Three observations from Ole Miss football practice, including what standout freshman is doing

Mississippi Clarion-Ledger
OXFORD — Less than four weeks separate Ole Miss football from its season opener against Mercer.
The Rebels haven't yet strapped up their pads at preseason practice, but the answers to some key offseason questions are beginning to emerge already.
Ole Miss has allowed the media to view each practice in its entirety. Here are three takeaways from those viewings.
1. Good luck keeping freshman wideout Ayden Williams off the field
Coach Lane Kiffin didn't want to heap praise on his true freshman receiver Ayden Williams on Monday, saying he preferred to allow the media to supply the "rat poison."
Happy to oblige, Lane.
Williams should have a significant role this fall. He's already tormenting the defensive backs at practice with regularity and has come down with a handful of highlight reel catches, too. His physical gifts are clearly a cut above.
"You guys see what I see," Kiffin said. "Still got a lot of work to do."
The playing time that comes Williams' way this fall will be earned, not given. There is no shortage of talent in that group of Rebels wideouts. Louisiana Tech transfer Tre Harris looks great. Jordan Watkins looks lively, and we haven't seen UTSA transfer Zakhari Franklin do much of anything yet as he recovers from injury.
Still, it's hard to imagine a world where Williams isn't an asset — and quickly.
"Ayden is a dog," fellow wideout Jalen Knox said Monday. "Ayden is going to be good for a very long time. I'm very happy to have him on this team."
2. Front-runners clear in two key Ole Miss football position battles
Kiffin has not been willing to offer any true insight into how he views the quarterback depth chart except to say that he would prefer to have a starter determined before the beginning of the season, unlike last year.
Keeping with the pattern from spring practice, incumbent starter Jaxson Dart has received the majority of the first-team snaps. As previously mentioned, the Rebels are not yet in full pads, but his early returns have been positive.
Oklahoma State transfer Spencer Sanders has been running largely with the second unit. He has made a couple of flashy throws, too.
"Spencer's really coming along, and Dart looks like a whole new quarterback this year," Knox said.
At tight end, Memphis transfer Caden Prieskorn appears to have the lead over Michael Trigg, who is returning for his second season at Ole Miss after transferring from USC.
Prieskorn caught 48 passes for 602 yards and seven touchdowns on his way to being named a Mackey Award semifinalist last season with the Tigers.
"Prieskorn has fit in really well," Kiffin said. "The players put him on the leadership committee already after not being here very long. It says a lot. So, he's extremely mature. We're excited about him. Trigg has done some good things. We're still pushing him forward. It's still early in camp."
3. More newcomers set to affect depth chart for Lane Kiffin
A symptom of college football's pseudo-professionalization in the past few years is increased roster turnover at unconventional times of the season.
Ole Miss has made three transfer portal additions in the past 10 days: Clemson linebacker TJ Dudley, Miami corner Chris Graves Jr. and Oregon State running back Jam Griffin.
Griffin will be immediately eligible as a grad transfer, while the Rebels will be hoping for waivers for Dudley and Graves.
If it all works out, those three appear set to make their mark on the hierarchy at their respective positions.
Griffin's role at running back is of particular interest. Behind sophomore phenom Quinshon Judkins, the depth chart there seems a bit up for grabs. Ulysses Bentley IV, Kedrick Reescano and Matt Jones all have seen second-team snaps. Griffin's addition will only complicate matters. That's a good problem for the Rebels.

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