Column: Plumlee’s athleticism and confidence can pay off in the Transfer Portal


John Rhys Plumlee is used to betting on himself, and you shouldn’t be surprised if it pays off.

Plumlee announced on Monday that he was entering the transfer portal after a career with Ole Miss which was one of the most complicated in recent memory. On the one hand, Plumlee was a highly touted recruit from Oak Grove High School (Hattiesburg, Mississippi) to various positions. Originally engaged in Georgia, Plumlee switched to Ole Miss in hopes of playing the SEC quarterback.

He was successful, but, on the other hand, Matt Corral’s arm and overall talent took over Plumlee’s job when Lane Kiffin came to town.

Very few, if any, would deny that Plumlee has the athletic ability to play in the SEC, but it just didn’t work out in Ole Miss. Want to play the quarterback? A generational arm talent comes from the list. Want to play wide receiver? Well, Ole Miss has had a lot of them in recent years as well.

There has always been debate among Ole Miss fans on social media about how much or how little Plumlee should be used in the offense. Some have even argued that he should move to the defensive backfield. It is certainly quite versatile.

In short, however, the playing time just didn’t work out, and for someone of his athletic ability, he deserves a chance somewhere, even if it’s not at Oxford.

Besides, there is no doubt that Ole Miss made the right choice of quarterback. Without Matt Corral, a 10-game winning season joined by a Sugar Bowl berth won’t happen in 2021. This isn’t an argument that Plumlee should have been more involved with Ole Miss; rather it is a nod to his talent and a bet that he will succeed wherever he lands.

I’ve been on Ole Miss’s beat for almost six years now, and John Rhys Plumlee is one of the brightest athletes and young men I’ve ever covered. He bet on himself and came to Ole Miss, and now he’s betting on himself again, and he’s got the talent and the head on his shoulders to make it work in the right place.

It remains to be seen where he lands outside the portal, but if he wants to play quarterback somewhere, let him go. In the right place and in the right system, his athletic ability will make him a force to be reckoned with behind the center. Even on a bad Ole Miss team in 2019, he broke rushing records for the quarterback position, even registering staggering numbers against a defense that won a national title that season in LSU.

Maybe he goes to UCF and plays for Gus Malzahn. Maybe he’s going somewhere else. Either way, John Rhys Plumlee leaves no grudges at Oxford. He made this evident in his Twitter thread which announced his entry to the portal.

Most gamers, when announcing their intention to upload on social media, limit their post to a few sentences and maybe a graphic or image. Plumlee featured five tweets, full of an expression of love for Ole Miss and the opportunities offered to her at Oxford. It’s not often that an athlete can play two sports in the SEC, but Plumlee did, and he showed his gratitude for it on Monday.

Now he has a chance to start from scratch while still cherishing what he did to Ole Miss. He will likely always be loved at Oxford, and he will likely always share that sentiment.

Once again, he is betting on himself and his ability to succeed. Don’t be surprised if it pays off no matter where it lands.


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