July 24, 2007

Linebackers, biggest Rebel question mark

Among several question marks headed into the 2007 season, the biggest one for Ole Miss rests with the linebackers.

Gone are the three top linebackers from last season's roster - No. 11 overall NFL draft choice Patrick Willis, late blooming Rory Johnson who had 94 tackles, and former four-star linebacker prospect Garry Pack, who was dismissed from the team midway through last season. Also gone is former four-star recruit Quentin Taylor along with LeRon King, both also dismissed from the team.

The rebuilding process at the position sees three four-star prospects, two former PAC 10 signees, a walk-on, and several lesser heralded recruits who will compete for playing time.

Coming out of the spring and headed into fall camp, the depth chart shows former four-star California prospect Jonathan Cornell replacing Willis in the middle and backed by junior Brandon Thomas. At weakside linebacker, walk-on Jamie Phillips replaces Johnson and is backed for former Mississippi player of the year Allen Walker. On the strongside, junior Antonio Turner, a former running back, won the starting position and is backed by former Washington signee Ashlee Palmer.

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