By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Chris Boyd is suspended from the Vanderbilt football team, but he hasn’t been suspended from the preparation plan at Ole Miss.
Boyd was the second half of a wide receiver tandem last year that many ranked among the best in the nation.
Jordan Matthews is still there. He had 90 catches for 1,323 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012.
Boyd, though, was suspended earlier this month when he was charged with being an accessory after the fact in a rape case that has kept Vanderbilt football in the national news in ways the Commodores would rather avoid.
Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack was very clear when asked if he expects to see Boyd, a 6-foot-4 fourth-year junior, in the game. “I do,” he said.
Boyd had 50 catches but averaged more yards per catch than Matthews, at 15.5. He scored five touchdowns, including the game-winner at Ole Miss last year, a 26-yard pass from Jordan Rodgers with 52 seconds left.
Whether he plays or not, Ole Miss will have some cornerback uncertainty on opening night.
The Rebels have returning starters at both positions, but Charles Sawyer and Senquez Golson have missed a great deal of practice this month.
Sawyer has been full speed for about a week, while Golson is just now getting back.
Projected reserves Dehendret Collins and Quintavius Burdette, both having moved to cornerback this month, took most of the first-team reps in camp.
Burdette, a sophomore who played little a year ago, will start.
“He’s earned it,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
Sawyer says his conditioning is fine and that he can play as long as coaches need him on the field. He also believes Burdette can run with the Vanderbilt receivers.
“Yes he can. He and Dehendret, they had a great camp. They’ve given us depth, and we’ll rotate a lot of corners. I believe strongly they can win some battles,” Sawyer said.