Ole Miss cornerback Tee Shepard will undergo surgery on his big toe next week in Charlotte, ending his 2014 season before it began. The story was first reported by the Ole Miss Spirit’s Chuck Rounsaville and confirmed by the Clarion-Ledger’s Hugh Kellenberger Thursday morning.

Shepard injured a tendon in the toe last week, but the Rebels sent his MRI to Birmingham for a second opinion to decide whether he would need season-ending surgery. Feedback from Birmingham wasn’t any better than the initial diagnosis, and Shepard will have the surgery after all.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze seemed prepared to move on without Shepard this season based on his comments to the C-L following Wednesday’s practice.

“We’re getting different opinions but it doesn’t look favorable,” Freeze said. “It’s a rare injury that he could try to push through and get fixed after the season, but there’s the chance that the tissue would form around and not heal properly long-term. We obviously think he has a career in football, and want to do everything we can to make sure that career is preserved. The final decision has not been made. We’re waiting on one more opinion, from a guy that deals with this every day.”

Shepard was expected to be in the mix in the Rebels’ secondary this season behind starting corners Senquez Golson and Derrick Jones. Fellow corners Mike Hilton, Cliff Coleman, Kailo Moore and Carlos Davis will be expected to take on larger roles this season in Shepard’s absence.

Shepard was once a highly touted high school recruit who originally committed to Notre Dame in 2012. He spent last season at Holmes Community College in Mississippi before flipping his commitment from Mississippi State to Ole Miss on National Signing Day earlier this year.

Shepard maintained his redshirt year in addition to his final three years of NCAA eligibility, but will likely forfeit that redshirt this season while he recovers from the surgery. His injury came less than two weeks after he was ruled academically eligible by the NCAA for the upcoming season.