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Jalen Julius comfortable in second year, ready to step in and contribute

Jalen Julius comfortable in second year, ready to step in and contribute

OXFORD, MS.Jalen Julius is one of six cornerbacks getting reps for the Ole Miss Football team early on in fall camp. And after redshirting as a freshman, Julius feels he’s ready to tackle a starting role.

CB Jalen Julius may also work as a return specialist. (Photo: Bill Barksdale, Clarion-Ledger)

CB Jalen Julius may also work as a return specialist. (Photo: Bill Barksdale, Clarion-Ledger)

“Camp has been good,” were Julius’ first words after last Thursday’s practice.

Julius entered fall camp listed as No. 2 on the depth chart at the cornerback position and is also competing for playing time to return kicks and punts. The 5-foot-10, 172-pound Winter Garden, Florida native has solid speed and quick feet, which has helped him move into a promising position to play alongside two cornerbacks – Tony Bridges and Ken Webster – that made every start at the position last season.

Bridges finished second on the team last season with three interceptions. Webster finished seventh on the team in tackles (41) and had three tackles for a loss of three yards.

Carlos Davis, Kalio Moore and Cam Ordway saw playing time last season and will be counted on to provide depth at the position. Competing against guys who are more experienced has pushed Julius harder than before to see the field in 2016.

I feel like corner is good for me because I’m quick. I’ve got quick hips, stuff like that. I think, yeah, it’s the right position for me.

Jalen Julius

Outside of having mobility, Julius touched on another aspect that’s vital to being a cornerback in the Southeastern Conference.

“Being patient, not guessing,” Julius said. “You’ve got to be patient. If you guess, you can give up big plays.”

Versatile Julius could also see time as kick-return specialist

Julius is one of the most versatile athletes the Rebels have on their roster. Back in high school, he played running back, wide receiver, kick returner and cornerback in his senior season, while leading West Orange to its best record ever of 11-1. Julius also ran for 493 yards and seven touchdowns on 38 carries and also returned two kicks for scores.

Instead of just sticking to one position, Julius has been using his talents to play all over the field for Ole Miss, preparing to play regardless of position. If given the opportunity, Julius confidently said he wouldn’t mind being a kick-return specialist and believes he has “a knack for it.”

I’m comfortable with that because I’m a playmaker. If they kick it to me, hopefully I’m going to score. I think I can get it. If I get the starting punt return job, I may make big plays.

Julius on possible role as return specialist

Rebels’ deep receiving corps helps Julius train at cornerback

Julius spent his offseason learning every defensive scheme since at one time he wasn’t quite comfortable with his technique. Going up against the deep wide receivers corps at practice has helped Julius learn more and more about what it will take to prevent big plays on the field.

Julius said he believes redshirt freshman Van Jefferson is “one of the top guys” because of his route running, but he also recognizes the high level of play of all the Rebels’ receivers. When asked what it is like to go up against such talent, Julius explained:

It’s tough. To me, in my opinion, we’ve got the best receiver corps in the nation. Every day, we’re going to compete. We’re going to get better because we have the best group of receivers. It’s going to help us in the long run.

Julius on playing against the Ole Miss receivers

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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