Former Ole Miss Rebel Breeland Speaks Wins Defensive Player of the Year in UFL

Former Ole Miss Rebel Breeland Speaks was named Defensive Player of the Year for the 2024 season in the UFL.
Jan 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Mississippi Rebels defensive tackle Breeland Speaks (9) celebrates his fumble recovery in the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2016 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Mississippi Rebels defensive tackle Breeland Speaks (9) celebrates his fumble recovery in the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2016 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports / Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
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While every player's goal is to play in the NFL and find ways to build a career at the highest level of professional football, for most, this winds up not being the case.

Breeland Speaks was a big-time player for Ole Miss during the Hugh Freeze and Matt Luke eras. Speaks was a second round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs and looked to be on his way in his NFL career, but he was released by the Chiefs following the 2019 season.

Speaks bounced around multiple practice squads before landing with the Michigan Panthers prior to the 2024 season. Speaks was phenomenal for the Panthers this season and was named the UFL's Defensive Player of the Year.

Speaks had nine sacks this season which led the UFL and accumulated 53 total tackles. Speaks damaged QBs in the UFL including former Rebel signal caller and teammate Jordan Ta'amu.

While with the Rebels, Speaks put up 127 total tackles across three seasons, including 15 TFLs and nine sacks. His most productive campaign came in 2017 where he registered 67 tackles (27 solo), eight TFLs and seven sacks.

The Michigan Panthers face the Birmingham Stallions in the UFL Conference Championship game on Saturday, a chance to play in the first-ever championship game after the two leagues merged before this spring season. The game will take place at Protective Stadium in Birmingham and is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT on ABC.


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Jackson Harris

JACKSON HARRIS

Harris, a native of Dallas, Texas, is a staff writer at The Grove Report, specializing in football and baseball coverage of the Ole Miss Rebels.