South Carolina and Vanderbilt have wrapped up their spring camps, and now the rest of the conference will have the opportunity to show their stuff. This Saturday, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Auburn will play in their televised scrimmages. Here are a few things that I’ve learned thus far as well as some things that I will be looking for.
This will be the first off-season in Oxford that Jordan Ta’amu will have gotten all of the QB1 reps. There were ups and downs throughout his first season but, ultimately, I remember the ups. This was an interesting excerpt from 247Sports describing the relationship between a QB and his coach, “The attitude was, ‘Shea is hurt, so Jordan is going to take the lead and be the starting quarterback, I don’t really think we’ve missed a beat, truthfully.”
It’s fortunate for Longo and Ta’amu that they’ve found a way to work so well together because it’s not a relationship that either of them chose. Longo arrived at Ole Miss just a few days after Ta’amu signed. In Longo’s initial meeting with the Rebel coaches, they threw on film of two JUCO quarterbacks and asked which one Longo liked best. One clip was of McLane Carter (Texas Tech) and the other of Ta’amu. Longo, after some consideration, singled out the QB from the New Mexico Military Institute.
“Well that’s good,” Longo heard. “That’s who we got.”
The Rebels also welcome their QB of the future, Matt Corral. Phil Longo had this to say about his other signal caller, “He’s extremely talented,” Longo said, via 247Sports. “Huge arm. He just needs to make the transition, and that’s what he’s doing right now from the high school game to the speed of the college game. It’s nothing different than from any other mid-year freshman trying to get it going in the spring. We’re not helping him by slowing down. He’s got to kind of get on the train leaving town at the speed that it’s leaving. At the end of the day, that will be for his benefit. For practice three for a freshman who was in high school in December, we’re doing just fine.”
If you play in CFF Dynasty leagues, Matt Corral should be one of the most highly sought after players in the league. I’m not very big into drafting QBs in Devy leagues, but I think he has a bright professional career ahead as well.
There will be an embarrassment of riches for both QBs to throw to. Most importantly, just over one week ago, WR AJ Brown suffered a knee injury. According to multiple reports, it was minor, and he will be day-to-day. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was held out of this weekend’s Grove Bowl. That will likely mean increased reps for DK Metcalf and DeMarkus Lodge (if healthy, he has been limited). Metcalf has been working on playing multiple WR positions this fall and has said his emphasis has been on creating separation at the LOS. At TE, Dawson Knox is a guy that I like a lot who has transitioned from walk-on QB to a versatile weapon at TE. Allegedly, he has the best hands on the entire team. Knox has missed time this spring with an injury and that has allowed Octavious Cooley to emerge. Cooley was a highly sought after recruit that never quite seemed able to breakout in college. His weight was a serious problem as he got all the way up to 289 pounds! He has since lost 26 pounds and is down to 263 and moving much better. If he can begin to fulfill his potential, he presents another mismatch for defenses. The TE spot has plenty of depth and versatility, but my expectation is for Knox to be TE1 this fall, if healthy.
With the departure of Jordan Wilkins to the NFL, there is a large void to fill in the Rebels’ offense. According to reports, Eric Swinney, Scottie Phillips, and Isaiah Woullard are all getting reps at RB with the first team offense. It’s entirely possible that there is a committee approach this fall. While that isn’t ideal for CFF purposes, it may be a good thing for their football team. The first team OL has been pushing around the defensive line, and that should come as very little surprise given how bad the defense was last season. It appears that starting an RB against them will be a nice matchup again for fantasy purposes.
Two non-skill-guys I wanted to briefly highlight on each side of the line are OT Greg Little and DT Benito Jones. I believe both players have bright futures in the NFL. However, there is a chance that both players may be held out of the Grove Bowl on Saturday, due to injury. A quick Grove Bowl prediction, DK Metcalf goes for 150+ and scores multiple TDs!