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Ole Miss center Robert Conyers’ experience, leadership a huge plus for Rebels’ offensive line

Ole Miss center Robert Conyers’ experience, leadership a huge plus for Rebels’ offensive line

OXFORD – When Robert Conyers arrived at Ole Miss as part of the 2012 recruiting class, he redshirted his freshman year. He admitted it was difficult, but said he had to remain patient for his opportunity. Five seasons later, Conyers is no longer the inexperienced man on the line—in fact, it’s just the opposite. Now, he is the leader who will be looked upon to help the younger guys who haven’t taken as many snaps as the 6-foot-5, 298-pound Miami, Florida native.

And for Conyers, his door is always open.

I think that leadership role is definitely a big deal, because my first couple of years I didn’t really get a chance to play and I really didn’t know how to handle it. Looking back, now I can give those guys advice on how to get better, how to be ready to play a game, how to be ready to practice, how to be mean, how to be nasty—but how to be a good teammate at the same time.

Robert Conyers on his role as a leader

When playing time wasn’t as prevalent as it is now for Conyers, he had to sit back and learn just like most freshmen have to do when they first arrive in a football program. But Conyers grew from his freshman season, gradually earning respect from Rebels’ head coach Hugh Freeze who saw that Conyers has what it takes to play collegiate football in the Southeastern Conference.

Robert Conyers prepares to snap the ball.

Robert Conyers has played in 24 games for the Rebels.

Twenty-four games and counting

As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Conyers played in five games (SEMO, Idaho, Arkansas, Troy, Georgia Tech). As a sophomore, he played in every game, making a start at center against LSU and two at right tackle against Auburn and Presbyterian. In 2015, Conyers’ junior season was cut short as he played in only six games – starting five at center – before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament at Memphis.

Entering the 2016 season, Conyers has played in 24 career games with eight starts (six at center, two at right tackle).

“It was just a learning curve, growth as man,” Conyers said about his limited playing time. “I just had to get back to work and keep grinding at it.”

Now with the 2016 season set to begin on Monday in Orlando, Ole Miss will look to display the same magic it has had for the past two seasons, winning at least nine games and reaching back-to-back New Year’s Day Six Bowls.

Like everyone else on the team, Conyers has blocked out all of the outside noise and is preparing for the Rebels’ offensive line to go up against No. 4 Florida State’s defensive front that is anchored by defensive ends DeMarcus Walker and Josh Sweat.

“It wasn’t very hard at all,” Conyers said about shutting out the current NCAA investigation. “The guys on the team just kind of moved on from it. It happened. We got games to win. It just crossed right over our mind and we just went back to work.”

Conyers’ first thoughts on game week

Conyers recently discussed the upcoming season opener against No. 4 Florida State, making it clear the Rebels understand the importance of the game.

I think the urgency around the facility has been pretty high. I think there’s a high level of awareness now. We really have to lock in. For us to win this game, we have to be 100 percent perfect at practice every single day and we’ve got to get ready to play.

Fortunately for a young offensive line, they’ve got an experienced Robert Conyers to help lead the way.

Game info

Kickoff for the September 5 game vs. Florida State at Camping World Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised on ESPN.

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 Rivals.com. 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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