By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Ole Miss could soon lose a member of its 2013 consensus top 10 football signing class.
Offensive lineman Austin Golson, who left spring drills No. 1 at right tackle, is exploring options to transfer, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze confirmed.
Golson would like to get closer to his Prattville, Ala., home because of health concerns for two grandparents.
RebelGrove.com mentioned SEC West rival Auburn as a possible destination for Golson.
Freeze told the Daily Journal Monday morning that he “probably” would not stand in the way of a transfer to Auburn based on the circumstances.
“Both granddads are sick, and we don’t want someone here who doesn’t want to be here,” Freeze said.
Golson’s transfer does not appear to be a done deal.
“He’s looking into options. Nothing has been decided,” Freeze said.
Golson told the Ole Miss Spirit he would like to reach a decision “when the semester ends, but I’m not in any rush. I don’t have any for-sure date.”
He also said it’s “not 100 percent” that he will transfer.
Golson’s possible departure would be a big blow to a Rebels’ offensive line seeking to build depth.
ESPN.com rated him the No. 52 player overall and the No. 3 offensive tackle in the Class of 2013. He played extensively as a freshman but mostly at guard.
He was set to enter August practice as the starting right tackle as the Rebels seek a replacement for Pierce Burton, a two-year starter. Now there’s a bit of uncertainty.
Junior college transfer Fahn Cooper is completing course work this semester and is expected to be on campus in June.
He was expected to compete for the job and will become a stronger option if Golson transfers.
Christian Morris is also a possibility. Ole Miss is awaiting a ruling from the NCAA on a waiver request that would allow the former UCLA signee immediate eligibility without sitting out the one year required of most transfers.
Robert Conyers, who was moved from right tackle to center in the spring, and redshirt freshman Davion Johnson are also possibilities.
The waiver isn’t the only hurdle for Morris, who sustained an Achilles injury in a winter workout. It required surgery, and he’s not expected to be ready before late August.
Morris signed with UCLA but never enrolled. He transferred and enrolled at Ole Miss in January. Rivals.com rated him the nation’s No. 10 offensive tackle and the No. 128 overall recruit in the Class of 2013.
Last week, Freeze said he hoped to redshirt Morris.
“My gut says a redshirt would be great for him,” Freeze said. “If we get Fahn in and Rod (Tayor) in and Aaron Morris is back healthy, I would tend to try to redshirt him. I would hope we could get through the year without him.”