Enemy Review: Ole Miss Rebels

Rebels at a Glance:

Head Coach: Hugh Freeze

2015 Record: 10-3 (6-2 in SEC)

Key Players: QB Chad Kelly, WR Quincy Adeboyejo, RB Akeem Judd CB Tony Bridges, LB Mageo Rommel

Key Departures: WR Laquon Treadwell, DL Robert Nkemdiche, RB Jaylen Walton, LB Denzel Nkemdiche

Key Additions: LB Mageo Rommel, QB Shea Patterson, OT Gregory Little, DT Benito Jones, WR AJ Brown

Quick Slants:

  • Linebacker Mageo Rommel is a graduate transfer from Oregon State, where he led the Beavers’ in tackles last year.
  • Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram is terrific in the pass game, and has good speed to go along with his physicality. However, behind Engram will be two true freshman in four-stars Octavious Cooley and Gabe Angel.
  • Hugh Freeze loves his offenses to go fast. So get ready for another game against the hurry up no huddle offense.
  • Chad Kelly was at one point in time a Clemson Tiger. He was kicked off the team in 2014 after a feud with a coach.
  • This game will be played in Orlando, Florida. In 2015 Ole Miss came to Florida to visit the Gators and lost 38-10.
  • Five-star true freshman offensive tackle Gregory Little is fully expected to start against FSU. He will be welcomed to college football by facing either DeMarcus Walker or Josh Sweat.
  • The Rebels should have no problem replacing wide receiver Laquon Treadwell’s 11 touchdowns and 1153 receiving yards. They return a combined 2,131 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns in wide receivers Cody Core, Quincy Adeboyejo, Damore’ea Stringfellow, and Markell Pack.
  • Chad Kelly was out for Ole Miss’ spring game, but by all accounts should start against FSU. If Kelly’s not good to go, five-star true freshman quarterback recruit Shea Patterson should be the back up.


Why Ole Miss Will Win

The team with certainty at quarterback always has an advantage. Chad Kelly should be even more comfortable in year two of Hugh Freeze’s Rebel offense, and he has a lot of weapons to work with next year. The running game shouldn’t skip a beat with Akeem Judd and Jordan Wilkins, who really shined in the Egg Bowl last year. Evan Engram is one of the best tight ends in the country and his athletic ability poses a major mismatch for the Florida State defense. Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil will most likely be taken in the first round of the NFL draft, but he is replaced by future first round talent Gregory Little. Florida State handled good spread offenses poorly last year, going 0-2 against ranked opponents (Clemson and Houston). Defensively, Ole Miss swarms to the ball and gets great penetration. To replace the talent the Nkemdiche brothers provided, the Rebels signed two graduate transfers at linebacker and plug in four-star JUCO transfer DJ Jones at nose tackle. The Ole Miss defensive line will dominate an inconsistent Seminoles offensive line, and not allow Dalvin Cook to get going. Ole Miss loves to use their safeties as a sort of center fielder who reads the quarterback’s eyes. Whoever starts at quarterback for the ‘Noles is going to have to make smart decisions throwing the ball. Otherwise, the ‘landsharks’ on the Ole Miss defense will make you pay.

Why Florida State Will Win

They say defense wins championships, and there might not be a better defense next year than Florida State’s. Derwin James is an incredible talent and is in line to be the next great defensive back for the ‘Noles. He will be moving from the STAR position to safety, which is a more natural fit for James. James’ replacement at STAR will likely be incoming five-star cornerback Levonta Taylor, who plays with great speed and burst. As for the offense, does it really matter who starts at quarterback when you have Dalvin Cook? Cook shouldn’t skip a beat from last year, and hopefully is able to stay healthy the whole season. The offensive line should be able to open enough holes against an Ole Miss defensive line who must replace its stud in Robert Nkemdiche. The defense will force turnovers and frustrate Chad Kelly all night. Special teams will also play a huge role, and I think Levonta Taylor will have some nice punt returns to set up the ‘Noles with short fields. In addition, this game will be played in Orlando which is right in Florida State’s backyard. 

Final Prediction

This one is a lot closer than people realize. Those who haven’t watched Ole Miss play the last couple years may not realize just how good they’ve gotten. If they can take down the football giant Alabama two years in a row, they can certainly take it to Florida State. However, the Seminoles have the best player on both sides of the ball in Dalvin Cook and Derwin James. The ‘Noles also return all 11 starters on offense, whereas Ole Miss has to replace a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. If this was a mid-season game I would probably roll with Rebels. But they just have too many wrinkles to figure out in the first game, certainly more than the ‘Noles. It will be a very close, tight match where scoring will be hard to come by. Give me the ‘Noles 24-14 for now, although that will definitely change as we get closer to this game. Moral of the story: Do not overlook Ole Miss.

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