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UM football position breakdown: Special teams

 

At the kicker position, Ole Miss returns last year’s starter in junior Bryson Rose, as well as backup kicker Andrew Ritter who is also a junior.

Rose impressed in 2010, as he made 16 of the 18 field goals he attempted for an 88.9 percent field goal percentage. That field-goal accuracy tied him for ninth nationally and put him first in the Southeastern Conference. Rose also made 43 of the 44 PAT’s that attempted on the season.

In last year’s 43-21 win over Louisiana, he kicked five field goals and connected on all four extra point attempts to score 19 points, the second most points for a kicker in Ole Miss history.

Ritter is listed as the starter at the kick-off specialist position coming out of spring practice, but senior David Hankins is competing for the job as well, so this will be a competition to keep an eye on during fall practice.

Ole Miss struggled to find consistency in this area in 2010, and must make an improvement moving forward. The Rebels were tied for fourth in the SEC with 13 touchbacks, but were also tied for second with four kickoffs out of bounds.

At punter, junior Tyler Campbell returns as he looks to build on his exceptional 2010 season that saw him lead the nation in punting as he averaged 46.4 yards per punt. Campbell worked hard this spring on improving the amount of hang time he gets on his punts and also on his pooch punting. 

If those two things improve, Campbell will have another fantastic season for the Rebels.

Redshirt freshman Will Denny and sophomore Jacob Hickman are competing to win the starting job at the long snapper position, vacated by Wesley Phillips, who graduated after last season.

Ole Miss has a couple of options when it comes to returning kickoffs, and one of the main players who will contribute there is sophomore running back Jeff Scott. 

One of the fastest players on the team, Scott 27.7 yards per kickoff return last season for Ole Miss. 

Senior wide receiver Derrick Herman averaged 18.5 yards per return and will certainly be back returning some kicks as well.

The Rebels went out and signed a true return specialist in the 2011 signing class in Philander Moore. Moore transferred from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, where Cam Newton played his junior-college ball.

 As a redshirt freshman for Blinn, Moore accumulated over 800 return yards between kicks and punts and returned six kicks for touchdowns.

Moore impressed during the spring with his ability to catch punts and he’s in contention for the job, listed with Scott at the top of the depth chart at punt returner after the spring. Herman and sophomore wide receiver Korvic Neat are two other players who could also help Ole Miss at this position.