Predicting Post-Spring Depth Chart For Ole Miss Defense

With spring ball in the rearview, now is the perfect time to predict the post-spring depth chart for the Ole Miss Rebels.
Ole Miss defensive coordinator Pete Golding signals during football practice in Oxford, Miss. on
Ole Miss defensive coordinator Pete Golding signals during football practice in Oxford, Miss. on / Bruce Newman/Special to Clarion Ledger /
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OXFORD, Miss. – Spring practices are over, and while there still may be one or two more transfers rolling in, the Ole Miss Rebels’ roster is pretty much set for the 2024 college football season. Lane Kiffin and his staff bolstered an already talented roster with the No. 3 transfer portal class and the No. 20 signing class in the nation, but who is cracking the starting lineup?

I recently revealed my post-spring depth chart for the Ole Miss offense, and you can find my predictions for the Rebels’ defense below.

Florida Gators defensive end Princely Umanmielen (1) sacks Florida State Seminoles quarterback Tate
Florida Gators defensive end Princely Umanmielen (1) sacks Florida State Seminoles quarterback Tate / Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun / USA

Defensive Ends

Starters: Princely Umanmielen SR/TR; Jared Ivey SR/TR

Backups: Kam Franklin FR; Chamberlain Campbell RS FR

Nose Tackle

Starter: Walter Nolen JR/TR

Backup: Zxavian Harris JR

Defensive Tackle

Starter: JJ Pegues SR/TR

Backup: Akelo Stone

Key Defensive Line Depth: Deejay Holmes Jr. RS FR; Cam Clark FR

Getting bigger along the defensive line was a priority for the Rebels this offseason, and they more than accomplished that goal. The Rebels landed the best defensive lineman in the portal this offseason in Walter Nolen, and he will be an immediate impact starter wherever he lines up. The 6-4, 345-pound lineman has the size to play nose tackle, but he is also athletic enough to move around the defensive line.

Princely Umanmielen will be coming off the edge for Ole Miss in 2024 after spending the last four seasons with Florida. The Manor, Tex., native struggled with consistency in Gainsville but he was still productive, as he notched 98 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, and 14.5 sacks in his time with the Gators. Ole Miss seniors JJ Pegues and Jared Ivey will join Nolen and Umanmielen to form one of the more formidable defensive lines in not just the SEC, but the entire country.


Starters: Suntarine Perkins SO; Chris Paul Jr. JR/TR

Backups: TJ Dudley SO; Khari Coleman SR

Key Depth: Raymond Collins JR/TR; Tyler Banks JR

Linebacker was one of the positions that did not get a ton of love this offseason. The Rebels added former Arkansas linebacker Chris Paul Jr., but he was the only big addition to the group. Paul should be a day-one starter in this defense, and I expect former five-star recruit Suntarine Perkins to be starting right next to him. There are a ton of defensive players fans need to look out for in 2024, but Perkins needs to be at the top of that list. The Raleigh, Miss., native did not get ample time to show off his abilities in 2023, but he gave us a teaser of things to come when he took over versus Alabama in Week 4, recording five tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks.


Starters: Isaiah Hamilton SR/TR; Trey Amos SR/TR

Backups: Brandon Turnage SR/TR; Chris Graves SO

Key Depth: Richard O’Bryant JR; AJ Brown SO; Cedrick Beavers JR/TR

Strong Safety

Starter: Trey Washington SR

Backup: Key Lawrence SR/TR

Free Safety

Starter: John Saunders Jr. SR/TR

Backup: Yam Banks SR/TR

Key Safety Depth: Andy Jaffe FR; Anthony Robinson III FR; Travaris Banks FR; Jadon Canady RS JR; Daniel Demery RS FR

Nickel Back

Starter: Brandon Turnage SR/TR

Backup: Louis Moore SR/TR

The Ole Miss secondary is full of new faces in 2024, but two familiar names will continue to hold down the safety positions for the Rebels. John Saunders Jr. will be at free safety again, while his partner in crime, Trey Washington, will patrol the secondary from the strong safety position. Washington led the Rebels in tackles in 2023 (83), and both he and Saunders led the team in interceptions with three apiece.

The Rebels lost both of their starting cornerbacks following the 2023 season but found more than capable replacements via the NCAA Transfer Portal. I predict former Alabama cornerback Trey Amos to immediately have a starting role, and that former Houston cornerback Isaiah Hamilton will be the guy opposite him. Oxford native and former Tennessee cornerback Brandon Turnage should find a role at the nickel back spot due to his versatility.

Ben King