Auburn Football: Scouting the Ole Miss Defense and Special Teams

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Sep 27, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Memphis Tigers running back Doroland Dorceus (22) advances the ball against Mississippi Rebels linebacker Serderius Bryant (14) during the game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports


The Rebels were dealt a blow when playmaking linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche suffered a fractured ankle Saturday night against LSU. The undersized but speedy defender had 28 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack and three quarterback hurries in seven games, but has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

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Deterrian Shackelford is the linebacker corps’ leading tackler with 42. Shackelford wears the No. 38 because he won the Chucky Mullins Courage Award, becoming the only Rebel ever to win the honor twice. The middle linebacker has two sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss this season.

Serderius Bryant is an undersized linebacker at 5-foot-9 and 220 pounds, but he has been big for the Rebels for years. The senior has 34 tackles, including ten last week against LSU, and 3.5 tackles for a loss. With Nkemdiche out, he will be called on even more moving forward.

The Ole Miss linebackers are a group of overachievers. None have the first round talent that can be found on the defensive line or in the secondary, but they’ve performed above and beyond expectations this season. They are also the thinnest unit the Rebels have on defense, so the loss of Nkemdiche in the 4-2-5 base alignment is even bigger as a result.

Next: Ole Miss Defensive Backs