Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief became one of the SEC's elite receivers last season, and he'll look to further establish himself as one of the all-time Rebel greats this fall. Moncrief and QB Bo Wallace have become an efficient duo, but the attention Moncrief is set to garner from opposing defenses will allow his fellow Rebel receivers a chance to make names for themselves.
In 2012, the 6'3'', 216-pound sophomore hauled in 66 passes for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns. Behind Moncrief, 6'3'', 195-pound Ja-Mes Logan caught 43 balls for 490 yards and a score. Rounding out the top three statistical receiving leaders was 6'1'', 190-pound Vince Sanders with 39 catches, 504 yards and four touchdowns.
Fortunately for Rebel Nation, all three return in year two of the Hugh Freeze era.
Minus only RB/WR Randall Mackey, Ole Miss brings back five of its top-six receiving yardage leaders with the returns of WR Korvic Neat and RB Jeff Scott, players who combined for 48 receptions, 434 yards and a score in 2012. This group alone looks good, but there's more depth behind this core.
Returning WRs like Collins Moore (injury) and Cody Core (limited action) will look to establish themselves as regular receiving options. RBs Mark Dodson, I'Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton are bound to see a few balls tossed their way out of the backfield.
Moore was sidelined with a shoulder injury most of 2012, while Core was a freshman competing for playing time with several veterans. Both players are extremely athletic and should figure prominently into the offensive equation. It'll be interesting to see how early they work their way into the mix.
If the young running backs can start to feel pretty comfortable catching the occasional pass out of the backfield within the first few contests, the sky will simply become the limit for the Rebel passing attack.
But wait, there's more.
What about that stellar recruiting class? Weren't there some receivers?
You better believe it.
Within the Rebel's monster recruiting class of 2013 was ESPN's No. 1 overall prospect at wide receiver, 6'3'', 195-pound Laquon Treadwell, and one of the nation's top junior college athletes in 5'11'', 195-pound speedster Quadarias Mireles. Not bad for an already solid receiving corps.
Treadwell was ranked as the nation's top receiver for good reason.
He's a natural playmaker capable of establishing himself as one of the SEC's best from day one (watch out Amari Cooper). As a mid-year enrollee, the transfer Mireles looked just as talented the first time on the field this spring as he did as a recruit. He's the kind of player that fits in perfectly as a slot option at Ole Miss.
Not to be forgotten is the tight end option.
Without the services of Jamal Mosley, Ferbia Allen and H.R. Greer, the Rebels will look to seemingly unknown reserves and true freshmen to fill the void. There wasn't significant contribution from the tight end spot in 2012, and Rebel coaches would like to see that change.
That's likely a main reason Freeze signed three (yes, three) tight ends in his epic 2013 recruiting class. Expect reserve TEs Jack Nuismer and Justin Bigham to battle the true freshmen trio of Evan Engram, A.J. Jackson and Christian Morgan for playing time. Among the five of them, at least two should emerge as viable options.
Who those two are will likely be decided closer to opening kickoff.
If you do the math, without even considering the possibility of a surprise player or two stepping onto the scene, that's a total of 14 Rebels Wallace should have the luxury of throwing to this year.
While all 14 may not pan out as hoped for one reason or another, it's certainly a nice number to start with in summer camp. By the time the Rebs travel to Vandy on August 29, nine or ten of these men should be firmly established as dependable receiving options in Freeze's fast-break offense.
The more options that come out of summer camp, the more lethal the passing attack will become.
Having not even mentioned Wallace's talent in scrambling and creating real estate and what should be a versatile, deep rushing attack, the Ole Miss offense could be downright lethal.
Defenses best not get caught napping for a single play when the Rebels have the ball, because if they do, big plays and touchdowns will come early and often in 2013.