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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Seth Adams isn't your typical Southeastern Conference quarterback.

He didn't have the Tim Tebow-type attention coming out of Holly Springs, Miss.

He never shook hands with Urban Meyer, Phillip Fulmer or Steve Spurrier.

But now, the junior college transfer and former walk-on is starting for Mississippi.

And his strong play has been turning heads.

Through three games, Adams has thrown for 660 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

"It was a weight lifted off my chest," Adams said of being named starter. "That was just another step. Now that I was the starter, I had to make the next steps.

"It was a dream to always play in the SEC. I didn't know how things would unfold, but I would stick to my dream. Playing in the SEC was always in the back of my mind, and I felt that in my heart that I could do it. I took a chance and took advantage of the opportunity that Coach (Ed Orgeron) gave me."

That opportunity almost came to a temporary halt Saturday when Adams sprained his right shoulder during the fourth quarter of last week's game at Vanderbilt. However, Orgeron and Adams said they expect the injury to pass by Saturday. After sitting out most of Tuesday's practice, Adams reportedly took reps in practice Wednesday.

"He should be fine," Orgeron said Wednesday during the weekly SEC Coaches' Teleconference. "He's a very tough, very dedicated young man."

One Rebels player who is hoping for a healthy Adams is junior wide receiver Mike Wallace. So far, Wallace has team highs of 323 receiving yards and three touchdowns on the season.

"I know before the game what we're doing - we go over our checks," Wallace said. "He gives me a look and a signal, and I go with it. He's always making the right call."

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Though Adams said it is the type of injury he will have to force himself to play through, his potential replacement is a familiar face for the Gators. The Rebels' backup is former Tennessee quarterback Brent Schaeffer.

Schaeffer was a highly regarded recruit coming into Knoxville, but he lost playing time to the Volunteers' current starter, Erik Ainge, decided to transfer and eventually landed at Mississippi.

Though Schaeffer has had a less-than notable career with the Rebels, Orgeron said Schaeffer's attitude has improved, and he is doing better academically.

But it's going to take a lot more than just a quarterback to pull the upset against No. 3 UF (3-0, 1-0 SEC) on Saturday.

Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the workhorse for Mississippi (1-2, 0-1 SEC). Whether Adams or Schaeffer starts, Mississippi won't go anywhere if the senior doesn't show up. Green-Ellis has 384 yards on the ground and one touchdown.

"When BenJarvus goes, we go," Orgeron said. "It seems like when teams stop BenJarvus, our offense kind of shuts down a little bit. He's just one fantastic young man."

After spending a few seasons as SEC cellar dwellers, the Rebels are just excited for a chance at the upset - especially Adams.

"This is definitely the highest-ranked team I've ever played or that Ole Miss has played for a while," Adams said. "We'll be ready. It's a once in a lifetime chance to play Florida."

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