By Robert Wilson
PEARL’S KNIGHT SHOWS VERSATILITY FOR OLE MISS
Pearl High alumnus Tylan Knight thought he had scored his first touchdown as an Ole Miss Rebel Saturday against Auburn.
Knight plays on the kickoff coverage team and with 5 minutes, 43 seconds to play, Ole Miss kicked off after taking a 28-27 lead. Knight took off down the field and saw the ball bounce into the end zone. Knight dove on the ball for an apparent score after he saw Auburn’s Shaun Shivers apparently touch the ball and then took several steps toward the end zone before watching Knight recover it.
The officials ruled that Shivers never touched the ball. It was ruled an Auburn touchback instead of an Ole Miss touchdown. Officials told Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin that there was no need to review the ball because the officials back at the league office said they didn’t see anything that indicated Auburn had touched the ball. The SEC announced earlier this week they should have reviewed the play.
“I didn’t actually hear whistle until I was in the end zone and had landed on the ball,” Knight said. “But just on kickoff you know, when you see the ball rolling like that – and I figured he had touched it just because the way he reacted – my instinct was go get the ball because I figured he touched it, that’s a free play right there.”
Auburn ended up winning 35-28.
Kiffin wasn’t happy after the game and went to Twitter to voice his opinion. His opinion is loud on twitter. Kiffin has 488,200 followers as of Thursday night, the most in the SEC. Second in the SEC is Mississippi State coach Mike Leach with 384,000. Kiffin’s tweets about the SEC officiating cost him $25,000. After he learned about the fine, he tweeted some more.
Ole Miss players like Kiffin’s tweets, including Knight. They like his personality.
“I just feel like that just goes to show how far he goes to have our back,” Knight said. “That he’s really for us. He has our back. That was just the perfect example to show he’s really behind us.
“We take notice of what he says. He’s a trip. He’s hilarious. But he wants nothing, but the best for us.”
The 5-foot-7, 180-pound Knight has also played running back and was moved to defensive back last week to help a depleted secondary. He has five runs for 17 yards and two catches for 9 yards this season. Knight had four tackles against Auburn, including one where he tackled the punter for a 25-yard loss in the third quarter. He had one tackle against Arkansas.
“I really had a pretty good understanding (of the defense going into the game),” Knight said. “I kind of spent a lot of time in the film room this past week just to be prepared to be in the right position to make the play. Watching film helped me a lot this week.”
Knight, a junior, has played in all 29 games during his Ole Miss career and is one of the most versatile players on the team.
While at Pearl, Knight led the Pirates to a 16-0 record and the Class 6A state championship as a senior. He had 2,742 all-purpose yards and 25 TDs in his career and made 240 tackles in his last two years. Knight was the MVP of the 2017 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game, a 42-7 win for Mississippi.
Knight is listed as a defensive back this week. Ole Miss visits Vanderbilt at 3 p.m. on the SEC Network.
“I’m just here to play wherever they need me to play,” Knight said.
CALLAWAY ALUMNUS ODOM HELPS MSU’S DEFENSE
Callaway High alumnus Aaron Odom, a 6-3, 275-pound junior defensive tackle, could make a big play for the Mississippi State defense Saturday when the Bulldogs take on No. 2 ranked Alabama (6 p.m. on the ESPN).
Odom (No. 17) is a backup defensive lineman, but could see more playing time Saturday after several defensive players have entered the transfer portal. Odom has played in all four games with seven tackles, including one tackle for loss, this season. Odom is a part of MSU’s defense, which is ranked No. 1 in the SEC. Alabama is the No. 1 ranked offense in the SEC. Odom could help bottle up the middle and slow down Alabama’s running attack, led by senior Najee Harris, one of the top running backs in the country. Odom is listed behind senior Marquiss Spencer as the second-team defensive tackle on the depth chart this week.
Odom played in three games last year as a sophomore and two games as a redshirt freshman.
Odom was a first-team Parade All-American, the only Mississippian to make first team, as a senior at Callaway and played for Darius Brown. He had 166 tackles, 28 for losses, and 25 sacks, as a senior. Odom played in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game.
MISSISSPPIAN DEAN BIG PART OF GEORGIA’S DEFENSE
Nakobe Dean, a 6-foot, 220-pound sophomore from Horn Lake, is important player on No. 5 Georgia’s defense. Dean, a starting inside linebacker (No. 17), is the Bulldogs’ third leading tackler with 20 stops. He had a team-high seven tackles against Arkansas.
Dean was the co-winner of the Defensive Newcomer of the Year award last season. He played in all 14 games and had 25 tackles, a team-high six against Kentucky.
Dean was named by the National Football Foundation as a member of its inaugural “Team of Distinction,” recognizing high school scholar-athletes for their combination of athletic and academic performances, as well as service to their communities.
Dean was named the 2018 High School Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top high school linebacker and played in the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game. He was the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and a USA Today All-USA first team selection. He was ranked as the No. 14 overall prospect in the country by 247 Sports. He played for Brad Boyette at Horn Lake. Dean had 175 tackles, 26 for loss and seven sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles and scored nine touchdowns as a running back as a senior. He also played baseball, basketball and track and field at Horn Lake. Dean’s brother, Nikolas, played tight end at Ole Miss.