Ole Miss linebacker room looks to be formidable in 2024
OXFORD, Miss. — With newcomers and returning players, Ole Miss football has put together one of the top linebacker rooms in the country this offseason. Let’s take a look at how much talent the Rebels will have playing over the middle of the field next season.
Here is the projected linebacker room for 2024:
It’s worth noting that we may see Princely Umanmielan play both defensive end and outside linebacker, similar to what defensive coordinator Pete Golding did with Cedric Johnson in 2023.
Now that you can see the players along with their size, let’s recap the success they found in 2023.
Chris “Pooh” Paul Jr.
Chris Paul is an Arkansas transfer who received offers from Oklahoma, Auburn, South Carolina, Florida State, Baylor, and more while in the portal. He was the No. 3 overall linebacker in the country in the portal for 2024 and is a huge addition for the Rebels and Pete Golding’s defense.
Here are a few facts and stats to know about the South Georgia native and Razorback standout 👀:… pic.twitter.com/gHfTezGbHa
— Mary Alex Anders- CBS 44 Sports (@maryalexanders_) November 29, 2023
Paul was named to the All-SEC freshman team in 2022 and followed up by collecting 74 total tackles in 2023, the second-most of all Arkansas players.
Perkins will definitely be one to watch. There is no doubt the former five-star will see a ton of playing time next season, as we all saw how effective he was for the Rebs, especially against faster quarterbacks.
True Freshman @suntarine Perkins 😤😤
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) September 23, 2023
Perkins was used almost exclusively as an edge rusher during his true freshman season in 2023 but played a more traditional linebacker role in high school. The true freshman notched 38 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks this past season for the Rebels.
According to Pro Football Focus, Perkins played 314 of his 346 defensive snaps as an edge rusher in 2023.
Defensive coordinator Pete Golding, speaking in Atlanta at the Peach Bowl, explained there could be variation in the future for Perkins.
“I think he has flexibility in the position with the spring and another summer,” Golding said. “Obviously you’ll see him at different spots. Being that athletic, he’s very versatile. He’ll give us the ability to play him in multiple spots. With the spring and the summer, I think you’ll see that.”
The former Clemson transfer was ineligible to compete throughout 2023; however, after the NCAA ruling that allowed players, through this spring at least, to play if they were two-time transfers, Dudley was eligible to play in the Peach Bowl.
Dudley is listed as a linebacker, but he played mostly as an edge rusher in the Peach Bowl. He played 46 out of 72 available snaps in the bowl game, ranking him second among the Ole Miss edge players.
Against Penn State, Dudley showed just how explosive he can be. Despite only picking up two tackles, the intangibles were evident. He plays with speed, power, and has a history of being elite in the passing game.
TJ will be a huge benefit to next year’s defense.
The Mississippi native has spent his last two years at Jones College, where he absolutely dominated. Collins was named a NJCAA Second-Team All-American and led his team in tackles (56), tackles for loss (14), and sacks (6).
ICYMI: JUCO linebacker Raymond Collins from Gulfport commits to Ole Miss as DC Pete Golding continues to find in-state talent. #StayInTheSip @MissKYUS2011 talked with @Ray22football about why he chose the Rebels. ⤵️https://t.co/FKR5m7KvIT
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) March 28, 2023
He also forced two fumbles in his last season at Jones. Collins will be a fun player to watch develop alongside the rest of these studs.
The senior transferred from TCU to Ole Miss early in 2022 and has been a major contributor ever since. His versatility shined in 2023, as he recorded 48 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, one pass deflection, and one forced fumble. Coleman is a fantastic blitzer who presents a lot of speed in the middle of the field.
Khari Coleman chases down Daniels for the big sack pic.twitter.com/jA1bqINnCH
— T.J. (@TJOxley1) October 22, 2022
Linebacking in the Sip
As you can tell, these five players will become a force to be reckoned with, playing behind what will be one of the best defensive lines in the country. You can bet they will catch the national eye quickly and make a huge impact in Pete Golding’s aggressive-styled defense this upcoming season.
Stay tuned for more position breakdowns!