Happy at Ole Miss, Greg Little ‘focused on the team’ amid NFL Draft buzz

Published 6:26 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Greg Little heard all the rumors. One in particular left Ole Miss’ All-American offensive lineman amused.

“I was never in Auburn,” Little said. “I don’t know how that one came.”

Contrary to popular belief, Little said he never thought about transferring once the final sanctions were handed down in Ole Miss’ NCAA infractions case in December, which included another bowl ban for next season. He’s glad all the outside speculation is over.

Email newsletter signup

“That’s in the past. We can focus on football,” Little said. “We always focus on football because with the NCAA, we couldn’t determine what happened with that. Our thing was to focus on football and control what we can control.”

Little is going through what will likely be his final spring in Oxford. The former five-star signee is already being projected as a top-10 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and attended an educational symposium for future potential first-rounders at the NFL scouting combine over the weekend with teammate A.J. Brown.

That kind of chatter is hard to ignore, but Little said he’ll worry about his future beyond next fall at the appropriate time.

“I can’t lie and say I haven’t (thought about the NFL), but right now I’m really focused on the team, the offensive line, getting better as a person, getting better as a player and getting everybody around me better,” Little said. “After the season, when that time comes, that time comes.”

Little is arguably the most talented piece of an experienced offensive line that returns four starters from last season. He started every game at left tackle a season ago after taking over as a full-time starter midway through his freshman season.

Little’s naturally long reach and light feet on a 6-foot-6 frame are useful in protecting quarterback Jordan Ta’amu’s blind side, but shedding weight has also helped improve his stamina and agility. In the two years since signing with Ole Miss as a consensus top-5 national recruit, Little has gone from 340 pounds to 320.

“I think it’s a learning process of getting your body to the most efficient weight that you can, and I think he’s found what he’s comfortable with,” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said. “He came in maybe a little heavy then lost it all. (Strength) coach (Paul) Jackson has done a good job of building it back up, so he’s got good weight on right now. I think he’s right where he needs to be.”

Little said he wants to add more strength to his game this spring, but his biggest focus is accepting Luke’s challenge of morphing into a leader — a task Little is embracing.

“Encouraging guys to be better than they are right now,” Little said. “Everybody gets complacent at times. I’m just here to push everybody to be the best they can be.”

Next-level experience

Little and Brown were among a select group of underclassmen selected by the NFL to attend the three-day Elite Student-Athlete Symposium in which Little said they “got a lot of information” about how to navigate the responsibilities of being a future pro, including finances and the dos and don’ts of social media.

“It’s about off the field,” Little said. “Agents, ways to keep your money, ways to save your money and spend your money. Just life stuff. Being an adult and being a man at the next level.”

Little said the group got to watch this year’s crop of draft-eligible players go through on-field workouts at the combine and was somewhat surprised by the environment he’ll likely be a part of in the future.

“It was a relaxed workout. Everybody is calm,” Little said. “All the guys were cheering each other on. It was competitive. Everybody was working hard, so it was fun to watch.”