Earlier we analyzed UK nose tackle Matt Elam vs. Southern Miss center Cameron Tom. This post will dissect another line of scrimmage matchup featuring a pair of seniors who will be called upon to provide veteran leadership and production.
UK Defensive End, Courtney Miggins
Southern Miss Offensive Tackle, Wil Freeman
Wil Freeman was a 2/3-star prospect out of Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood, Mississippi. The true freshman defensive end saw immediate action by playing in 11 games in 2012. He went on to see action in 23 games including five starts over the next two seasons. An ankle injury in the Golden Eagle’s 2015 opening game against Mississippi State resulted in a redshirt. Freeman changed positions from defensive end to offensive tackle during spring practice. The redshirt senior is slated to start his first game as an offensive tackle against Kentucky.
Tale of the Tape: 6’6, 290-pounds
Starts: Six at defensive end, zero at offensive tackle
Accolades:Conference USA Academic Honor Roll
Courtney Miggins was a 3-star prospect coming out of Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, Georgia. Originally signing with Louisiana Lafayette, Miggins enrolled at Pearl River Community College where he was ranked as the nation’s eighth best junior college defensive tackle. He chose Kentucky over North Carolina State and Mississippi State. His junior season at Kentucky resulted in 12 tackles in 11 games.
Tale of the Tape: 6’5, 295-pounds
Accolades: None as of yet
What does all this mean?
An August enrollment hampered Courtney Miggins as he started his UK career without the benefit of a spring practice or fall camp. He sparingly played in a reserve role behind Farrington Huguenin a year ago. Now a full-time starter, Miggins has an ample opportunity to showcase his talents and become yet another Coach Jimmy Brumbaugh product to play professional football. The only question surrounding Miggins is where he will be aligned (DE or DT). Most likely that decision will be based on down-distance, situation, and scheme.
Wil Freeman is versatile football player. He’s played tight end, defensive end, and now offensive tackle during his five-year career at Southern Miss. Saturday will mark his first start on the offensive line. Reviews regarding the position change have been both positive and promising.
Miggins should have an advantage in this matchup. Freeman’s adjustment to his new position may take time as offensive tackle is an extremely difficult position to master. Those close to the UK program have indicated that Miggins has taken giant leaps in development after benefitting from an offseason strength and conditioning program. This one-on-one battle will have serious implications for both Kentucky and Southern Miss. Much like the Wildcats, USM’s offensive line strength and experience lie within its interior. Miggins and the Cats will try to expose Freeman’s inexperience as an avenue of opportunity to pressure QB Nick Mullens.
Keep an eye on this matchup as Freeman’s priority will be to protect the blindside of the Golden Eagles most prized possession. Miggins’ primary role will be to disrupt and pressure QB Nick Mullens. Just like all one-on-one situations; somethings gotta give.