OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – The return of Nickolas Brassell highlights a group of eight new student-athletes who were officially welcomed to the Ole Miss football program as they began classes on the first day of the spring semester Tuesday.
The newcomers include transfers Brassell (East Mississippi Community College), Anthony Alford (Southern Miss), Austin Douglas (Northwest Mississippi Community College), Lavon Hooks (Northeast Mississippi Community College) and Quadarias Mireles (Hinds Community College), as well as high school graduates Mark Dodson (Memphis, Tenn.), Christian Morgan (Plano, Texas) and Andy Pappanastos (Montgomery, Ala.).
Hooks, Mireles, Dodson and Morgan signed with Ole Miss in December.
Brassell returns to the Rebels after one season at EMCC, in which the 6'1", 180-pound athlete was named First Team MACJC All-State after catching 48 passes for 663 yards and six touchdowns as a wide receiver.
As a freshman at Ole Miss in 2011, Brassell made starts at wide receiver and cornerback, becoming the first Rebel to start both ways since 1988. The Batesville, Miss., native was second on the team in receptions (24), receiving yards (336) and TD catches (2) and posted 14 tackles and five pass breakups while at cornerback.
Alford, a former prep All-American who was Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball for the state of Mississippi as a senior, was the starting quarterback at Southern Miss as a true freshman in 2012 before deciding to transfer from the program. The 6'0", 210-pound athlete from Petal, Miss., is also a member of the Toronto Blue Jays’ farm system after being chosen in the third round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
Douglas was the starting center for Northwest over the last two seasons and a second-team NJCAA All-American as a sophomore.
Pappanastos joins the Rebels after a prep career that saw him named a Kohl’s Kicking All-American and three-time All-State selection while setting the Alabama high school career record for field goals made.
Additional non-scholarship players are expected to join the team in the coming days. Ole Miss will announce its entire 2013 class when the regular signing period begins on Feb. 6.