Source: QB Masoli headed to Ole Miss

Updated: July 30, 2010, 5:06 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli is expected to be admitted to one of three graduate programs at the University of Mississippi, which should make him eligible to play as early as this season, a source told ESPN's Joe Schad.

Masoli would have to walk on at Ole Miss as he would not be granted a scholarship, the source said. But Masoli, a good student, would be eligible to possibly receive a reduced tuition cost.

Masoli accepted an invitation from Mississippi coach Houston Nutt to visit the school this weekend.

"I've been invited to visit the Ole Miss campus this weekend and flew into Oxford Friday morning," Masoli wrote on his website Fridat. "I'm excited to explore the opportunity to enroll in a graduate studies program and play football this fall."

Masoli had expressed late interest in programs like Kansas State and West Virginia, two other sources told Schad.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, school officials, including Nutt and athletic director Pete Boone, met Tuesday to discuss Masoli's troubled background, which led to his dismissal from the Oregon team in June.

Ole Miss assistant athletic director for compliance David Wells told The Clarion-Ledger that the university would have to ask the NCAA to waive a one-year residency requirement, which can be granted if the athlete enrolls in a graduate program that is not offered at Oregon.

A week ago Nutt said the Rebels had no interest in pursuing Masoli, who was kicked off Oregon's team after two run-ins with the law, including a second-degree burglary charge.

That stance may have changed after backup Raymond Cotton left the team this past Saturday. The Rebels are down to just two scholarship quarterbacks after Cotton was granted his release. Cotton plans to transfer after apparently convincing himself that he wasn't going to get much of a chance to play behind Nathan Stanley.

Nutt has been down this road before. He took a chance on former Florida safety Jamar Hornsby last year, and it blew up in the Rebels' faces.

Hornsby was booted from the Gators' team after being charged with the fraudulent use of a dead Florida student's credit card. She was killed in a motorcycle accident and just happened to be the girlfriend of Hornsby's then-teammate, Joe Haden.

The Rebels took a chance and signed the troubled Hornsby after he had a stopover at junior college, and he was in trouble again not even a month later. He was indicted on a felony assault charge, and Nutt had no choice but to dismiss him from the team.

The Rebels' backup right now is junior college transfer Randall Mackey, who wasn't in Oxford for spring practice and was probably going to factor in as a specialty player this season.

Masoli joined Oregon in 2008 as a fifth-string junior college transfer who was expected to redshirt. But he got a chance to play because of injury and held onto the job.

In 2009, he guided the Ducks to their first Pac-10 title since 2001 and their first Rose Bowl since 1995. He threw for 2,147 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 668 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Information from ESPN's Joe Schad, ESPN.com's Chris Low and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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