This year’s NFL combine will feature four Ole Miss seniors with Josiah Coatney, Benito Jones, Qaadir Sheppard and Scottie Phillips all receiving invites.
These former Rebels will endure an assortment of drills, workouts, interviews and evaluations to extend their football career to the professional level.
Coatney, a defensive tackle, has put up multiple strong seasons for the Rebels as he enters the combine.
The senior from Douglasville, Georgia accumulated 174 total tackles and 6.5 sacks in three seasons. Coatney is currently training for the combine in Miami, hoping to have a positive showing in front of NFL scouts after a strong performance at the Senior Bowl in January.
Jones will join his fellow defensive lineman at the combine after a trip to the Senior Bowl.
The 329-pound senior had 5.5 sacks and an interception during his final season at Ole Miss. Jones also had 19 solo tackles this season, his career high. After almost declaring for the draft in 2018, Jones is poised to impress scouts this year with an additional year of collegiate experience.
Staying on the defensive side of the ball, Sheppard, a 6-foot-3 edge defender from New York, played for the Rebels as a linebacker and made a splash in the 2018 season. He registered 48 total tackles and two forced fumbles.
However, Sheppard’s 2019 campaign wasn’t as strong, totaling only 25 total tackles after a hand injury early in the season. He made the switch from defensive end to pure outside linebacker last season.
The only offensive player invited to the combine was Phillips, a 211-pound running back from Ellisville. Phillips played two years for the Rebels, accumulating 1,470 rushing yards in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. However, the majority of that yardage came in 2018.
Additionally, Phillips also had more yards per carry and total carries in the 2018 season. Some might see this as regression, but the Rebels’ offense shirted early in the 2019 season with Matt Corral’s injury and run-centric John Rhys Plumlee’s emergence as the lead quarterback.
With this change, much of the Rebels’ rushing attack filtered through Plumlee or Jerrion Ealy, leaving Phillips to maximize his production on fewer chances. Phillips will be looking forward to proving himself in this year’s combine by showing that his talents can transfer to the NFL.
The combine will run from Feb. 23 to March 2 in Indianapolis.