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LOOK: Ole Miss athletes to now-also graduates; see Rebels take the walk

Ben Garrettby:Ben Garrett05/11/24


The first 15 students graduated from Ole Miss in 1851. 

Over 5,000 took the walk Saturday — some 175 years later. A good many also star for the Rebels’ athletics teams. Among the footballers were defensive tackle JJ Pegues, wide receiver Tre Harris, running back Ulysses Bentley, IV, and offensive lineman Micah Pettus. 

That quartet, and no shortage of additional veterans, opted to return to Ole Miss in the off-season rather than enter the NFL Draft. Another to do so was third-year starting quarterback Jaxson Dart. 

Lane Kiffin’s Rebels won a program-record 11 games last season and have been ranked inside the Top 10 of Top 25 polls in each of the last three. They’ll vie for a national championship in the expanded College Football Playoff in 2024.

“I think it’s super cool that a lot of us are coming back,” defensive end/tackle Jared Ivey said. Ivey was one of the returnees as well. He hosts a podcast for the Ole Miss Spirit, the ‘Ivey League,’ powered by RiverLand Roofing.

“I know we all came back with one thing on our mind: (National championship) or bust.”

New episodes of the ‘Ivey League’ release weekly. Ivey was interviewing Kiffin, who’s entering his fifth season leading the Rebels.

“It’s going to be an awesome run,” Kiffin said in response.

Jaemyn Brakefield and Marquesha Davis were among the Ole Miss basketball players who donned caps and gowns.

Brakefield, a one-time transfer from Duke, announced in April he was returning for a fourth Ole Miss season. It’ll be his last in college. He averaged 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists as the Rebels won 20 games but missed the postseason in 2023-24.

Davis in April was drafted by the New York Liberty with the No. 11 overall selection in the 2024 WNBA Draft. She’s the seventh Rebel draftee in school history and fifth first-rounder.

“I would say what excites me the most about coming into this Liberty team is learning from the vets that are there and just going in and continuing to grow,” Davis said. Davis led the 24-9 Rebels to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. The Rebels also won a school-record 12 SEC games.  

“Something that stood out to me was them looking for a two-way player, and me being just that.”

The included photos were provided by Ole Miss Athletics.

Caden Prieskorn (Ole Miss football)

Matt Jones (Ole Miss football)

Lukas Engelhardt and Nikola Slavic (Ole Miss men’s tennis)

Elauna Eaton (Ole Miss women’s basketball)

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