Notes and thoughts from nine open periods on Tuesday ...
The neatest thing about Tuesday's practice that we didn't see live but, like many of you, have seen since, was that Floyd Allen was awarded a scholarship and how that was done.
Floyd Allen is a great story.
Going back to his high school days in Houston he's overcome the separation of his parents, economic hardship and mutliple injuries, which lessened the recruiting interest he had been receiving from major colleges.
He kept working at his goal of playing football at the FBS level, and his relationship with Jacob Peeler, who was originally recruiting Allen to Cal, led him to Ole Miss as a walk-on for the 2017 season.
Unfortunatelly for Allen, he was walking on at a school that was stacked at his position. He appeared in only six games last year, all on special teams.
Through all his challenges Allen kept his grades up and has an eye on medical school.
We spoke to him in an interview session last week, one in which he spoke with confidence, looking at questioners eye-to-eye, and concluded with handshakes for everyone there. That's uncommon.
Allen has a need for a scholarship, but he's earned it through his play in camp with the extra reps he received while A.J. Brown was out with a hamstring.
Floyd Allen has a neat story, and it's still being written.
Injuries: Brown is back, and DaMarkus Lodge (ankle) will likely be back today for a workout closed to media.
If so, that gives Ole Miss its full group of starting wide receivers. However, Braylon Sanders, expected to have a spot in the rotation, pulled a hamstring Sunday and will be out for a while. He could miss the Texas Tech game, though it was only redshirt freshman DT Sincere David and senior cornerback Ken Webster who Matt Luke identified as his greatest concerns for players who could miss the game.
David wasn't among the top four players at his position. Webster a starter early on, certainly is, but Luke has maintined from the beginning that he's very confident in the depth at cornerback, and he was able to get Javien Hamilton (hamstring) back on the field yesterday.
D'Vaughn Pennamon was on the field doing light work yesterday. That's a good sign. Luke told us in July it could be as deep as the middle of the season before Pennamon is ready. It may be that still. The Rebels can sure use him at running back, but what they really need is for Pennamon to make a complete comeback from his dislocated kneecap and run with the force he showed at the end of last season.
As the receivers go, also missing is freshman Demarcus Gregory (ankle). Gregory, an early enrollee, was pushing for playing time but has missed almost all of camp and seems on the path for a redshirt now.
The guys I think will play behind the starters will be Allen and Elijah Moore, both slot receivers, Miles Battle and Sanders if he's healthy. There's been a lot of second-team reps invested in those guys.
It will be interesting how the snaps play out for Allen and Moore -- who is also a candidate to return punts and kicks -- behind Brown in the slot. Obviously you want Brown on the field as much as possible.
Linebackers: Sophomore Mohamed Sanogo (middle) and freshman Kevontae' Ruggs (outside) were the starters on Tuesday, holding those first-team spots for a second-straight week.
With Texas Tech prep basically here, it appears the starting jobs are theirs to lose.
The second team on Tuesday was Willie Hibbler (middle) and freshman Jacquez Jones (outside), who has made a recent rise up the chart due, I believe, to his ability to play in space. It's a strength no one else at linebacker seems to have.
Redshirt freshman Zikerrion Baker seems to have fallen back after a brief time in the spotlight. I suspect his struggles in space have something to do with that. I think you'll see him play because of his physicality. He hits.
Hibbler didn't do much last year in the big-play category, but he's doing enough in practice, apparently, to stay in the top four.
Detric Bing-Dukes is not in the top four right now, and I can't recall Donta Evans in any meaingful reps this camp.
Those two combined to start nine games last year, five by Bing-Dukes. Tayler Polk, now a graduate assistant, started the last three games.