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Ole Miss RB Jordan Wilkins declared academically ineligible for 2016, per report

The junior back was competing with Akeem Judd for the starting job this season, though the presence of Eric Swinney should help mitigate the loss.

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The Clarion-Ledger is corroborating a report originally made by that Ole Miss running back Jordan Wilkins has been declared academically ineligible for the 2016 season.

While losing Wilkins isn't ideal, it doesn't seem like a problem that's likely to cost Ole Miss dearly. He has always been a fine running back, but I haven't noticed much he does that Akeem Judd can't do. Wilkins is certainly faster in the open field, but there are backs on the team with open-field speed that matches or exceeds his.

The junior runner accumulated 379 yards last season on just 72 carries and was in the midst of a battle to fill the void left when Jaylen Walton graduated. The race appeared to be down to Wilkins, Judd, and Eric Swinney. We have written extensively on Judd's production and on Swinney's potential. Wilkins' usage rate actually tailed off a bit last year as the season progressed.

Wilkins will have one year of eligibility remaining after sitting out this season. Assuming he remains at Ole Miss and toughs out this ineligibility, he could fill a significant role as a power runner vacated by Judd. There's a chance that the younger backs use this opportunity to pass him permanently, but I think Wilkins will be given opportunities to seize a role when he returns.