SEC Media Days, for some Christmas in July, is a week away. One of the annual practices as media guides are released there is to check out the preseason depth chart. Sometimes it varies a little from what you saw -- or were told -- at the end of spring. Often it varies a great deal from what transpires by the time the season ends.
Here's a look at the 2018 preseason depth chart for Ole Miss with comments on what happened with these players through the season. Where relevant, a few comments on what may lie ahead as well.
2018 Preseason Depth Chart
WR 1 A.J. Brown (6-1, 222, Jr.) – 85 catches, 1,320 yards, 6 TDs. Become career leader in receiving yards (2,984) and 100-yard games (12). Made several All-America second and third teams. Second-round draft pick.
17 Floyd Allen (5-11, 185, Sr.) – 4 catches, 44 yards.
WR 5 DaMarkus Lodge (6-2, 199, Sr.) – Second on team with 65 catches, 877 yards, 4 TDs. Undrafted free agent.
13 Braylon Sanders (6-0, 188, So.) – 16 catches, 271 yards, 1 TD. Became a dependable target after the Metcalf injury until his own injury (ankle). Expected to play a key role this season.
LT 74 Greg Little (6-6, 325, Jr.) - Started all 12 games. Second-round draft pick.
72 Royce Newman (6-5, 301, So.) – Newman was getting most of his reps at guard at the end of this spring. He will start at either left tackle or left guard. He and two others – Bryce Mathews and Eli Johnson – will be a case study in the value of practice reps. All three of these guys are juniors. They’ve been around the block in practice but not in games. They are the players to watch as Ole Miss transitions up front.
C 50 Sean Rawlings (6-5, 294, Sr.) – Started the first 11 games last year. Rawlings developed into a solid center and played through injuries as a junior.
70 Jordan Sims (6-4, 330, Sr.)
RG 70 Jordan Sims – As it turned out, Sims became the primary backup at center. Developing a strong No. 2 at center was a priority after Rawlings’ health concerns as a junior. - OR
55 Ben Brown (6-5, 300, Rfr.) – Sims was available to slot at No. 2 center because of the emergence of Brown as a redshirt freshman last year. An enthusiastic chap, Brown started every game.
RT 67 Alex Givens (6-5, 304, So.) – Good upper body strength and footwork. Givens will not be rated as highly in mock drafts as Greg Little was but he’s got a shot to get drafted. With new starters on the left side of the line it will be interesting to see if Rich Rodriguez favors the right side in play-calling. Lots of offenses do, but that’s certainly where the experience is for Ole Miss this season.
78 Tony Gray (6-5, 300, Rfr.) – Appeared in four games last year and has left the program. He was a consensus three-star prospect out of Loganville, Georgia.
TE 9 Dawson Knox (6-4, 250, Jr.) – Under-utilized in the Phil Longo offense. Yes, the Rebels had plenty of talent at wide receiver, but Longo should have been more intentional in getting the ball to Knox, who was drafted in the third round by Buffalo.
15 Octavious Cooley (6-3, 268, Jr.) – Eight catches, 172 yards and a touchdown. Likely starter. He won’t be as fast as Knox but will make big catches.
WR 14 DK Metcalf (6-4, 225, So.) – The freakish athlete will not be forgotten, but his three-year Ole Miss career spanned just 21 games – 15 less than it could have – because of injuries.
85 Alex Weber (6-1, 186, Sr.) – Laremy Tunsil’s little brother made the best catch of the year when he wrapped his arms around a Southern Illinois defender to pin the ball on the defender’s back and maintain possession as they both went down at the 1-yard line.
QB 10 Jordan Ta’amu (6-2, 212, Sr.) – An afterthought when he signed with Ole Miss in a class that included Shea Patterson, Ta’amu saved the 2017 season and helped Matt Luke get the job. A classy individual. Best wishes as a free agent with the Raiders.
2 Matt Corral (6-1, 203, Fr.) – I like this guy as a starter. No one benefitted more than Corral from the rule change allowing freshmen to play four games and keep their redshirt. He showed enough athleticism to believe he can be an effective starter. He showed fighting spirit in his play on the field and in his part in the Egg Bowl get-together. He will be a solid starter. Whether he’s a solid starter on Opening Day at Memphis remains to be seen.
RB 22 Scottie Phillips (5-8, 212, Jr.) – The first-year juco transfer burst onto the scene with a 200-yard day against Texas Tech. He became a consistent back who would easily have surpassed 1,000 yards if not for the high ankle sprain against Texas Tech in Game 10.
24 Eric Swinney (5-9, 214, Jr.) – A top-15 rated running back out of high school, Swinney never regained that form after two major surgeries while at Ole Miss. He would have been a senior this year but has transferred.
E 4 Victor Evans (6-3, 243, Sr.) – Evans was one of many defensive players to struggle with injuries. In eight games he had 19 tackles, six behind the line.
12 Austrian Robinson (6-4, 280, Jr.) – Playing tackle and end he had 19 tackles in 11 games.
DT 40 Josiah Coatney (6-4, 302, Jr.) – Third on the team with 63 tackles. Coatney and Benito Jones were both held out of most action in spring.
93 Sincere David (6-1, 337, Rfr.) – Appeared in eight games last year.
NT 95 Benito Jones (6-2, 315, Jr.) – Coatney and Jones are effective inside players.
90 Ross Donelly (6-1, 318, Sr.) – Appeared in 12 games, 25 tackles, 2 ½ tackles for loss.
E 89 Ryder Anderson (6-4, 244, So.) - Appeared in 12 games, started two. - OR
97 Qaadir Sheppard (6-3, 249, Jr.) – Outside linebacker will be a more natural fit for Sheppard. He’s got one year of college football left. It could be a big one.
41 Brenden Williams (6-1, 254, Jr.) – Appeared in 12 games and had seven tackles in his second season after transferring from junior college.
MLB 43 Detric Bing-Dukes (6-1, 254, Sr.) – Ultimately Bing-Dukes did not start a game. He appeared in nine and had 10 tackles. His inability to play in space kept him from getting on the field more.
14 Zikerrion Baker (6-1, 216, Rfr.) – I thought Zi Baker would get on the field a little more. He had some of the same issues as Bing-Dukes in that he isn’t a very lateral player. He’s a very physical player and had one of camp’s most vicious tackles in a one-on-one drill last year when he dominated a blocker and stripped the ball from Eric Swinney.
OLB 32 Josh Clarke (6-2, 217, Rfr.) – Nobody rode the depth chart roller coaster like Clarke who was listed as a starter coming out of spring drills. He lost the job, slid down the chart, rallied to earn a start in Week Five against Kent State only to mess up a knee and not play again. He has since transferred.
17 Willie Hibbler (6-3, 227, Jr.) – Things finally began to click at linebacker for the former tight end. Hibbler appeared in 12 games and had seven starts and was one of the team’s better tacklers by season’s end.
STAR 3 Vernon Dasher (6-1, 200, Jr.) – There were big expectations for Dasher in his first year after junior college. He appeared in 11 games, starting nine, and finished with 36 tackles. If Ole Miss is going to make real improvement on defense it needs much bigger contributions from linebacker Sam Williams in his first year out of juco.
25 Montrell Custis (6-0, 188, Jr.) – One of three starters to go down with a season-ending knee injury, Custis, a journeyman before last season, was playing the best ball of his career when he was injured in Week 3 against Alabama. - OR
28 Cam Ordway (5-11, 182 Sr.) – Appeared in three games.
CB 5 Ken Webster (5-11, 194, Sr.) – Was effective when healthy. He appeared in 10 games with two interceptions and six pass break-ups.
15 Myles Hartsfield (5-11, 199, Jr.) – Played both corner and safety. 41 tackles, seven pass break-ups, one forced fumble - OR
21 Javien Hamilton (5-10, 176, Sr.) – Appeared in 12 games with four starts. No interceptions, two pass break-ups.
SS 36 Zedrick Woods (5-11, 201, Sr.) – Started all 12 games. 79 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one returned 96 yards for a touchdown at Texas A&M. Fastest man at the NFL Combine.
8 CJ Miller (6-0, 190, So.) – Appeared in 10 games and had 31 tackles.
FS 26 CJ Moore (5-11, 198, Sr.) – The third of three season-ending knee injuries, Moore went down in the fifth game.
6 Kam White (6-2, 201, Rfr.) – Appeared in two games.
CB 31 Jaylon Jones (5-11, 186, Jr.) – His ACL tear in the season opener was a devastating loss. His return is a reason for optimism.
1 D.D. Bowie (6-0, 180, So.) – A promising four-star signee, Bowie didn’t hang around for the season, leaving in search of more playing time. Had he remained on the roster there’s no telling what role he might have found himself in given all the havoc in the secondary.
PK 99 Patrick Nasiatka (6-2, 210, Jr.)
92 Luke Logan (5-11, 183, So.) – Logan eventually won the job. He hit 22 of 27 field goals, a success rate of 81.5 percent. Not bad, but he wasn’t called on for very many long field goals, going 1-for-3 from 40-plus, and there were some head-scratching short misses like a 22-yarder at Texas A&M, a 28-yarder against Arkansas and an extra point.
KO 92 Luke Logan (5-11, 182, So.)
99 Patrick Nasiatka (6-2, 210, Jr.)
P Mac Brown (6-3, 196, So.) – Averaged 41.2 yards on 48 punts. Had 13 inside the 20 and six for 50-plus.
HO 96 Mac Brown (6-3, 196, So.)
17 Floyd Allen (5-11, 185, Sr.)
LS 88 Jack Propst (5-10, 192, So.)
62 Cole Becker (6-1, 245, Rfr.)
KR 31 Jaylon Jones (5-11, 186, Jr.)
15 Myles Hartsfield (5-11, 199, Jr.)
PR 1 AJ Brown (6-1, 225, Jr.)
1 DD Bowie (6-0, 180, So.)