Apr. 10—OXFORD — There are stars in front of him, stars behind and even stars off to the side.
Kinkead Dent isn’t looking at stars, never has.
Ole Miss starting quarterback Matt Corral, a four-star recruit, is getting some Heisman Trophy mention.
But if Corral should be forced to miss an extended period of time next fall, the keys to one of the country’s most explosive offenses could go to Dent — a three-star recruit whose only Power Five offer was from Ole Miss.
This spring, Dent is angling for the No. 2 spot behind Corral with four-star freshman Luke Altmyer doing the same.
Four-star recruit John Rhys Plumlee, the starter in a run-based offense in 2019, could rejoin the mix in August.
Or he could play wide receiver, it’s complicated.
“I never felt like recruiting stars would hold me back. I just knew I was going to come up here and work as hard as I could to where it really didn’t matter whether I had stars or not, I was going to play. That’s the mentality I put behind it,” Dent said.
Dent grew up in Yazoo City and played high school ball at Jackson Academy, collecting an offer sheet dominated with Group of Five schools.
There was Power Five interest in Dent, but some schools were careful about extending offers to an Ole Miss fan since childhood whose emotions were deeply connected with fall Saturdays at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Six-foot-five and mobile, Dent signed at 176 pounds and is now up to 200 pounds with plans to add more weight.
He’s getting the vast majority of second-team reps in spring practice as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff Lebby prepares him to lead the team if Corral can’t go.
“That’s all Lebby talks to me about, being able to take control of this team when I need to and being prepared for that. That’s something that could very likely happen at the quarterback position,” Dent said.
In two seasons he’s appeared in only the New Mexico State game in 2019 and did not attempt a pass.
He showed pocket awareness and accuracy at Jackson Academy and again in the 2019 spring game at Ole Miss.
He and the other returners are glad to spend a second season in the same offense. Individually, Dent feels himself developing no matter how the stars align.
“It kind of puts a chip on my shoulder, really. I would say I’ve had to work harder,” he said. “If you get a spot at the next level you can always prove you can play.”