The 2022 Ole Miss roster is deep with talent
OXFORD, Miss. – Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss teams have been described as fast, explosive and dynamic in the past. The 2022 incarnation of the Rebels can add another descriptive term – deep.
Even with four starters and a highly-ranked transfer coming in to solidify a starting offensive line, Ole Miss has been stacking its roster in recent years to give the Rebels a crop of other players who can step into a game without losing offensive production.
“I feel like with the second group, Jalen Cunningham, Micah Pettus, Cedric Melton, Reece (McIntyre), we can all go in and produce like the first team. We’ve been together since the spring and we’re all on the same page.”
Redshirt freshman Jayden Williams
Not only is there quantity among the backups, but there is also quality. Even more important, there is versatility and that will help Williams and the others get more playing time.
“Right now, I’m backing up Jeremy James (at left tackle), but if they need me to play both (sides of the line), I’m willing to do both,” Williams added.
Williams is just excited to see the field again. An injury kept him on the sidelines and in the training room last season, and he was happy to be on the field when the Rebels opened fall drills last week.
“Fall camp has been going good, you know of course last year I didn’t really practice much because I came off a shoulder (injury), I came up here on shoulder surgery,” Williams said.
“So like spring, that’s when I got my first full time practice and now, I feel like I’m getting even better in the system and getting more confidence, so yes, I think I can play if anyone goes down,” he added.
There is also depth on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Sophomore Trey Washington returns after a productive 2021 season. The sophomore safety appeared in 13 games last season and recorded 23 tackles and broke up a pass.
He is enjoying seeing so much talent in the defensive backfield.
“The depth is really a fun thing to see you see from one to all throughout,” Washington said after Thursday’s practice.
“People are challenging each other to perform and it’s just going to make each other better.”
Ole Miss safety Trey Washington
On either side of the ball, there seems to be the same attitude from the backups – always be ready when your name is called and play as well as a starter.
“As a backup, you have to be as prepared as a starter to go in and do what they do and have no setbacks or holding back the team or anything like that,” Williams said.
The Rebels first chance to display their depth comes Sept. 3 against Troy in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
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.