In preparation for the 2018 football season, The Daily Mississippian is introducing a series called “Rebel Role Call” to take a deep look into each position group, familiarizing readers with this year’s team. The two-week long series will lead up to the Rebels’ first kickoff of the season against Texas Tech. During the first week, we will chronicle where each offensive group stands, starting with the quarterbacks.
With fall camp coming to an end on Sunday, it is safe to say quarterback Jordan Ta’amu will have complete control over the Rebel offense.
Ta’amu exploded onto the field during the 2017 season, throwing for 365 yards or more in each of his first three starts. During the last month of the season, he led Ole Miss to a 3-1 record, helping him become the only Ole Miss quarterback ever to throw for 350 yards or more in back-to-back SEC games.
As a result, there are high expectations for him this year. Offensive coordinator Phil Longo said he wants Ta’amu to use all of his talents.
“We want Jordan to be a distributor of the ball, first and foremost,” Longo said. “We have a lot of offensive weapons, and we want him to use them. If all our options are covered, which sometimes happens, or a defense is stacking up against everything but the (quarterback) run, he can use his feet for sure.”
Ta’amu, a senior from Pearl City, Hawaii, said one of the most important things he wanted to work on during the off-season was building leadership.
“I just (have) to keep going and be more vocal,” Ta’amu said. “Being a leader and getting the offense back on track if they’re losing it – that’s my job, and I feel like I completed that.”
A big part of being a leader has consisted of mentoring freshman quarterback Matt Corral.
Corral was named as Ta’amu’s backup in the spring, after arriving from his native California. Although Corral is a former Army All-American and four-star prospect, he is still transitioning from high school to college ball.
According to Longo, Ta’amu’s humble attitude has helped Corral get a hold of things.
“Jordan has been his big brother, so to speak,” Longo said. “Matt knows the offense and can effectively run a lot of it. He just needs more experience, and that will come with time.”
Because of a new redshirt rule for college football this season, true freshmen can play in up to four games without losing a year of eligibility.
Corral should be safe, for he is the second-string quarterback.
“If something changes and the season goes in a direction where he doesn’t get on the field more than four times, obviously that would be a huge advantage,” Longo said.
As of now, Ta’amu will continue mentoring Corral as they return to regular practices on Tuesday.