Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2007
Strong cleared to play Rebel football this fall
By Myra Bean
There was a collective sigh of relief around the state for Ole Miss and Chris Strong supporters Wednesday afternoon.
The word came down that Strong had been deemed eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse to play football with the Rebels this fall.
There is still no word on the eligibility of Jerrell Powe, who is also waiting to be cleared to play for the Rebels.
Strong, 6’3”, 265 pounds, is a former South Panola Tiger who graduated this past spring.
He owns four state championship rings, having played on the varsity team his freshman year.
He did not practice with the Rebels the first few days of the fall practice season, but started a few days later.
The NCAA had said he could practice 14 days with the Rebels.
Strong has been practicing with the Rebels first team defense since August 9 at the middle linebacker position.
“We’re excited about Chris representing the state of Mississippi at Ole Miss,” said Rebel head coach Ed Orgeron. “Although he has things to learn while getting used to our system, Chris is going to be an excellent player at Ole Miss.”
Orgeron had believed all along Strong would become eligible to play and be on the Rebel defense.
When the news came down, Ole Miss sent out media releases and the news was announced over the intercom at South Panola High School.
Strong was considered the No. 1 prep player of 2006 and was selected Mr. Football by The Clarion-Ledger.
In the preseason of his senior year at South Panola, he was one of the Dandy Dozen players of the state.
In his junior and senior years, he was the named the defensive player of the year and first team All-State. He was a Parade All-American and rated the No. 3 defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com.
Last January, Strong played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Ole Miss opens the season, Saturday, September 1 at Memphis at 2:30 p.m.