It’s been a rather sleepy set of league-wide meetings for the SEC in their annual retreat in Destin, Florida but the conference did release some rather notable changes to their rules on Friday that will be a net positive for several players. Most notably, that includes transfers who will no longer have to sit out a season when moving from one conference school to another.
At the heart of the matter is Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy, who announced his transfer out of Tuscaloosa last month but has been seemingly in limbo awaiting a change to the SEC’s rules so that he could play immediately at either Tennessee or Auburn. Naturally, Nick Saban is not super happy at that possibility and has been upholding the league rules to block Kennedy from doing just that but Friday’s decision means it’s now out of the coach’s hands.
Also affected by the change should be former Ole Miss wideout Van Jefferson. He made the move to Florida following NCAA sanctions being announced on the Rebels but was similarly stuck in a bit of limbo trying to be eligible right away for the Gators.
The rules changes announced by the SEC are really just getting ahead of broader changes coming to the NCAA level in the coming months. Many coaches have been pushing back against a number of these ideas but it’s pretty clear by the vote coming out Destin that they’re going to be on the losing end of this battle.
That’s good news for players everywhere as they get a bit more freedom to pick where they want to play in the future.
Earlier this month, thanks to NCAA sanctions, Ole Miss lost a quarterback to a Big Ten team. Just a couple of days until the early signing period kicks off, they’ve now lost one of his targets to another SEC program.
Redshirt sophomore Van Jefferson was an official visitor to Florida this past weekend. Monday night on his Twitter account, the wide receiver indicated that he would be transferring to UF and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Gators.
Normally, Jefferson would be forced to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules; however, the sanctions levied on the Rebels football program could clear the way for a waiver that would allow him to play this coming season.
This past season, Jefferson was third on the Rebels in receptions with 42 and fourth with 456 receiving yards. For his career, the Tennessee native has totaled 91 catches for 999 yards and four touchdowns.
A four-star member of Ole Miss’ 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson was the No. 11 receiver in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in his home state; and the No. 106 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.
In the final giant matchup of the greatest opening weekend in college football history, Ole Miss struck first with a quick touchdown drive led by quarterback Chad Kelly, but the major development in the first few minutes of the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando is the awful leg injury suffered by Ole Miss defensive back Ken Webster.
I’ll do you the courtesy of skipping any Vines or GIFs or any other visual of the injury. Let’s just say, his left leg is not supposed to bend that way. ESPN aired the replay of the injury once, and that was more than enough for most of the viewing audience. ESPN went to commercial as Webster was attended to on the field and when they came back from commercial there was a shot of Webster in agony and emotional disbelief that reminds you just how human these star athletes can be. At the same time, he was being carted off and dealing with the reality of the injury, Webster maintained his veteran role on the Ole Miss defense and yelled instructions or motivation to his teammates about to resume playing.
We’ll wait for more information on the injury, but it is very safe assumption to suggest he is going to be missing some considerable playing time as a result.
Ole Miss moved quickly down the field on the opening possession of the game, driving 75 yards on six plays. The key plays were a 36-yard pass from Kelly to Evan Engram, which was followed a few plays later by a penalty on Florida State’s Derwin James for unnecessary roughness, a late hit on Van Jefferson following a three-yard loss on a pass play that took the receiver to his knee. Kelly completed a short touchdown pass to Damore'ea Stringfellow to cap the touchdown drive.
Ole Miss is leading Florida State, 7-0, midway through the first quarter.