The annual SEC football preseason poll was released following the 2021 SEC Media Days, with Ole Miss slated to finish fourth in the SEC West. Five Rebels have also been named to preseason All-SEC teams.
Matt Corral was named to the preseason All-SEC First Team, bestowing high levels of confidence in the junior quarterback. During SEC Media Days, Head Coach Lane Kiffin spoke to reporters about his starting quarterback.
“[We’ve] got a lot of good players coming back on offense, led by the quarterback,” Kiffin said. “I think he played as well as anybody in the country at times last year. I guess he was first in the country in total offense per game last year, which I didn’t even realize.”
A hot topic during both Kiffin’s and Corral’s media sessions was whether Corral was prepared to improve on his mistakes from last season and questions about his consistency.
“We expect Matt to play better, be more consistent, limit turnovers and take care of the ball better,” Kiffin said. “He’s done a great job from a leadership standpoint, he’s a very confident kid.”
Corral was quick to take responsibility for his role in last season’s 21-33 loss against Arkansas.
“I’m not one for excuses,” Corral said. “That game was fully my fault. I take full responsibility for that. Those mistakes were fixable. As I watched the film over and over, you could see the open man. I just didn’t have the right thought process playing against that defense. I can promise you one thing that next time I play that defense it’s going to be much different.”
Kiffin touched on many trending topics such as his Twitter presence, aggressive fourth down play calling, and the versatility of many players on the roster, including senior wide receiver Dontario Drummond and junior quarterback John Rhys Plumlee.
“I think that we can use [Drummond] inside and outside. He made plays for us last year, very strong hands. He can play special teams, I think he’ll be an elite special teams player at the next level. He’s got a unique ability and strength to do that,” Kiffin said. “That’s going to be a challenge for us with these receivers: who’s playing where, and moving them around. We have Plumlee in the mix to figure out what we’re doing with him exactly, that could be any number of things.”
Junior Jerrion Ealy was named to the First Team All-SEC as a return specialist and all-purpose special teams player. Ealy is returning in the fall after postseason shoulder surgery that sidelined him from the 2021 baseball season.
“Ealy is fine. He’s been working out with the team and we’re excited to have a fall with him now that we know more about him. We can maybe move him around and do some different things,” Kiffin said.
Junior left tackle Nick Broeker and senior center Ben Brown were both named to the All-SEC Third Team Offense. Senior punter Mac Brown was named a Third Team All-SEC specialist.
The Rebels will look to build off of the momentum from their 2021 Outback Bowl win over Indiana when they open the season against Louisville. The game is set for 7 p.m. ET on Sept. 6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.