Under the leadership of new defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre, the Rebels are switching from a 4-2-5 defense to a base 3-4 unit heading into the 2019 season. The change is a much-needed one in Oxford following several poor defensive seasons from Ole Miss but a 3-4 defense is going to be tough to run effectively without solid linebacking play.

Just days after Kevontae Ruggs decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal, linebacker Josh Clarke will also be leaving the program this offseason. This news was first reported by Parrish Alford of The Daily Journal. Both players had been suspended during the spring by Matt Luke for unspecified violations of team rule and neither one is listed on the team’s 2019 online roster.

While Ruggs appeared in 11 games for the Rebels last season, Clarke appeared in only four. A native of New Orleans, Clarke was a three-star member of Ole Miss’ 2017 signing period.

In the latest recruiting cycle, Ole Miss signed three linebackers: Ashanti Cistrunk and Eric Jeffries of Mississippi and Lakia Henry of Dodge City Community College.