Change in all things is sweet.
The story of this past offseason had to be the transfer portal. Every day, there were tons of players entering the portal, looking for a new home. For some, it worked out. For others, it didn’t. This first full offseason of a transfer portal led to colossal change regarding roster management, and many teams failed in taking advantage.
Ole Miss did not. As many of you know, the Rebels signed 17 transfers finding key players at nearly every position, including the flashy ones: quarterback, running, back, and wide receiver.
Yes. Ole Miss looked to retool its drained roster in the portal. It primarily sought out players who had succeeded as starters at lesser schools instead of the alternative: players who hadn’t played much at great schools. So far this season, the approach seems to have worked.
Let’s talk about who’s standing out through the season’s first two games.
QB Jaxson Dart (USC Transfer)
Dart is, almost certainly, the starting quarterback. The Utah product has started the season going 28 of 42 with 336 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception. Obviously, with Matt Corral’s departure, the Rebels needed competition at the position, and Dart gave them that and more.
RB Zach Evans (TCU Transfer)
Evans immediately seized the starting running back role vacated by both Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner. While many people are likely surprised he’s splitting time at the position with a three-star freshman Quinshon Judkins, Evans may be the key cog that makes this offense work moving forward. I think he has potential to be an all-conference player.
WR Malik Heath (MSU Transfer)
Heath has carved out a role in the offense as a red zone receiver complementing Michael Trigg. Through two games he has five catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns. While he hasn’t been dominant, he’s playing a significant role for the revamped passing game.
TE Michael Trigg (USC Transfer)
Michael Trigg is outstanding. I’m excited to see the coaches utilize him outside of the red zone going forward. We’ve already seen how dominant he can be inside the ten, as his three receiving touchdowns lead the team.
LB Khari Coleman (TCU Transfer)
I wasn’t sure how Coleman would adapt to the move to linebacker after playing defensive end in Fort Worth. While he had already won co-Big XII defensive freshman of the year, it was tough to know how the move would work out.
Well early returns are pretty promising. Coleman has ten tackles and a team-leading 6.5 tackles for loss (which would have been fourth on the team for all of last season). There’s obviously a lot of season left, but it looks like the Rebels found one of the linebackers they desperately needed.
LB Troy Brown (Central Michigan Transfer)
Brown, a former three time First-Team All-MAC selection has, to no one’s surprise, earned a starting role on the defense. He’s second on the team in tackles with sixteen and is constantly around the ball.
S Isheem Young (Iowa State Transfer)
Young is also a starter and has accumulated nine tackles and a pick this year. He’s my pick to step up in conference play as the defense is pressured more.
S Ladarius Tennison (Auburn Transfer)
After a quiet offseason, Tennison is playing a lot and making a difference. Against Central Arkansas, he returned a fumble for a touchdown on the punt coverage unit, but he’s also earning legitimate time at safety. A welcomed addition.
Who isn’t playing much?
RB Ulysses Bentley (SMU Transfer)
Bentley (6 carries for 48 yards and 2 TDs) is probably pretty angry about the situation he finds himself in as a third string running back. Bentley was first-team All-AAC as a freshman two years ago at SMU. It’s not his fault that Quinshon Judkins signed with Ole Miss, but I’d love to see him carve out a role. He has a skillset that is unique within the room.
OL Mason Brooks (Western Kentucky Transfer)
Brooks was brought in to be a starting tackle. He’s not even one of the top six in the rotation. I don’t know what to say.
WR Jalen Knox (Mizzou Transfer)
Knox, who sat out all last season after transferring, has recorded one tackle this year on special teams. I haven’t noticed him running routes. That’s not what you want to see from a player on his second year taking up a scholarship.
Who is the Transfer of the Year so far?
This poll is closed
Other (Answer in Comments)