The University of Mississippi has a long history of producing professional athletes in almost every sport, with most of this legacy of athletic success stemming from the hard work of Black student-athletes. To celebrate Black History Month, it only makes sense to highlight the most recent success stories of Black athletes who studied and played at UM.
Among Ole Miss Athletics, football has housed the most notable Black players to come from the university. There are countless players who have made it into the league, almost too many to count. Currently, there are 23 Black Rebels on active rosters in the NFL. Some of those players are:
Jonathan Mingo, wide receiver (Carolina Panthers)
Mingo is the latest wide receiver to come out of Ole Miss. In his final season in Oxford, he had 51 receptions for 861 yards and five touchdowns. He was drafted in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft to pair with their first round pick, Bryce Young. He had a decent season, with 43 receptions for 418 yards. He still has plenty of time to join the host of Rebels who have been great wide receivers in the NFL.
Mike Hilton, cornerback (Cincinnati Bengals)
Hilton was somewhat hidden amongst an amazing defense during the 2015 season for the Rebels. He was an undrafted free agent, eventually signing with the Jaguars. He then went to the Steelers where he became a great NFL corner, going on to join the Bengals this past season.
Laremy Tunsil, left tackle (Houston Texans)
Tunsil was a standout on the 2015 Ole Miss offense. He quickly made every team regret passing on him in the draft, as he became one of the best left tackles in the NFL. He was then traded to the Texans, where they made him the highest paid left tackle at the time.
Evan Engram, tight end (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Engram was the tight end for the 2016 Rebel offense, a season in which he played capably. He was drafted by the Giants with the 23rd pick in the 2017 draft. He is currently playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who he had a career-best year with this past season.
A.J. Brown, wide receiver (Philadelphia Eagles)
Brown is one of the most famous players to come out of Ole Miss. He was paired with wide receiver D.K. Metcalf during the 2018 season. Many thought that he could be drafted in the first round, but he fell to the second round in which the Titans scooped him up. He was incredible during his time in Tennessee, but he has risen to a different level ever since he was traded to the Eagles during the 2021 NFL Draft. He is a perennial top-10 wide receiver in the NFL.
D.K. Metcalf, wide receiver (Seattle Seahawks)
As stated, Metcalf was a part of the dynamic duo with A.J. Brown. He also could have gone in the first round but was relegated to the second round in the 2019 draft in which the Seahawks selected him. He has quickly established himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and perhaps one of the most unstoppable when playing his best.
There are no players currently in the NBA from Ole Miss. This is likely to change after this season, but who really knows? There has only been one in the 21st century.
Terence Davis, guard
Davis, who was most recently a part of the Sacramento Kings, was very good at Ole Miss and cemented himself as one of the best players to make their way through the program. He made a name for himself in the NBA as a part of the NBA championship Toronto Raptors team with Kawhi Leonard. He is currently a free agent.
Track and Field
Brittney Reese, long jumper
Brittney Reese is currently the only Ole Miss alum to win a gold medal for Team USA, which she won doing the long jump at the 2012 Olympics. She is also the only woman to win three straight world championships, marking her as one of the best athletes to ever come out of Ole Miss.