3 bold Ole Miss football predictions for 2022 season
Lane Kiffin is the kind of head coach any team would want to have with all these changes in college football.
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Kiffin is a master of adapting to his circumstances. He’s clearly adapting well to the modernization of college football. He is basically pointing out that times have changed. No longer must recruiting procedures remain underground.
Ole Miss recently reached the Sugar Bowl by winning 10 games. It was the team’s first winning season since 2015. However, it got a little lost in the weeds with the conversation about whether Matt Corral should have participated in the bowl game and all the other college football-related concerns late last year.
This year, Kiffin hopes to lead the Rebels to even more success. There are those, however, who are not buying.
Since his demeanor hasn’t exactly blended well with others over the years, Kiffin has consistently been undervalued and underestimated as a head coach. He’s on a mission to prove his doubters wrong.
To do that, Ole Miss football needs to have a season to remember. For that to happen, all the following bold predictions must come to true.
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Ole Miss Football 2022 Predictions
1. Cedric Johnson, Jr. anchors the defense
Sam Williams and his 12.5 sacks were tops last season, but he’s now in the NFL. With 6.5 sacks, edge rusher Cedrick Johnson came in second last year and should anchor the Ole Miss football defense in 2022.
With 6.5 sacks, 33 tackles, and seven quarterback hurries last season, Johnson was a great defensive player. Can he step it up now that top pass rusher Sam Williams is gone?
Johnson, a 6-3, 265-pounder from Mobile, Alabama, has cause for optimism by the time the season opens. Aside from his impressive numbers last year, he also has that one year of experience in Ole Miss under his belt.
This season, Chris Partridge will supervise Johnson and his defensive teammates. He is a new defensive coordinator who stepped in to fill the spot left by D.J. Durkin after the Rebels’ performance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Don’t be shocked if Johnson reaches 10 sacks on the season on top of 40 tackles and double-digit QB hurries.
2. Zach Evans runs like a bat out of hell
After missing out on the list the previous season, Zach Evans, a Rebel transfer, is now ranked among the nation’s top 100 players in college football.
Evans joins the Ole Miss Rebels for the 2022 season after moving from TCU, where he showed off his skills with 648 yards in just six games.
Evans will be a key component in the success of the Ole Miss Rebels in 2022, who finished first in the SEC in rushing last season. This Rebel backfield seems capable of continuing where it left off the previous season with Evans’ addition.
In his two years at TCU before transferring, the blue-chipper from Houston only managed 146 runs and 18 catches, yet his 164 touches resulted in 1,269 yards and 10 touchdowns. He should excel in Lane Kiffin’s offense and possibly surpass 1,000 all-purpose yards. Look for Evans to be among their breakout players in 2022.
1. Jaxson Dart will take the starting spot, eventually
Right now, the Rebels have not yet named Jaxson Dart the Ole Miss starting quarterback. Despite that, fans increasingly anticipate for him to take that spot soon.
There are big shoes to fill in Oxford after Matt Corral’s departure. Still, if Dart takes over as the starter right away, the former four-star recruit can keep the Ole Miss offense competitive in the SEC. In his first year on campus at USC last autumn, Dart passed for 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns and added 43 yards on the run. Right now, Dart and Luke Altmyer are engaged in a tight competition for starting QB. The smart money, though, is on Dart to eventually take it.
Recall that he received the National Gatorade Player of the Year award as a senior in high school. He completed 4,691 passes for 67 touchdowns and just four interceptions, a Utah state record. Dart also gained 1,195 yards on the ground and scored 12 touchdowns. Many saw him as one of the greatest players in Utah state history and the Max Preps National Player of the Year. He amassed 10,688 throwing yards and 117 touchdowns throughout his high school career, winning 35 games and the state championship.
When injury bit Kedon Slovis last year, Dart took over as the Trojans’ starting quarterback. He ended the previous season with 1,353 yards, nine touchdowns, and five interceptions. Dart was even ranked as the No. 10 quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Rebels now have a strong offense that includes Zach Evans from TCU and Michael Trigg from USC. They also have Hudson Wolfe at tight end and a WR trio of Jaylon Robinson, Jonathan Mingo, and Dennis Jackson. Add Nick Broeker at left tackle, too. Dart will have so many weapons this year.
Again, Dart should be Ole Miss football’s smart pick they want to optimize their offense and win crucial games against higher-ranked foes. He is far more gifted and well-rounded. Dart is younger, stronger, and has a superior arm. He represents both the current and the future of the Ole Miss football program.