Ole Miss wide receiver Malik Heath working hard with goal of Rebels winning a championship
OXFORD, Miss. – Malik Heath last played in a Southeastern Conference football game back in November, and he caught one pass for five yards. He played for the Mississippi State Bulldogs and his opponent that night was Ole Miss.
In one week, Heath will wear blue and red instead of that gaudy maroon, and the Jackson native has been working hard on what he needs to do to achieve his and the Rebels’ goals.
“It was pretty hard at first, but then as I started to learn he concepts, it got a lot easier and easier,” Heath said of his efforts during fall camp.
Heath is a rarity in college football. This season he will go from one archrival to another.
“Ole Miss and State both recruited me out of high school and junior college,” Heath said. “I was already heavy on State out of high school. That was the first team that offered me and the first school I ever visited. Out of junior college, by the time Kiffin got the head coaching job over here, I had already made my mind up that I’m going to State. But at the same time, he texted me to take a visit, but by that time it was over with.”
Later, however, following the 2021 season, it was a different story. Heath felt he would fit better in the Rebels’ offensive system that the Bulldogs.’ And once on campus to see Lane Kiffin and the Rebels, Heath learned the old saying was true: If you don’t want to come to Ole Miss, don’t take a visit.
So, when Heath takes to the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium field Sept. 3 against Troy, how does he plan to improve on his one catch, five-yard performance against the Rebels in last year’s Egg Bowl?
“I think I’ve had the yards after catch. It just me getting more crisp with my routes. It’s all about me coming out to the field with a right mindset and being ready to work. That’s all.”
But still, Heath is on a different team than last season. So has he meshed well with his new team, and are they on the same page heading into the season after only a training camp together?
“I think it progressed very easily because we just want to win and be great. Pretty easy. Me just staying focused and locked in on the ultimate goal and winning a championship.”
Malik Heath on team chemistry
Should that come to fruition, Heath’s catches and yardage this season will dwarf his production against Ole Miss last season.
(Feature image credit: Reed Jones, Ole Miss Football)
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.