Ole Miss Kicks Off Secret Roster Deletion Season

Kyle Veazey of the JACKSON CLARION-LEDGER has among the most thankless, difficult jobs in college football beat writing. Veazey covers Ole Miss, which under head coach Houston Nutt has turned laundering scholarships into high art.

Houston Nutt's secret roster deletion season

(Exacly one of seven departing players were on 2010 final two-deep)

For all the recent hoo-hah about Nick Saban’s oversigning practices at Alabama, Nutt’s reputation for secretly running off underperforming scholarship players is equally notorious. In 2009, with 64 scholarship players already on the Ole Miss roser, Nutt signed 38 players to letters of intent. (Schools are only allowed to have 85 players on scholarship.)

So Nutt mostly ran off 17 then-current scholarship players from the 2008 team to make room for the new recruits.

Bruce Feldman Tweets about 2009 Ole Miss 38-signee recruiting class

Of those 2009 Ole Miss recruits, ESPN’s Bruce Feldman Tweeted this wek:

Two yrs ago, Houston Nutt announced a 38-man signing class: 17 of em are not currently on the roster: 9 were 4-stars or better, 3 remain.

That brings us to Veazey’s inevitable story this week about the ever-changing state of Nutt’s 2011 roster - and the sudden, somewhat mysterious deletions from it since signing day.

Excerpts of Veazey’s roster report below are in italic followed by my quickie analysis of the players who - in the majority of cases - were cast adrift by Ole Miss:

Veazey: “In the Ole Miss notebook in Wednesday’s Clarion-Ledger, you probably read the lead note about the impending transfer of WR/KR Jesse Grandy. That’s somewhat significant news, considering how valuable he was as a freshman and the depth at wide receiver.

Grandy: Did make an impact on special teams as kick returner, but was backup flanker on the Rebels’ two-deep for the final game of last season. More recently, Ole Miss signed what Rivals ranked as the top wide receiver recruiting class in the SEC. With incoming talent, wasn’t likely to see field as receiver.

Veazey: “There are a couple of other names mentioned: Dele Junaid and Jared Mitchell. Both were scholarship players who are not on this roster that the school distributed Tuesday night, shortly after the news of Grandy’s departure broke.

Junaid: After two seasons, Junaid had barely seen the field and wasn’t listed on the final 2010 two-deep despite injuries at his position last season.

Mitchell:  Not on two-deep and was a special teams player. Had little-to-no future chance to see time as position player.

Veazey: “… Here are four more scholarship players from last year who were missing, as we noted early Wednesday afternoon on Twitter: RB Martez Eastland, OL Terrance Hackney, DE Lekenwic Haynes and DL Alan-Michael Thomas.

Eastland: Not on 2010 two-deep, played sparingly. Originally a running back, he finished the season at well over 250 pounds so coaches asked him to consider a position change to defensive line. Instead, Eastland will transfer. Also reportedly had attitude problem.

Hackney: Redshirt freshman. Mired behind better players at both offensive guard positions, though may have seen some playing time eventually.

Haynes: Recruited as a safety, ended up a third string defensive end who played sparingly.

Thomas:  Not listed on defensive line three-deep.

Now for the best part: Ole Miss signed 27 players in its 2011 recruiting class but had only 15 players exhaust their eligibility in 2010.

The purge has only just begun!

Note to self: Never ask Houston Nutt to hepp me.

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