The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


October 2, 2013

Freshmen playing big roles for Ole Miss, AU

AUBURN  (AP) — Those prized recruits at Auburn and Mississippi are already key figures in the programs’ efforts to climb the SEC West ladder in their first season.

The 24th-ranked Rebels have started five freshmen heading into Saturday night’s game with the Tigers, led by defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and safety Tony Conner.

Auburn is relying heavily on defensive linemen Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel and wide receiver Marcus Davis among others.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and his Ole Miss counterpart, Hugh Freeze, haven’t been bashful about throwing the youngsters into the Southeastern Conference fire as they rebuild their programs.

“I think it says that myself and Hugh, we’re not scared to play freshmen right off the bat, especially if they’re talented enough,” Malzahn said on Tuesday. “You’ll see quite a few on both sides.”

Some of it’s out of necessity with deficiencies in depth or talent. Other players like Nkemdiche and Adams might be just too good to keep off the field.

Nkemdiche has started every game on the defensive line, moving from end to tackle at least temporarily for the Alabama game.

He and Georgia’s Leonard Floyd are tied for second among SEC freshmen with 4.0 tackles for loss behind only Vanderbilt’s Adam Butler (4.5). Adams is a backup defensive tackle but leads the Tigers with five quarterback hurries and has a sack.

Those two are among five freshmen collectively who were ranked among the top 21 players in the 247Sports composite rankings of the major recruiting sites. Nkemdiche was the nation’s top recruit and started at a new position against the nation’s top-ranked team.

Auburn’s Davis wasn’t as highly recruited as Treadwell but his 10 receptions are third on a team that was in desperate need of quick help at the position and even more so with the season-ending injury to starting receiver Jaylon Denson.

He had catches on three consecutive plays during Auburn’s game-winning drive against Mississippi State.

“Marcus Davis has had a fantastic attitude,” Tigers offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “From the third practice of fall camp you knew he was going to help us. I didn’t know if he’d start, but you knew he was going to help us because of his attitude, the way he attacks practice, the way he listens. If you correct him on something he doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

“Young guys are like that. They are really coachable because they don’t know any better.”

Fellow freshman Tony Stevens had his first two career catches against No. 10 LSU.

For Ole Miss, Conner’s 21 tackles are second among SEC freshmen. He had an interception on his first collegiate snap against Vanderbilt and has started all three games since.

Laremy Tunsil started at left tackle in the Texas game.

Auburn’s other top defensive line signees, ends Carl Lawson and Daniel, have both played in every game.

Both freshmen groups are dealing with their first college defeats. The Rebels fell to No. 1 Alabama while the Tigers lost to LSU two weeks ago before an open date.

Their maturity and resilience will be put to the test.

“One of the things about our program that I hope our kids see is our coaches just don’t blink,” Freeze said.

Text Only
  • CEO: Sterling staying on a 'disaster' for Clippers

    Coach Doc Rivers has said he'll resign from the Los Angeles Clippers if Donald Sterling remains owner, the team's interim CEO testified, saying such a move would be a "disaster" for the franchise.

    July 23, 2014

  • Survey finds sharp increase in teen use of HGH

    In a confidential 2013 survey of 3,705 high school students, 11 percent reported using synthetic HGH at least once — up from about 5 percent in the four preceding annual surveys.

    July 23, 2014

  • CEO: Clippers coach to quit if Sterling stays

    CEO Richard Parsons testified at a trial to determine whether Sterling's wife, Shelly, can sell the team for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as the NBA looks to force Donald Sterling from the league over racist statements.

    July 23, 2014

  • dunk.jpg Tedford, Potts take on the South

    While the North team has a lengthy winning streak in the basketball series, Tedford and Potts will face a tough battle against three players already committed to SEC schools on the South team.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arkansas State player earns conference honors

    Qushaun Lee led conference in tackles with 134 —the sixth most tackles in conference history and most by an Arkansas State player since 1991.

    July 22, 2014

  • Clippers' future on line as probate trial resumes

    The future of the Los Angeles Clippers is closer to decision as testimony resumes Monday in a probate trial over whether a deal negotiated by Donald Sterling's estranged wife to sell the team for $2 billion is authorized under a Sterling family trust.

    Sterling, the volatile owner of the team, agreed to the sale but then tried to revoke consent in spite of a signed letter instructing his wife Shelly Sterling to sell for the highest price she could get.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tuesday could be time to 'play ball' for Biloxi

    July 21, 2014

  • Manchester United adds Hernandez for U.S. tour

    Javier Hernandez played for Mexico in the World Cup, appearing in all four of El Tri's games and scoring against Croatia.

    July 20, 2014

  • AP sources: Bon Jovi part of group eyeing Bills

    Jon Bon Jovi previously expressed interest in owning an NFL franchise but never specifically mentioned the Bills.

    July 19, 2014

  • Former NFLers: Painkillers easy to get up to 2012

    The NFL is not aware of "any DEA subpoenas or investigations into club practices," spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email Friday.

    July 18, 2014



Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

     View Results
AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee