Ole Miss has been dubbed “Wide Receiver U” and perhaps rightfully so.
The Rebels’ receiving corps, nicknamed the “Nasty Wide Outs,” looks to be one of the deepest
and most talented in the nation heading into the 2018 season. Offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s passing attack, headlined by names like A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge, has the potential to torch opposing secondaries this season.
“The wide receiving corps, they’re one of the most talented in the country,” head coach Matt Luke said. “They’re very talented, unselfish and they work really, really hard.”
Luke’s love of his wide receivers doesn’t just stem from their performance on the field but also from their desire to see their fellow receivers succeed.
“They’re very driven,” Luke said. “They push each other to be better, and that’s what I like about those guys. You know they all want the ball every snap, but it’s fun to see when one of them catches a touchdown — the other two chasing after them. I think that’s a unique blend of guys that have that swagger, but they also pull for each other. I think that’s huge.”
The Rebel receivers’ support of each other stems from their common goal — being the best offense in the country.
“(Our expectation is) being the best in the nation,” Metcalf said. “In my opinion, no one can stop our offense.”
Considering Metcalf is from Oxford and Brown is a Starkville native, a little extra emotion was involved in the 2017 Egg Bowl win for Ole Miss. Luke and some of his players have credited this win with giving the Rebels momentum coming into 2018.
“There was a lot of emotion in that game,” Lodge said. “A.J. being from Starkville — he’d been getting trash-talked all week. Coach Luke’s job was on the line, and we all wanted him to get that job. You could just tell that it was a different energy that night.”
With the three-headed wide receiver attack the Rebels will return in 2018, it could be
easy to overlook some of the new names and faces that have joined the unit. Sophomore Braylon Sanders secured his first collegiate touchdown reception versus Texas A&M in the 2017 season.
“I think Braylon Sanders was a kid last year at this time that we didn’t really know what he was going to be able to do,” Longo said. “He’s poised for a lot more reps this year.”
Other additions to the NWO include high school signees Demarcus Gregory, Elijah Moore and Miles Battle as well as junior college transfers Ryan Drew and Jacob Carter.
“We have the three freshmen that are kind of in the same role that Braylon was in last year,” Longo said. “I think any of those guys will have some opportunities. Hopefully we can incorporate them all somewhere throughout the year.”