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Ole Miss signing class 2016: Rebels continue to recruit bigger running backs

D'Vaughn Pennamon and Jarrion Street join current Rebels Jordan Wilkins and Akeem Judd in a backfield that Hugh Freeze has committed to beefing up.

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Despite everything else being hot garbage in 2006 and 2007, BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran rampant on opponents, becoming just the second Rebel ever to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. A couple years later, Brandon Bolden put up a 976-yard season with 14 touchdowns.

Since then, however, Ole Miss has struggled to find a traditional big back, particularly in Hugh Freeze's tenure. Jeff Scott and Jaylon Walton have been productive, but lack the size to give the offense a punch in short-yardage situations. Jordan Wilkins and Akeem Judd had increasing success in the back half of 2015, but there's more to be desired.

In order to avoid using a starting defensive tackle and/or a converted quarterback/H-back/offensive tackle in short-yardage and red zone situations, Ole Miss went out and did some crootin for some bigger backs.

4-star D'Vaughn Pennamon

No. 6 APB, No. 239 overall
5'11, 214 pounds

The four-star Semper Fidelis All-American from Manvel, Texas turned down Nick Saban and Kevin Sumlin and should help Rebel Nation breathe easy when a third-and-two conversion is needed. Pennamon is a legit 200-pounder who, because of his long strides and one-cut running style, reminds me of the aforementioned Brandon Bolden. D'Vaughn is shifty enough to make the first man miss, but he's not gonna be dancing for long: he's bout that "truck stick you so bad they replay it in the film room" life. DVP has speed as well: he was a standout track athlete for Manvel and was on the 4x4 relay team with fellow Rebel commit Deontay Anderson. As a high school senior, Pennamon toted the rock 134 times for 1,585 yards and 24 touchdowns, which is a damn impressive thing to do in Texas last time I checked.

3-star Jarrion Street

No. 37 RB, No. 616 overall
6'2, 207 pounds

The 22nd ranked player in the state of Alabama wasn't as sought after as Pennamon, but he ran like hell in 2015. The Trussville native ran for 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns en route to being named the state's 7A Offensive Player of the Year. More of a slasher than Pennamon, Street brings another dimension to the offense. Jarrion is the guy who wants to embarrass you with his feet and turn you into an internet meme. The Hewitt-Trussville star is sort of a blend between the current running backs Jordan Wilkins and Akeem Judd: he has Wilkins' wiggle and Judd's brute strength. That strength could someday be applied to the other side of the ball, as Street is a candidate to make a position change to linebacker.

When will they play?

Because Ole Miss has the luxury of having two senior backs and former four-star Eric Swinney coming off of injury, Pennamon and Street may not be asked to tote the ball just yet. This just gives them time to become acclimated to the playbook and learn from the veterans. Freeze wanted to get him some beef in the backfield and he fought tooth and nail to keep Pennamon out of Tuscaloosa and dig out a diamond in the rough in Street. That definitely earns an A grade from Crootin Professor Berry.