OXFORD, Miss. — As we count down the days until the Ole Miss season opener against Memphis in the Liberty Bowl, we are releasing who we think the Top 50 Most Impactful Players will be for the Rebels this season. This series is a way for Ole Miss fans to learn more about players to keep an eye on this fall.
With 27 days before kickoff, coming in at No. 27…
Octavious Cooley was a four-star prospect, according to ESPN, 247Sports, and Scout, out of Laurel, Mississippi when he signed with Ole Miss in the class of 2016.
As a senior at Laurel, Cooley caught 68 passes for 1,448 yards and 13 touchdowns and notched six rushing touchdowns. Over his high school career, the 6-foot-3, 263-pound Cooley tallied 4,419 receiving yards and 51 total touchdowns which earned him second team honors for MaxPreps All-American team and first team honors on MaxPreps Medium Schools All-American list.
During his true freshman season at Ole Miss, Cooley made four game appearances as a reserve tight end against Wofford, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State. In 2017 during his sophomore season, his role increased as he made ten game appearances at backup tight end, making four catches for 66 yards.
As a junior in 2018, Cooley appeared in all twelve games with one start at tight end. He recorded eight catches for 172 yards and a touchdown, with a career-high three catches for 66 yards against Texas A&M.
— PFDZ (@PFDZ44) January 21, 2019
Since arriving on campus, Cooley has been playing behind tight ends drafted to the NFL. During his freshman campaign, Evan Engram was in his senior season at Ole Miss before being selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
During Cooley’s sophomore and junior seasons, he was playing behind Dawson Knox who was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Cooley has the size, athleticism and skills to follow in the footsteps of the NFL Rebels before him. He’s got a great frame for a tight end and was named the starter heading into fall camp.
Cooley should have more opportunities this season to show his talents in the offensive scheme of new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. Coach Rod and and tight ends coach Calvin Magee utilized the tight end position very well in their previous systems together at Arizona and Michigan.
At Media Day last week, Coach Magee emphasized the importance of the tight ends in this offense.
“The way we run this offense, tight ends are going to be huge because we use them in so many different combinations and ways.“
Tight ends coach Calvin Magee
Cooley has already received preseason accolades for 2019, being named to the Preseason John Mackey Award Watch List that honors the nation’s best collegiate tight end.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) July 19, 2019
As for Cooley, he has high expectations for himself for 2019.
“We’re ready to go out with a bang this season. We want to get bowl eligible. We’re going to try and get that.“
TE Octavious Cooley
Cooley has personal goals he’d like to reach during his final season in Oxford, but more than anything the talented tight end wants to give maximum effort every game.
“I just want to make myself go out there and leave it all out there on the field,” said Cooley. “Just leave it all out on the field every game.”
We fully expect Cooley to play a larger role in the offense than in season’s past, and with a strong performance, we wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the third Rebel tight end in four seasons to hear his name called in the NFL Draft.
Top 50 Most Impactful Rebels:
27. Octavious Cooley
28. Jalen Julius
29. Luke Logan
30. Nick Broeker
31. Austrian Robinson
32. Quentin Bivens
33. Willie Hibbler
34. Isaiah Woullard
35. Jadon Jackson
36. Grant Tisdale, Kinkead Dent, John Rhys Plumlee
37. Keidron Smith
38. Snoop Conner
39. Michael Howard
40. Vernon Dasher
41. Ryder Anderson
42. D’Vaughn Pennamon
43. C.J. Miller
44. Charles Wiley
45. Sincere David
46. Mac Brown
47. Jason Pellerin
48. Chandler Tuitt
49. Dannis Jackson
50. Jonathan Mingo