Ferbia Allen and Jesse Grandy were teammates since they were about 5. Both went on to play for Dollarway High School and committed to play football for Ole Miss.
Grandy, a wide receiver and punt returner, played for Ole Miss his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Central Arkansas, where he garnered All-Southland Conference second team honors after leading the Bears with 49 receptions, 788 yards and nine touchdowns last year. Allen, still at Ole Miss, has started 22 games for the Rebels and will be the starting tight end again this year.
Grandy and Allen will once again meet up on the field, but this time not as teammates when Ole Miss hosts Central Arkansas at 6 p.m. on Saturday. When Grandy transferred to UCA, he did not think he would see his former teammate on the field again.
“I had no idea (we would play Ole Miss),” he said. “This is totally new to me. “We keep in touch. We have been around each other for a long time, and we are basically family.”
Allen said he keeps in touch with Grandy on a consistent basis and is ready to see his former longtime teammate again.
“I am ready to see him and have them come over here,” he said. “It’s the first game we are playing against each other. I call him every once in a while and he always says he is doing good.”
The two players could even meet up on the field, too. Even though both players are on offense, Grandy is UCA’s punt returner and Allen is on Ole Miss’ punt team. Allen could have a chance to lay a big hit on his friend.
“I’ve never had a chance to tackle a good friend,” Allen said. “Getting a chance to tackle him, that’s a different feeling.”
If Grandy sees Allen coming at him during a punt return, he is going to avoid his friend as best as he can, even if that means using a move on him that could make the highlight reels.
“If I see him come at me and try and hit me, I am just going ot have to look at it like he is another player,” he said. “At the end of the day, whether he makes the tackle, we both have a job to do.”
The game will also give one of them bragging right over the other since they have never played against each other.
Both teams are coming off completely different seasons. Last year, UCA went 9-4 and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs. Ole Miss went 2-10 last year and 0-8 in the SEC. The Rebels hired head coach Hugh Freeze in the offseason.
The UCA game is the first game in the Freeze era for Ole Miss, and Allen is hoping to come away with that win and bragging rights.
“I can always tell him I beat him,” he said. “It’s something I can call and tease him about.”
Grandy is looking at it differently, though.
“If he wins or if we win, it’s just a good thing that we get to play against each other,” he said. “It will be kind of like a small reunion. It will be a good experience and it will be fun and a great competition.”