By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
Spring football begins today at Ole Miss, as the Rebels try to push forward with momentum from the end of the 2012 season, the first under Hugh Freeze as head coach.
The Rebels will work out at 3 p.m., today. A complete practice schedule can be found online at OleMissSports.com.
Among the story lines will be linebacker D.T. Shackelford and cornerback Nick Brassell – both back on the field this spring after being away for very different reasons.
Shackelford has not faced contact since tearing up a knee in the spring of 2011. He’s had two surgeries since then.
Brassell, a two-way player, was one of the most dynamic athletes in the 2011 signing class. Grades forced him to play the 2012 season at East Mississippi Community College.
Brassell – called an NFL corner by Freeze – inherits the academic standing he left behind and appears to be working hard to gain eligibility.
“Our academic support system is working hard with him, and he’s putting in more effort than ever before. He’s certainly trying to do it a little different than what he’s used to,” Freeze said. “He still has a long way to go on that journey to gain eligibility.”
Shackelford was a productive player and emotional leader in 2009 and 2010.
The Rebels will also try to find a tight end after losing three seniors off the 2012 roster.
As always, spring will be about the continued development of young players.
There will be a lot of eyes on sophomore defensive end Channing Ward. An All-American at Aberdeen, coaches have praised Ward’s physical ability, but his late arrival in camp last year caused him to miss much of the individual attention many
“There aren’t a lot of kids who will have a breakout (spring), because we played a lot of those young ones,” Freeze said.
Some of those young ones – and old ones too – could be candidates to change positions.
Sophomore wide receiver Cody Core and junior receiver Collins Moore could be moved to safety.
Moore missed most of last season with injuries to both shoulders.
Freeze said Moore’s contact will be limited in the spring. A stronger look for him at safety could come in August. Moore was the starting slot receiver when he injured his shoulder on the second day of practice last August.
Junior DE Carlos Thompson could be in the mix at tight end.
Quadarias Mireles, a mid-year junior college enrollee, will move from wide receiver to cornerback.