OXFORD • Reading between the lines may provide some insight into an evolving order of freshman quarterbacks for Ole Miss.
Three first-year players are in the mix for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Matt Corral, himself a redshirt freshman. Corral played in four games in 2018, the maximum allowed to keep a fifth year of eligibility.
Rebels coach Matt Luke and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez have been guarded in their comments on the competition.
“We’re not even close to determining who that’s going to be. It might be a couple of weeks into the season,” Rodriguez said.
Grant Tisdale, a four-star recruit from Allen, Texas, and Kinkead Dent, a three-star prospect from Jackson, enrolled early and went through spring drills.
John Rhys Plumlee, a four-star signee from Oak Grove, did not.
Tisdale is rated as a dual-threat quarterback in his 247Sports recruiting profile, but Dent, a 6-foot-5 pocket passer, impressed with his feet in the spring game as he read the field well and rushed for 50 yards on six carries.
Mobility is a big part of Plumlee’s game.
“All three of them have done a pretty good job so far,” Rodriguez said.
None of the quarterbacks had been “live,” or available to be hit at full speed in camp, but that changed last Saturday.
In the first major scrimmage of camp Tisdale remained in the “no-contact jersey,” usually worn by players the coaches are trying to protect, while Plumlee and Dent did not.
Dent was tackled early in the scrimmage and left with a concussion. He’ll be out of competition for several days.
“I thought they were good,” Luke said after his backup hopefuls went through simulated game conditions. “We put John Rhys in a live jersey, and that changed things for him, let him get out of the pocket. He scored a touchdown on the perimeter. That was good to see.”
In limited media viewing periods on weekdays, the order of practice snaps behind Corral early in camp went Tisdale, Dent, Plumlee. That changed in recent days with Plumlee following Tisdale.
Corral said the freshmen are up to speed with their knowledge of the offense.
“They did a good job of getting that extra film in with coach Rod and understanding the whole scheme of things. I feel like Grant and Plumlee have done a great job of not only handling their responsibilities but also getting everybody ready,” Corral said.