Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and three of his players were named to several prestigious preseason award watch lists on Friday.
Freeze, who led Ole Miss to a 7-0 start last season, was one of 23 coaches named to the preseason Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year watch list. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) led all conferences with eight representatives on the list.
Junior left tackle Laremy Tunsil and junior defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche were named to the John H. Outland Trophy Award watch list, which will be awarded to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America. The SEC led all conferences with 16 players on the list.
(Click here for the complete Outland Trophy watch list.)
It didn’t stop there for Nkemdiche. He and teammate Tony Conner, a junior safety for the Rebels, appear on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, which is given to the nation’s top defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Nkemdiche has appeared on multiple lists so far this summer. The preseason All-SEC First Team member is also listed as one of the premier players to watch for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the top performer on the defensive side of the football. Nkemdiche is also a preseason All-American as selected by Athlon Sports.
Tunsil and Conner are preseason All-SEC First Team members and are projected by Mel Kiper to be picked in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Kiper has Tunsil listed as the No. 2 overall pick on his first big board rankings, while Nkemdiche sits at No. 4 overall and Conner checks in at No. 20.
In 57 days, the Rebels will open their season on Sept. 5 at home with Tennessee-Martin.