Backup players filling in for absent starters are always key for a successful season. For Ole Miss, it is hard to find a more important backup than freshman Sean Rawlings.
But if not for a high school injury, Rawlings might not even be playing at Ole Miss. He broke his left foot during his junior season, which prevented Rawlings from playing basketball. So instead of losing weight by running up and down the court, Rawlings spent all his time in the weight room.
Rawlings has started both games this year at right tackle and starting right tackle Fahn Cooper has moved to left tackle, as Ole Miss continues to withhold All-American tackle Laremy Tunsil from play due to an ongoing NCAA investigation into his activity with agents and accepting impermissible gifts.
It looks like Rawlings will get a few more starts as well, given the latest reports that Tunsil received a loaned vehicle from Cannon Motors in Oxford, Miss., and reportedly kept the car for longer than expected before returning it.
Through two games, the freshman is taking full advantage of his unexpected playing time.
“Sean has done solid work,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said to Daniel Paulling of the Clarion-Ledger.
But that was against UT-Martin and Fresno State. Rawlings will face a true test against Alabama this Saturday. He is up for the challenge.
“The physicality, it’s going to turn up, so I’m going to have to turn up with it,” Rawlings told Paulling “They’re (Alabama) big and strong and kind of unlike any other SEC line. They use that to their advantage. They’ve got good rushers off the edge on their third-and-long packages.
“First SEC games, it’s definitely going to be a matchup. Going out to Bryant-Denny [Stadium], nothing but excitement. It’s going to be fun.”
— Daniel Paulling (@DanielPaulling) September 17, 2015