Ole Miss preparing freshman Charles Wiley to play ‘when he can’

Published 8:34 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Injuries along Ole Miss’ defensive line have made for an interesting development with one of the Rebels’ newcomers.

Freshman defensive end Charles Wiley is getting prepared to play this season in case Ole Miss needs him, defensive line coach Chris Kiffin said Tuesday. Wiley was arrested on a domestic violence charge in July and subsequently suspended from all team activities as the legal process played out, though head coach Hugh Freeze allowed Wiley to return to practice during fall camp after Freeze said the facts of the case at that point allowed for it.

Wiley, who was scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 24, hasn’t been allowed to play.

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Asked Tuesday if Wiley’s legal situation has been cleared up, Kiffin said he wasn’t sure. Freeze is scheduled to speak with the media Wednesday.

“I don’t know for sure as far as that goes,” Kiffin said. “I’m just getting him prepared to play when he can.”

Wiley and a female, Legend Fultz, were both taken in and charged with domestic violence simple assault on July 25 after Oxford police responded to a 911 call about a disturbance at 709 McClarty Road, according to an incident report obtained by the EAGLE two days after the arrests. Cornerback Ken Webster and defensive end Victor Evans were also at the residence when police arrived, but no other details were listed in the report.

The Rebels’ depth at the position has taken a hit with Evans missing last week’s game against Alabama with a concussion and Fadol Brown (offseason foot surgery) possibly lost for the season. A consensus four-star recruit, the 6-foot-2, 253-pound Wiley signed with Ole Miss out of Stockbridge High in Georgia.

Evans returns

Evans is on track to return Saturday against Georgia (11 a.m., ESPN), going through practice Tuesday.

“He was back out there at practice today hitting,” Kiffin said. “He looks healthy. Excited to get him back.”

Often praised by coaches as one of the most consistent performers on defense throughout fall camp, Evans, a third-year sophomore, earned a spot on the two-deep as Marquis Haynes’ primary backup at weakside end. Evans had three tackles and a sack against Wofford before a blow to the head forced him to leave the game.

Garrald McDowell and even Breeland Speaks at times will help with depth behind Haynes and John Youngblood with Brown out.

“It’s going to be a collective effort,” Kiffin said. “It always is.”

Junior running back Eugene Brazley (neck) did not practice during the viewing periods open to the media Tuesday.

Settling in

Two of Van Jefferson’s first three college games have come against No. 13 Florida State and top-ranked Alabama, yet it was his own jitters that Ole Miss’ redshirt freshman receiver was most worried about.

“I had to get some of the butterflies and some of that stuff out,” Jefferson said. “Kind of nervous a little bit playing that first game, but as a I progressed and kept going on, I got comfortable with it.”

If he’s had any nerves, it’s been hard to tell. Jefferson, who emerged as the top option in the slot back in the spring, caught his first touchdown against the Seminoles and had his most productive game yet against Alabama with six catches for 91 yards.

“That got me comfortable a little bit,” Jefferson said. “Now I’m ready to just get comfortable with the offense. Playing well right now.”