Rebels’ talented upperclassmen on Senior Bowl ‘Top 250’ list
OXFORD, Miss. — It is well known Ole Miss has some of the best young players in college football. But those youngsters are currently being led by some talented upperclassmen who are also getting noticed for their abilities.
Five Ole Miss seniors are listed on the Reese’s Senior Bowl Top 250 list.
Linebacker Lakia Henry, offensive lineman Royce Newman, defensive lineman Tariqious Tisdale, tight end Kenny Yeboah and EDGE Sam Williams are all in consideration to play in the Mobile, Ala., all-star game.
Senior Bowl prowess
The Reese’s Senior Bowl is the nation’s most prestigious college all-star game, as it annually serves as the first step of the NFL draft process. According to its website, the Senior Bowl has had 93 total players and 40 selected in the first three rounds each of the past two years, including 10 first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. The 93 figure represents nearly 40% of the total draft these past two years. One thing that differentiates the Reese’s Senior Bowl from other all-star games is the participation of two full NFL coaching staffs. Last year, the two teams were coached by the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals and there were over 900 credentialed NFL personnel in Mobile, AL. for game week.
In last year’s game, Ole Miss defensive linemen Benito Jones and Josiah Coatney played in the game. Jones is currently on the practice squad of the Miami Dolphins, while Coatney was an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers and recently worked out with the Detroit Lions.
Oxford has become a treasure trove for the Senior Bowl and this year’s candidates are no exception. Here’s a look at the five Rebels on the Senior Bowl Top 250 list.
LAKIA HENRY, LB
The Vidalia, Ga., native came to Ole Miss from Dodge City (Kansas) Community College and he made an immediate impact with the Rebels. Henry started every game last year and led the team with 88 total tackles. He also amassed 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
Lakia Henry separates the ball from the receiver quite nicely. 💪🏽 https://t.co/OpQMxNMRx0
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) September 26, 2020
In the season opener against Florida last week, the 5-foot-11, 235-pound Henry had four total tackles, two of them solo stops
OL ROYCE NEWMAN
After redshirting his freshman season, the Nashville, Ill., product has been a fixture on the Rebels’ offensive line. Last season was his most productive as he started every game at left guard. During all that time in the trenches, the 6-6, 310-pound Newman only allowed one sack.
.@OleMissFB OL Royce Newman stands out athletically on tape and the staff believes he will be among the top testers in ‘21 draft. Newman can play all five OL spots and he could match this year’s No. 13 overall pick Tristan Wirfs with a 36-inch VJ. 💤 📈#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/S5qTNxTOIo
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) August 15, 2020
Newman was also a member of the 2019 Athletic Director’s Fall Honor Roll.
DL TARIQIOUS TISDALE
Tisdale has been known in the Magnolia State even before he arrived at Ole Miss. He started his college career at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia. While there, he collected 31 tackles and five sacks for the Rangers.
At Ole Miss, his production has not fallen off. In his career, the 6-5, 295 pounder has 66 tackles, eight of them for loss. Tisdale also has sacked the quarterback three times.
Irv Smith who is in the 240-pound range meets Tariqious Tisdale who is in the 280 range. Tisdale appeared to have won the rep before it even began. pic.twitter.com/WuQpuYf57K
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 19, 2019
Tisdale opened the season with five tackles against Florida, with 1 ½ resulting in a loss of yardage.
EDGE SAM WILLIAMS
Williams could be an attractive choice for the Senior Bowl game not only because of his talents, but because he is an Alabama native, hailing from Montgomery. After playing JUCO ball at Northwest Mississippi, Williams made an immediate impact as a junior for the Rebels.
Watching some Ole Miss D and noticed their EDGE/LB Sam Williams. Junior with 4.5 TFL and 3 sacks this year so far in his first year in the FBS. JUCO All-American last year. pic.twitter.com/TJrRDX3uaj
— Hash (@hashdrafts) October 15, 2019
He accounted for 37 tackles with 9.5 of those resulting in a loss and he also had six sacks.
Williams started his senior season with three tackles and a sack against Florida Saturday.
TE KENNY YEBOAH
After a stellar career at Temple, Yeboah joined Ole Miss as a graduate transfer. While at the Philadelphia school, Yeboah grabbed 47 passes for 538 yards while finding the end zone six times. He helped lead the Owls to four bowl games: a 36-24 loss to Wake Forest in the 2016 Military Bowl and a 28-3 win over FIU in the Gasparilla Bowl in 2017, falling to Duke 56-27 in the 2018 Independence Bowl and concluding his Temple career with a 55-13 loss to North Carolina in the Military Bowl.
Grad Transfer Kenny Yeboah had 3 catches for 67 yards on this drive including this TD. 44-29 UF. @TheRebelWalk #OleMiss pic.twitter.com/N7lpUl1lIP
— TJ (@TJOxley1) September 26, 2020
Against Florida last weekend, Yeboah made his Ole Miss debut by catching five passes for 91 yards and scoring his first touchdown as a Rebel.
In the game’s history, 96 Rebels have been selected to the Senior Bowl. The 2020 class could make the list grow to over the century mark.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl is slated for January 30, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the NFL Network.
For the first time, Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile will not be the venue. The game will be played at the new Hancock-Whitney Stadium on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.