Rebel football week one stock report.
Seph Anderson, Sportswriter to The South, focuses his sports writing & photography skills on covering timely Ole Miss and SEC news.
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The Ole Miss Rebels kicked off spring practice on Sunday, and after only a few days into spring ball, there are some newsworthy stock reports out of camp.
Several players have returned from injury, while others are sidelined for now.
While there remains depth issues at a few positions, several players have put on impressive performances in the first week.
While it’s too early to give any definitive evaluations, let’s take a look at how some stocks are trending as week one of spring practice is underway in Oxford.
Stock Up: Hugh Freeze’s Hunger for an SEC Title
Prior to watching Andy Kennedy lead the Ole Miss basketball team to an SEC Tournament championship this past weekend, Hugh Freeze already had his eyes set on taking Rebel football to the next level.
Now, his drive to succeed is even greater. He wants to be where Kennedy is right now.
Freeze now enters spring ball with an enhanced passion for success—not that he needed any additional motivation.
Freeze wants to put the Rebels back on the SEC map in 2013 and there shouldn’t be any problems.
Stock Up: Athlete Quadarius Mireles
Only four days into spring practice, mid-year enrollee Quadarius Mireles has already changed positions at Ole Miss.
Listed as an athlete upon signing with the Rebels, Hugh Freeze first tried out Mireles at cornerback. However, the gifted athlete seems to have taken fondly to an audition at slot receiver.
There’s a reason the kid was tabbed as an athlete versus a true position player coming out of junior college, and the Rebel coaching staff may have already found where he can be most beneficial.
With WR Korvic Neat hampered by a foot issue and WR Collins Moore just getting back into the mix of things after shoulder issues, Mireles could end up one of the hot names coming out of spring practice.
Stock Up: WR Collins Moore
Another reason Rebel fans should be cheering this spring: Collins Moore returns healthy from shoulder issues that plagued him last season.
For that reason alone, his stock is climbing.
While he’s being held out of contact as Ole Miss gets spring ball underway, his healthy return means there should be yet another weapon for QB Bo Wallace this fall.
There’s no question Moore will need time to again find comfort taking shots in the fast-paced Rebel offense, but his availability to take part in spring practice will be a huge asset heading into the summer.
Between WRs Quadarius Mireles, Korvic Neat and Moore, the slot in Oxford looks pretty promising.
Stock Up: LB D.T. Shackelford
Alas, D.T. Shackelford is back on the field in Oxford.
By merely putting on pads and being healthy again, the senior’s stock is rising.
He’s a vocal leader and may just have as much spirit as anyone in the SEC. Now, Shackelford looks to adjust to game speed and Dave Wommack’s defensive scheme at Ole Miss.
Despite sitting out the past two years to injuries, there’s every reason to believe he works his way back into the defensive rotation for the Rebels.
Keep an eye on Shackelford’s work this spring.
Stock Up: C Austin Douglas
Behind every good football is a good center, or at least that’s the hope. For Ole Miss, Evan Swindall returns as starting center this spring.
While it’s good to have a veteran center in the SEC, it’s equally as important to have a talented reserve waiting in line.
With the mid-year addition of junior college transfer Austin Douglas, the Rebels feel they can comfortably be two-deep at center between Swindall and Douglas or Ben Still as the top reserve.
Only a few days into life as a Rebel, Douglas has already looked solid in his Ole Miss debut.
Stock Down: DE C.J. Johnson
A rising SEC talent, looking to blossom even more this spring was C.J. Johnson.
However, the junior broke his fibula in spring practice on Wednesday.
While he should be recovered ahead of the opener at Vandy, the Rebels must now look to develop even more depth at defensive end this spring. Beyond starter Cameron Whigham, Channing Ward, Carlos Thompson andKameron Wood are players that will now see increased snaps during spring camp.
Don’t forget that ESPN’s No. 1 overall prospect, DE Robert Nkemdiche, arrives in Oxford this summer to help provide support at defensive end. He should make an immediate impact for the Rebels, and now he may be expected to do just that (earlier than expected).
No Change: QBs Barry Brunetti and Maikhail Miller
While Bo Wallace is out this spring recovering from recent shoulder surgery, splitting snaps this spring are QBs Barry Brunetti and Maikhail Miller.
Ole Miss fans should consider it a blessing in disguise, as the Rebels search for a solid reserve.
At least through the first couple of days this spring, neither reserve has looked great. However, I think that’s to be expected since Wallace saw the vast majority of snaps in 2012.
This time next week, there will be more work from which the two can be better evaluated. The spring battle between the two men will be one of the most interesting storylines for the Rebels.
Let’s see how this battle is shaping up in another week.