While we’re less than a month away from SEC Media Days in Atlanta, those preseason college football annuals have started releasing their polls. Ole Miss found a spot inside the Lindy’s Top 25 released earlier this week.
The popular preseason magazine ranks the Rebels at No. 17 heading into the 2022 season. Ole Miss is coming off a 10-3 season in which the Rebels earned a berth in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Ole Miss finished No. 11 in the final national polls.
The Rebels are ranked No. 20 in the preseason 247Sports poll.
Ole Miss could be classified as somewhat of an enigma after losing start quarterback Matt Corral, an all-American defensive end Sam Williams and a host of offensive talent from last year’s team. Head coach Lane Kiffin, though, attempted to fill the voids created by departures of such players as wide receivers Dontario Drummond and Braylon Sanders, as well as running backs Jerrion Ealy, Snoop Conner and Henry Parrish (who transferred to Miami), by utilizing the transfer portal over the off-season. Ole Miss landed five-star quarterback Jaxson Dart, running backs Zach Evans and Ulysses Bentley, offensive tackle Mason Brooks, tight end Michael Trigg, wide receiver Jaylon Robinson, defensive tackle JJ Pegues and a host of other transfers from the portal. The Rebels transfer portal class rated second in the nation in the final 247Sports team rankings.
There is a quarterback battle brewing in Oxford, as Dart (a sophomore) is competing with second-year sophomore Luke Altmyer for the starting job. A relatively light schedule to begin the 2022 season could potentially allow Kiffin time in the fall to work out the QB1 situation before the heavy lifting of SEC play begins. Replacing Corral, a third-round selection of the Carolina Panthers, could be difficult, but Kiffin certainly has the raw materials at hand in Dart and Altmyer.
Whoever that quarterback will be, will be working under the tutelage of a new offensive coordinator in the form of Charlie Weiss Jr., who replaced Jeff Lebby who departed for Oklahoma. The rebel defense will also be under first-year coordinator Chris Partridge, who was elevated after DJ Durkin left for Texas A&M.
Athlon did not rank the Rebels inside its preseason top 25, suggesting reaching 10 wins for this team might be a bridge too far. If all those new transfers mesh together, though, the Rebels could be in line for a repeat performance of the 2021 campaign that saw the season concludes on New Year’s night in New Orleans.
Ole Miss is set to open its season on Sat., Sept. 3, in Oxford versus the Troy Trojans.
2022 LINDY’S PRESEASON TOP 25
- Ohio State
- Texas A&M
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- NC State
- Ole Miss
- Wake Forest
- Michigan State