Despite the off-season, spring, AND fall camps being affected by COVID-19, college football is back, and the Ole Miss Rebels kick things off September 26th against the Florida Gators. Until then, we are going to dive into the position groups and what we expect from them during this 10-game abbreviated schedule.
With a new coach and a new offense, Ole Miss wide receivers will be looking to showcase their talent in 2020 and have a breakout season to improve their draft stock. There are big names returning, and a few are looking to make a big impact in head coach Lane Kiffin’s new offense.
It is no secret in Rich Rodriguez’ offense, wide receivers spent more time blocking than running routes. That will be very different this year - under the new Jeff Lebby/Kiffin offense, you will see a much more diverse offensive attack than just running the ball.
There will be big expectations for offensive coordinator Lebby, who last year at UCF ended the season ranked second nationally in offense. Not to mention only being one of two teams that had over 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing PER GAME! (Not bad for the 2017 National Champions...) The only other team with these numbers was #4 Oklahoma. Lebby has a talented group of both running backs and wide receivers, which makes me hopeful he will do it again.
Coaches have had to adapt throughout the preseason but that won’t end anytime soon. Coach Kiffin has made it clear he still has no idea what the depth chart will look like come September 26 and a season opener against Florida. With no guarantees with COVID-19 or injury, Kiffin will want to make sure there will be plenty of players that can play different positions or even different position groups. However, in a perfect world where no one gets hurt or tests positive in these next few weeks, here is what the depth chart will probably look like.
Elijah Moore will be THE guy this year. It won’t be a surprise that he will likely lead the team in receptions and receiving yards (It will be important for him to win fans’ respect again after last year’s antics at the Egg Bowl). Despite last year being mostly a running game, he still managed to rack up 850 receiving yards for 6 touchdowns. For what he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed. Moore is crazy fast and his lateral quickness will make him very dangerous. Kiffin is going to be giving him the ball a lot, increasing his draft stock, and likely making this his last year as a Rebel.
Jonathan Mingo’s 2019 season could have been much better if the offense was more diverse. Though Mingo only had 12 receptions for 172 yards, he is set to have an impressive campaign in his sophomore season. To be such a big receiver at 6’2” and 215 pounds, Mingo moves well in and out of breaks and has impressive linear speed. With his lengthy frame, Mingo has the capabilities to dominate SEC opponents.
In his first season at Ole Miss, the junior college transfer from East Mississippi Community College showed flashes of being a potentially dominant receiver. He played in all 12 games and earned nine starts last season. He was third on the team for receiving yards with 188 yards with only 13 catches. Drummond was a NJCAA All-American, and he knows how to lead a team to championships. If he can improve on his yards after the catch, he could prove to be a big play threat downfield in Kiffin’s new look offense.
More depth in WR room
Braylon Sanders, Demarcus Gregory, Miles Battle, and Dannis Jackson will have a chance this season to move up the depth chart or even come in to make big plays and provide a spark. Having this many guys with previous high level experience will be essential in order to make sure the wide outs stay fresh.
While nothing is ever certain these days, Coach Kiffin can kick back and relax knowing his receivers should not be an area of concern for him. They are fast, adaptable, and there are so many who are looking for their chance to break out individually. I am looking forward to the one handed catches, who drops a game winning pass, and who Kiffin chooses to be his next big thing.