clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The State Of The Ole Miss Football Roster: December 2022.

We’ve got portal departures, we’ve got educated guesses and wild speculation about who’s returning and who’s moving on, we’ve got... too much time on our hands.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Alabama at Mississippi Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the third offseason under the NCAA’s new transfer portal rules, over 1,000 players have entered their names into the portal so far, likely with hundreds more to come. Ole Miss, arguably the biggest beneficiary of 2021’s portal season, is now among the programs with the most players entering the portal. While currently no starters have entered (and really, only a couple of contributors), the Rebels definitely have some depth to replace, and some opportunities to upgrade and find new starters at positions of need. Combine the mad shuffling of portal season with an incoming high school class, juniors weighing entry into the NFL draft, and many seniors with an optional extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and the roster is currently a nebulous mess.

Luckily for you, the reader, I compulsively keep track of Ole Miss roster developments. With this post, my goal is to provide a (mostly) complete view of how the 2023 Ole Miss squad is shaping up, personnel-wise.

First, let’s start with who’s leaving. So far, the Ole Miss players who have entered the portal are:

  • QB Luke Altmeyer
  • RB Kentrell Bullock
  • RB Isaiah Woullard
  • WR Dannis Jackson
  • WR Bralon Brown
  • OL Hamilton Hall
  • OL Jalen Cunningham
  • OL Erick Cade
  • OL Tobias Braun
  • OL/DL Luke Shouse
  • EDGE Brandon Mack
  • EDGE Demon Clowney
  • LB/S Jaron Willis
  • CB Miles Battle
  • CB Kyndrich Breedlove
  • S MJ Daniels
  • S Derek Bermudez
  • S Roman Rashada

In all, 18 players; 9 on offense, 9 on defense. Of those 18, only one (Miles Battle) logged any starts the last couple of years, and just two more (Willis, Daniels) appeared to be in line to contribute much in 2023. So while you could consider most of these portal entries “healthy” attrition, it’s still quite a feat to replace 18 scholarship players on top of the guys graduating and/or leaving for the NFL. That list of players is not totally settled, either. With a couple of players still weighing their NFL draft odds, and others deciding whether or not to use their extra COVID years, here is my current best guess of who will leave:

  • QB Kinkead Dent (redshirt Junior, but participated in Senior Day)
  • RB Zach Evans (possible draft entry)
  • WR Jonathan Mingo (extra COVID year, but agreed to play in Reese’s Senior Bowl)
  • WR Malik Heath
  • WR Qua Davis (extra COVID year; participated in Senior Day)
  • OL Nick Broeker (extra COVID year, but expected to enter NFL draft)
  • OL Mason Brooks
  • DL KD Hill (extra COVID year; participated in Senior Day)
  • DL Tavious Robinson
  • LB Troy Brown
  • S AJ Finley (extra COVID year; participated in Senior Day)
  • S Otis Reese
  • K Jonathan Cruz

So, 13 more scholarships available to fill. There are only a couple of question marks on this list, as noted in parentheses. Mingo, Hill, and Finley are almost certainly gone. Evans is the most consequential question mark in this group, but the general consensus has been that Evans was likely to be one-and-done. There have been rumors of a big NIL deal in the works for Evans, but until we hear something more solid, we’ll assume he’s on the way out.

There are a few more guys that COULD leave for the NFL draft or graduate, but that I currently expect to return. I’m definitely going to be wrong on some of these… sorry. Some of these guys participated in Ole Miss Senior Day, which can suggest a player’s intent to leave, but not definitively. This list includes:

  • WR Jaylon Robinson (extra COVID year; participated in Senior Day)
  • WR Jalen Knox (extra COVID year)
  • TE Jonathan Hess (extra COVID year; participated in Senior Day)
  • TE Casey Kelly (potential injury)
  • OL Jeremy James (possible draft entry)
  • DL JJ Pegues (possible draft entry)
  • DL Cedric Johnson (possible draft entry)
  • DL Jamond Gordon (junior, but participated in Senior Day)
  • LB Ashanti Cistrunk (extra COVID year)
  • S Dashaun Jerkins (extra COVID year; participated in Senior Day)

So, taking the current roster, then eliminating portal entries and seniors/other early departures, here are the scholarship players Ole Miss likely returns, sorted by position:

QB: (1)

  • Jaxson Dart

RB: (2)

  • Quinshon Judkins
  • Ulysses Bentley IV

WR: (8)

  • Jordan Watkins
  • Dayton Wade (Wade was a walk-on, but I expect him to receive a scholarship)
  • Jaylon Robinson
  • Jalen Knox
  • JJ Henry
  • Brandon Buckhaulter
  • Larry Simmons
  • Jeremiah Dillon

TE: (4)

  • Michael Trigg
  • Casey Kelly
  • Kyrin Heath
  • Jonathan Hess

OL: (11)

  • Jayden Williams
  • Eli Acker
  • Caleb Warren
  • Jeremy James
  • Micah Pettus
  • Cedrick Nicely
  • Cedric Melton
  • Cam East
  • Reece McIntyre
  • Falentha Carswell
  • Preston Cushman

DL: (12)

  • JJ Pegues
  • Cedrick Johnson
  • Jared Ivey
  • Zxavian Harris
  • Tywone Malone
  • Isaiah Iton
  • Jamond Gordon
  • Desanto Rollins
  • JJ Hawkins
  • Jak Brown
  • Demarcus Smith
  • Jaden Dicks

LB: (6)

  • Khari Coleman
  • Austin Keys
  • Ashanti Cistrunk
  • Trip White
  • Tyler Banks
  • Reginald Hughes

CB: (5)

  • Deantre Prince
  • Davison Igbinosun
  • Markevious Brown
  • Demarko Williams
  • Jarrell Stinson

S: (8)

  • Isheem Young
  • Tysheem Johnson
  • Ladarius Tennison
  • Deshaun Jerkins
  • Trey Washington
  • Taylor Groves
  • Nick Cull
  • Elijah Sabbatini

K: (1)

  • Caden Costa

P: (1)

  • Fraser Masin

That’s 59 returning scholarship players, though that number will definitely go back and forth as more players enter the portal, maybe a couple currently in the portal have second thoughts, and as juniors and seniors decide whether to stay or go. The Rebels currently have just 12 commitments for the 2023 class; I estimate they’ll add about 4 more for a total of 16. That leaves Ole Miss with only 10 scholarships left for portal players before it reaches the 85 scholarship limit. If this offseason is anything like the last, I expect Kiffin might be eyeing a larger portal class than that. The numbers will of course sort themselves out over the rest of the offseason and even after spring ball, when a new window opens for transfer portal recruiting.