The Ole Miss Rebels are coming off a season in which they shocked the college football world. They beat the eventual national champion Florida Gators 31-30 in the swamp, and won the Cotton Bowl 47-34 over Texas Tech.
Now that Mississippi is on the national radar they have a chance to prove that their ’08 season was no fluke.
Jump for a closer look at the Ole Miss Rebels…
QB Jevan Snead will be the leader of the Rebels offense and he is out to prove that he deserves to have his name mentioned with McCoy, Bradford, and Tebow. Experts are already saying that Snead might be the most NFL ready QB in college football this season. Last year Snead threw for 2,762 yards and 26 TD’s, he has a lot of talent returning on offense and will try to better these numbers in ’09.
The X-factor for the Rebels offense is Dexter McCluster, he plays both RB and WR and is a dynamic talent at both positions. McCluster ran for 655 yards last season, and also had 625 receiving yards.
While the opposition is busy trying to corral McCluster, Snead will look to WR Shay Hodge. Hodge lead the Rebels in receptions with last season with 44 and tallied 725 yards. Hodge and McCluster form a dangerous tandem that should be able to rack up the points.
A question mark for the offense is who will replace now Baltimore Raven Michael Oher on the offensive line. Somebody will have to step up to make holes for RB’s Cordera Eason and Brandon Bolden. If the line can be effective this offense will be explosive for sure.
On defense the Rebels will look to continue their dominance up front with Greg Hardy, Kentrell Lockett and Marcus Tillman all returning. Hardy is the best player out of these three and will be a key to shutting down the run. Ole Miss had the 4th ranked rushing defense in the nation last year and these guys will be the key to doing it again.
In the secondary Kendrick Lewis is the all everything guy for the Rebels. Last season he led the team with 85 tackles and 4 interceptions. The Rebels pass defense was pretty poor last season and Lewis will have to lead this squad in the right direction this season.
At LB Jonathan Cornell is ready to become a force in the middle for Mississippi.
Mississippi will be putting up a lot of points, Snead needs to continue his sensational career and make this season the exclamation point. The Rebels defense should be solid. If Greg Hardy and the Rebels can shut down the run like they did last year, and Lewis can shape up the secondary the Rebels will be a scary team to deal with.
Projected Record: 10-2
Players to Watch: Jevan Snead, Greg Hardy, Dexter McCluster
Key Games: Oct 10th Alabama, Nov 21st LSU
Stats and info from ESPN, Collegesports-fan, and olemisssports.