3 offensive players you should watch in Ole Miss football's spring game Saturday
Ole Miss returns eight starters, including quarterback Matt Corral, from its 2020 squad that ranked No. 3 in the FBS in total offense. But a significant chunk of those players and their backups have been limited this spring because of injuries. That list includes running backs Jerrion Ealy and Henry Parrish, receivers Jonathan Mingo, Dontario Drummond and Braylon Sanders, tight end Casey Kelly and center Ben Brown.
With such a high percentage of Ole Miss' offense injured, the spring game should be a showcase for some of Ole Miss' less heralded players, especially at the skill positions.
Here are three offensive players to keep an eye on.
Running back Kentrel Bullock
Ealy and Parrish's absences have opened up opportunities for junior Snoop Conner and sophomore Kentrel Bullock. Conner is a known commodity; he's rushed for 933 yards and 13 touchdowns in the last two years.
Bullock is more of a mystery man. He only carried twice in his freshman season, both in the Outback Bowl. He's stood out this spring, though, rotating with Conner on the first team and in one occasion earned a start over Conner in a Saturday scrimmage.
The battle for reps is already tough with Ealy, Parrish and Conner established as productive ball-carriers. There's no such thing as too much depth in the backfield, though, and if Bullock can finish a strong spring with a big showing in the Grove Bowl, he might be able to play his way into the rotation.
Tight end Luke Knox
Ole Miss' tight end room has been decimated by injuries. Kelly, four-star freshman Hudson Wolfe, senior Chase Rogers and junior Jonathan Hess have all missed scrimmages or, in Kelly's case, sat out the whole spring.
One new face who has benefitted from this is junior Luke Knox. The brother of former Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox, Luke is playing tight end this spring. He started two games and played in 15 at linebacker over the last two years, making 11 tackles.
It's always interesting to see players switch sides of the ball. But in Knox's case, his pedigree is also fascinating. In a tight end room that already has Chad Kelly's younger brother, adding the younger brother of the Buffalo Bills' starting tight end makes things doubly interesting. Don't be surprised if Knox gets a couple looks at tight end to see how viable he is at the position for the fall.
Quarterback Luke Altmyer
Corral is going to lead the first-string offense. Redshirt sophomore Kinkead Dent will play quarterback for the second-string offense. That leaves early enrollee Luke Altmyer in a bizarre position.
Altmyer is a four-star from Starkville High School who came to Ole Miss with plenty of outside pressure to be Corral's heir. But he's also an 18-year-old who should be preparing for senior prom right now, not a spring football game.
Altmyer has played up and down in scrimmages. But the lack of depth on offense has meant most of his exposure has been in seven-on-seven drills or against air. Seeing how he reacts to a full pass rush, and to potentially a full stadium, might tell fans a lot about the future of Ole Miss' offense.
Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or email@example.com. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.