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A Promising Season: This Is Ole Miss Football 2024


Jaxson Dart
© Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

On a college campus in North Mississippi lies a hallowed patch of ground. It is an area where the most diehard of fans congregate in the fall to break bread and drink luscious libations before the most anticipated athletic contests of the year. It is 10 acres of tailgating nirvana, where fans prepare to greet their favorite sons on Saturdays. The place is “The Grove.” Their favorite sons are the Ole Miss Rebels football team.



Coming off a 2023 season that saw the Rebels post the first 11-win season (11-2) in school history, the 2024 version of the Rebels football squad welcomes back a whopping 20 starters (including transfers). A key piece of the Ole Miss offense decided to move on from the program. However, coach Lane Kiffin was surgical in the transfer portal during the offseason, bringing in talent to shore up both sides of the ball. Here is a preview of Ole Miss football 2024.


The Ole Miss Offense

Quarterback 

Going into his third season in Kiffin’s offense, QB Jaxon Dart is the undisputed offensive leader for the Rebels. From 2022 to last season, Dart improved his game by increasing his completion percentage (62 to 65), passing yards (2,974 to 3,364) and touchdowns (20 to 23), while decreasing his INTs (from 11 to 5). In addition, Dart added 8 rushing TDs last season for the No. 3 offense in the Southeastern Conference.



 Dart posted five games with more than 300 yards passing, and over the final five games of the season, Dart threw 9 TDs and only 1 INT. This experience in the most important position on the field cannot be overstated.


Running Back

Star RB Quinshon Judkins shocked college football by transferring to Ohio State after two productive seasons with the Rebels (2,723 rushing yards, 31 TDs). However, the running back room is crowded with talent. At times, the running game will feature:


  • Ulysses Bentley IV: 540 yards, 4 TDs

  • Logan Diggs (from LSU): 653 yards, 7 TDs

  • Henry Parrish Jr. (from Miami Hurricanes): 625 yards, 5 TDs, more than 6 yards per carry

  • Rashad Amos (from Miami, Ohio): 1,075 yards, 13 TDs. Third-team All-Mid-American Conference selection

 

Wide Receiver 

The Rebels return three of their top four pass-catchers. Tre Harris caught 54 of Dart’s passes for 985 yards and 8 TDs, including 11 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown in a 38-35 win over Texas A&M.



Jordan Watkins was equally productive, catching 53 passes for 741 yards and 3 touchdowns. In addition, Watkins scored on a punt return.


TE Caden Prieskorn posted 30 catches for 449 yards and 4 touchdowns on his way to second-team All-SEC honors.



In addition, Kiffin and the Rebels picked up former South Carolina WR Antwane “Juice” Wells from the transfer portal. Wells only played in three games last season and was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2022.


Offensive Line 

In the trenches, Ole Miss will be experienced. Including pickups in the transfer portal, the Rebels offensive line will boasts more than 200 starts combined. This unit will consist of three returning starters: center Caleb Warren, guard Jeremy James and tackle Micah Pettus.

 

In addition, this unit will feature four talented transfers, including Nate Kalepo and Julius Buelow from the Washington Huskies unit that won the Joe Moore Award as the top offensive line in college football and tied for No. 6 in the FBS in sacks allowed with 12. Also, Diego Pounds (North Carolina) and Gerquan Scott (Southern Miss) round out the unit.

 

The Ole Miss Defense

Defensive Line

The Rebels were middle of the pack or worse in the SEC on the defensive side of the ball. Ole Miss returns five top tacklers from a season ago, including two starters on the defensive line. DE Jared Ivey racked up 46 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Ivey’s partner in crime will be JJ Pegues, who posted 42 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 2 quarterback hurries.



Linebacker/Secondary 

At linebacker, Khari Coleman is back after a 2023 season that saw him record 48 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 tackles.

 

In the secondary, the Rebels return SS Trey Washington and FS John Saunders Jr. Washington led the team in tackles with 83 stops. In addition, he added 3 INTs, 2 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble. Saunders picked off 3 passes, made 65 tackles and broke up 5 passes.



Transfers

Kiffin was the “Portal King” during the offseason and picked up some talented players to shore up his mediocre defense from last season:  


  • NT Walter Nolen (from Texas A&M): 37 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks.

  • EDGE Prince Umanmielen (from Florida): 39 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, second-team All-SEC

  • LB Chris Paul Jr. (from Arkansas): 74 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks.

  • CB Trey Amos (from Alabama): 12 tackles, 5 pass breakups

  • CB Isaiah Washington (from Houston): 4 INTs (1 returned for TD), 50 tackles, 4 PBUs

 

The Schedule

Ole Miss plays the 40th-toughest schedule in the country, according to Phil Steele, and avoids Texas, Alabama and Missouri. The Rebels draw home games against Kentucky, Oklahoma, Georgia and Mississippi State. Ole Miss will go on the road for games at South Carolina, LSU, Arkansas and Florida.


The Rebels will have an experienced offense and a much-improved defense. However, Ole Miss has not won against LSU in Death Valley in a decade. And they will not win there this year. Against Georgia, Ole Miss is 1-11. They allowed 52 points in last year’s game, the most ever in the series. History is against them in that game as well. The Rebels will finish 10-2 this season.

 



 

 

 

 

 

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