Freshman Review

Nine games in Hugh Freeze’s top 10 signing class is living up to the hype.

The coaching staff has given these guys opportunities to play, and many of them have responded in a big way. That certainly holds true for some of the bigger names in the class — Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche — but there have been contributions from others too.

Derrick Jones is an example of a guy who got off to a bit of a late start by moving positions. Freeze didn’t know what to do with him early but liked his athleticism a lot and wanted to get him on the field. Jones seems to have settled in at corner.

This week against Troy should be an interesting game for Jones. Charles Sawyer will be out which means Jones should get more snaps than usual against a team that has no interest in running the ball.

Not everyone is playing. There will be a lot of excitement for quarterbacks Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan come spring and next fall. That particularly holds true for Kincade, who was close to playing this season.

There may be less excitement but no less intrigue for offensive linemen Daronte Bouldin and Davion Johnson, who are redshirting. The best offenses often feature linemen who have had an extra year of seasoning.

On the whole, it’s been a good nine games for the new guys.

Today’s column: The freshman class

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • Killer_Beeze

    Coach Warner on the “Reb Talk” radio show last night said he thought that Tunsil,Nkemdiche,Conner,Treadwell were performing at (sic) extraordinary levels. He said it was a pleasure coaching these caliber young men. When the Redshirts come off next year, the Rebels are going to be even better than this year IMO.

  • jeff

    Nkemdiche could really use a break out game, and with little to no run responsibility maybe this will be his week to cause havoc

    • Parrish Alford

      It is surprising to me that Nkemdiche has not recorded a sack yet. He has been impressive in other areas, but I thought pass rush would improve with he and CJ Johnson coming off the edge. Obviously the injuries took Johnson out of that equation. The Rebels are last in the SEC, No. 113 nationally with 1.22 sacks per game.

      • jeff

        On the Brightside though, I “think” they are blitzing less than last year and still getting good pressure. So once we add some more talent and our existing talent gains experience the sacks will come down the road.
        I hope all Rebel fans enjoy this process, to me this is more fun than being an Alabama fan. We have the opportunity to watch a team and coach grow together, make mistakes, gain experience and with each game abit of nervous anticipation.

      • The Ghost of Col. Reb

        Rob has been consistently double teamed, too.

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