Ole Miss quarterback Jason Pellerin, one of Rebels’ ‘better 22 players,’ to rep at tight end

Published 5:37 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2017

 With Shea Patterson entrenched as Ole Miss’ starting quarterback, Jason Pellerin could be moving to another position.

The Rebels will at least experiment with it this spring.

Head coach Hugh Freeze said the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Pellerin will take reps at quarterback and tight end during Ole Miss’ 15 practices, the first of which was held Tuesday. Pellerin was Chad Kelly’s backup last season before Freeze elected to pull the redshirt off Patterson for the final three games when Kelly tore his ACL, but Freeze said Pellerin is too good of an athlete to be watching from the sideline.

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“He is one of our better 22 players, and I think he needs to be on the field,” Freeze said. “That’s my goal is to find a spot for him to play.”

Pellerin, an option quarterback at New Iberia (Louisiana) Catholic before coming to Ole Miss, was used primarily as a runner last season, often coming on in short-yardage situations in the red zone — a role he kept as Patterson’s backup late in the season. He ran 29 times for 90 yards and three scores while attempting just 22 passes with a pair of touchdowns and three interceptions.

Ole Miss could also use the help at tight end with All-American Evan Engram out of eligibility. Redshirt freshman Jacob Mathis will miss the spring with a broken foot, leaving sophomore Octavious Cooley and redshirt freshman Gabe Angel as the only scholarship players available at the position.

But the Rebels would have to feel confident enough in junior college transfer Jordan Ta’amu before Freeze could think about moving Pellerin permanently. Ta’amu, who accounted for 3,342 yards of offense last season at New Mexico Military Institute, is the only other scholarship quarterback on the roster.

“It does hinge some on feeling like you have the quarterback spot taken care of, but there’s a lot of things you can do with him on the field whether it’s moving him from quarterback to tight end on a given play,” Freeze said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal kid. Got to find a way for him to get on the field.”