Florida Gators vs. Ole Miss: Rebels Name Starting QB, Per Report
A former Florida commit will start against the Gators in the 2020 season-opener.
The Ole Miss Rebels intend to start redshirt sophomore Matt Corral against the Gators tomorrow, according to a report from Matt Zenitz of AL.com. Corral and true sophomore John Rhys Plumlee competed for the starting quarterback throughout Lane Kiffin's first fall camp as Ole Miss' head coach, and according to Zenitz's report, Plumlee is expected to play as well.
Corral pledged to Florida in July 2017 under head coach Jim McElwain but flipped to Ole Miss that December, shortly after current Gators' head coach Dan Mullen's hiring. Mullen flipped quarterback Emory Jones from Ohio State less than a week later.
Making 14 career appearances, including four starts, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Corral has completed 60.5% of his 200 passing attempts for 1,601 yards, eight touchdowns, and four interceptions. He's also added 219 yards on 27 rushing attempts (4.8 yards per rush) and a touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus, which removes sacks from quarterback rushing statistics.
While Corral is an athletic quarterback himself, Plumlee offers unique speed and elusiveness for the position. As a true freshman, Plumlee compiled 1,067 yards on 130 attempts (7.3 yards per rush), 12 touchdowns, and 29 rushes of 10+ yards in nine games, per PFF. Through the air, the 6-foot, 200-pound signal-caller completed 52.9% of his 150 passes for 910 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions a year ago.
Plumlee started eight games as a true freshman, his first coming against a challenging Alabama defense while Corral suffered from an injury. In the Rebels' 31-59 loss to the Crimson Tide, Plumlee completed 10-of-28 passes (35.7%) for 141 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, while rushing 21 times for 113 yards (4.5 yards per rush) and a touchdown (PFF).
Expect Kiffin to utilize both against the Gators defense, which returns plenty of talent but will be tested at positions with new starters. Ventrell Miller steps in for David Reese II, a three-year starter at middle linebacker. C.J. McWilliams also steps in at STAR nickel cornerback, after missing the entire 2019 season with a torn Achilles. These two players will be key in defending the short-to-intermediate passing game when Corral is taking snaps, and stopping Plumlee in the run game.