from last year when we had almost no injuries. Injuries happen, regardless. Again with the negativity. I have not seen one positive post from you. It is like no matter what they do you will find something to criticize. You do not accomplish anything through negative reinforcement