When you're rifling through the depth charts and the statistics from 2014, the one thing you notice is that the Ole Miss Rebels do not lose much. Noxubee County's Finest, Vince Sanders, is now gone (pour one out), but his wide receiver brethren are back and ready to get going with a new quarterback under center. Dr. Bo is no longer running things in the huddle, but incoming transfer Chad Kelly will be battling with returning candidates DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan.
The receivers on this year's team scream one thing and one thing only: SIZE! Aside from senior Quintavius Burdette, who stands 5'11, every other receiver on the roster who is slated to contribute this season is 6'1" or taller. Along with the length, all the receivers are 181-pounds or heavier. Not only is this a direct reflection of what strength coach Paul Jackson can do in the weight room with these players, but it's also going to be something that is key when you're getting into game eight or nine and taking a beating from other SEC opponents.
Let's take a look at the headliners, the newcomers, and the freshmen who are going to try and lead the Rebels to the promised land via the air.
Laquon Treadwell is the name that everyone knows. And for good reason. The junior is a damn monster who somehow looks stronger than ever after
Auburn broke his leg to try and derail his career suffering a terrible injury against Auburn. You know what you're going to get from Treadwell: he's going to be a threat in the screen game, run blocking and leadership. Here's to hoping Megaquon gets 10+ touches a game.
After Laquon, you have two very different returning starters who bring their own brand of game to the table. Junior Quincy Adeboyejo brings the ability to stretch the field and get on top of safeties. His top-end speed might be the best on the roster and he has bulked up to 195-pounds. He was fifth on the team with 26 receptions, 313 yards and two touchdowns. I expect those numbers to go up. Next to Q-Joe, you have the fan favorite and most hated man in Boise, Id., senior Cody Core. The Auburn, Ala. native exploded on the scene last season with 41 catches for 558 yards and six touchdowns. You know that you're going to get one thing from Mr. Core: consistency.
The Wild Card
Hopefully no brake lines were cut and no one has jumped out of a moving, unmarked van, but the wild card in the wide receiver room is none other than the well-built, dread-having Damore'ea Stringfellow. At 6'2, 220-pounds, String will be a candidate to be on the field opposite Megaquon on the outside due to the fact that he's big as hell. Other than the obvious, he showed flashes of his dominance while at Washington when he had eight catches for 147 yards and a TD against UCLA.
During the Grove Bowl, String collected three catches for 98 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown catch-and-run. Since then he's been working on not getting arrested on the Square with teammates for typical college buffoonery. The only knock on String's game thus far has been his lack of consistency with his hands and route running. In his defense, he has been learning a brand new offense and has been thrust into a wide receiver situation that's loaded. But if everything clicks for Damore'ea, defenses are sure to pee their pants.
The New Guys
All the names mentioned above would be more than enough for anyone to be able to throw footballs and catch footballs effectively. But, that's not the Grant Heard way. Coach Heard just went out and snagged two blue-chippers who like to catch footballs and then run to the colored grass. Four-stars DaMarkus Lodge and Van Jefferson are both very different, but at the same time they're both similar in the fact that they are really, really talented. No, seriously, check this out.
Oh, you want more? Ok, here ya go, bro.
These kids can really play. Lodge is basically next in line to take over as Laquon Treadwell's replacement. He's big. He's fast. He's physical in the air. And he's got that quiet swagger that you love to have in your wideouts. As a senior, he had 63 catches for 1,218 yards and 25 touchdowns in Texas 6A football. That's damn good. On the flip side, when you see Jefferson's game, you can't help but be reminded of Cody Core. He's going to be your steady, reliable target who will run great routes, make the tough catch over the middle and be able to separate with ease from opposing secondaries with his sneaky speed. In Van's senior season at Ravenwood High School in Tennessee, he hauled in 67 catches for 1,223 yards and 13 touchdowns. Both are proven croots who put up the numbers on the field and were highly-touted by all crootin services. Hugh Freeze might see the need to possibly redshirt these young men, but I just think it'll be too tough to do so because of how damn good they are.
The final assessment: Ole Miss is making a really strong case to take the belt for WRU with what they have coming back and who they have as incoming freshmen. And the talent is widespread: there are your deep threats, your possession receivers and your sure-handed consistent guys who can do it all. One thing is for sure,
Chad Kelly whoever wins the QB battle will have a lot of fun this season airing it out and tossing six-point football plays.
And think about how much fun this is going to be once Shea Patterson arrives.