In preparation for the 2014 college football season, Saturday Down South takes a look at the X factor for every SEC team. Not only do these players have the opportunity to make major contributions for their respective squads, but they could also be the difference in a successful season or a losing season.

Today, we’re discussing the X factor for the Ole Miss Rebels.

X-factor series:

    S Cody Prewitt

    Since Hugh Freeze arrived at Ole Miss in 2012, the Rebels have been making strides as a program, eventually finishing last season with an 8-5 record and a victory in Music City Bowl. Heading into 2014, the progression of the Rebels’ super sophomore class of Laquon Treadwell, Laremy Tunsil and Robert Nkemdiche and how Bo Wallace will handle the pressure of being one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks will dominate the Ole Miss headlines.

    But it’ll be a senior safety for the Rebels that can make the difference for them this season. Cody Prewitt was a playmaker in the Ole Miss secondary last season. As a junior, Prewitt led the SEC with six interceptions and finished second on Ole Miss with 71 total tackles.

    As a whole, the Ole Miss defense was average in the SEC, finishing seventh in the conference in total defense (370.5 yards allowed per game). The Rebels sustained some injuries last season, but with nine defensive starters returning, they should improve on those numbers.

    Prewitt’s playmaking instincts and versatility will bring great value to the Ole Miss defense. His primary position is safety, but he’ll also see some time at outside linebacker this season. His ability to play two key positions on the defense will amplify his value if more injuries occur again for the defense this season.

    Simply put, Prewitt is a guy that can do a lot of things for the defense. He’s one of the best tackling safeties in the conference and plays the ball extremely well as evidenced by his seven picks. With the players they have, you get the feeling that Ole Miss could be on the cusp of a breakout season. If that does occur, I guarantee you that Prewitt will be right in the thick of it.