Ole Miss Team News

Looking ahead: Ole Miss’ 3 best players for 2016 season

Chad Kelly Sugar Bowl

We’re not officially into summer yet, but for a football fan, these still are the dog days. While it’s fun to look at schedules and projected stats leaders at certain positions and even the 2017 NFL draft, this harsh fact remains: We’re still more than three months from the real start of the season.

To help pass the time, GN has asked its correspondents to pick the three best players for the 2016 season on the team they cover.

Here is Ashley Barnett’s list of Ole Miss’ top three players.

3. WR Damore’ea Stringfellow

Particulars: 6 feet 2, 220 pounds, junior
The skinny: Ole Miss loses one of the best receivers in school history with Laquon Treadwell’s early departure to the NFL, but a deep receiving corps remains, headed by Stringfellow and Quincy Adeboyejo. Stringfellow transferred from Washington after the 2013 season following some off-field issues and sat out in 2014. Stringfellow played especially well in the second half of the 2015 season. He has good size, is physical and can get deep. Look for him to have a breakout season.

2. S Tony Conner

Particulars: 6-0, 215, Senior
The skinny: With so much uncertainty in the secondary, Rebels fans are hoping Conner can stay in top shape. Conner played in just five games last season, recording 17 tackles; he suffered an injury in the final minutes of Ole Miss’ win over Alabama in week 3, then returned but was injured again later in the season. Conner’s presence would add stability to an uncertain defensive backfield. Conner has good size and speed; he can play any defensive back situation, which makes him so valuable. He also is one of the biggest hitters in the nation.

1. QB Chad Kelly

Particulars: 6-2, 215, senior
The skinny: Kelly had a huge season in 2015 as a junior – setting a single-season school record with 4,042 passing yards and tying one with 31 TD passes (with Eli Manning) – and is inarguably the best returning quarterback in the conference. Last season, he broke or tied 14 single-season school records and should be able to duplicate that same type of success this fall. With much of the offense now centered on Kelly, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze will look to him to help carry this young team. Another big season out of Kelly also improves his 2017 NFL draft stock.

(You can follow Ashley Barnett on Twitter @AshBarnett_)

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