Ole Miss felt it secured a major recruiting victory over Mississippi State when Walnut, MS athlete Armani Linton committed, and eventually signed, with the Rebels in 2015. The state’s fourth-ranked player came to Oxford with a very high ceiling.
Unfortunately, the former member of the Clarion Ledger’s “Dandy Dozen” has yet to break into the Rebels starting defensive secondary. An incoming junior on the field, Linton wasn’t going to see much time on defense this fall either.
The solution? A move to offense.
At 6-2, 218, Linton will now be in the huddle with the running backs when fall camp begins. The move should be welcomed by running backs coach Derrick Nix. The Rebels only have DK Buford, Eric Swinney and DeVaughn Pennemon returning to support junior college transfer Scottie Phillips, who’s currently in the cat bird’s seat at the position.
Buford has not panned out and both Swinney and Pennemon have fought injuries as of late. To make things worse, neither Buford, nor Pennemon, participated in spring practice.
Enter Armani Linton.
This past fall, Linton played the role of many of the SEC’s best running backs on the scout team offense and caught the eye of Nix. After the decision on the move came down, Linton told 247 Sports he is excited about the season.
“I played running back in high school, so it was kind of natural for me,” Linton told the website. “It was basically just going out there and servicing the guys, helping them get better every week. That was my objective, and I just kind of excelled from there.”
Ole Miss fans should be excited for the development, as Linton excelled in high school on offense. As a senior for the Wildcats, he posted 204 carries for 1,532 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“Armani was dynamic on offense as all of our plays ran through him,” Linton’s high school coach John Meeks told GN. “We lined him up at running back, quarterback and wide receiver. He was a tough runner and did what he could to get his hands on the ball any way possible.”
With the Rebels returning most of their offensive line, the most experienced collective group on the roster, Linton should be able to have success quickly.
(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)
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