The offseason saga of Channing Ward is finally over.
Ward, the 6'4", 250-pound freshman defensive end for the Ole Miss Rebels, got some good news on Friday when the NCAA Clearinghouse declared him eligible for the 2012 season, according to Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger.
Ward didn't enroll at Ole Miss this summer. Instead, he opted to retake high school classes and focus on the ACT. He has not been with the team during fall camp.
His clearance by the NCAA is huge for the Rebels.
Despite his absence from fall camp, he will contend for playing time as a true freshman. Playing defensive end in college—especially as part of a rotation—is a relatively easy transition compared to other positions on the field.
The pundits are picking the Rebels to finish last in the SEC West, but a good pass rush can go a long way towards helping a team win football games.
With Ward's ability off of the edge, coupled with linebacker-turned-defensive end C.J. Johnson, the Ole Miss pass rush suddenly looks healthy now and in the future.