Last season, Scottie Phillips was on pace to run for 1,100 yards, give or take. Then a foot injury against Texas A&M sidelined him. Now, fast forward to 2019 and Phillips is back and ready to prove the haters wrong. The Jones County transfer ran for 928 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per carry and had 12 touchdowns, good for second-most in the SEC.
Can he do it again?
I tend to think so. Rich Rodriguez’s offense favors the running game when it is working and last season, well, it worked. Now that Phillips is back from his injury 100% and ready to take on the Southeastern Conference again, me thinks he is going to thrive and then some.
Phillips told Ole Miss Sports that he came back this year because he wanted to get to 1,000 yards and he’s excited to play for Rich Rodriguez.
“I really want to get that 1,000-yard mark, that’s one of the main reasons I came back for my last year...(Rich Rodriguez) he knows what he’s doing, he’s a smart coach, I feel like he’s going to put me in situations that I’m going to be successful in.”
Now as we turn our attention to the guys behind Phillips, Isaiah Woullard is a name that comes to mind. He ran for 428 yards last year, scoring four touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Mississippi’s all-time leading rusher was fantastic a year ago in mop-up duty and picking up the slack for Phillips when he went down.
But, he will have to fend off two true freshmen in order to keep his carries up. Five-star Jerrion Ealy and three-star Snoop Conner are expected to compete for playing time in the backfield and I think they will both forego their redshirts in 2019 and contribute plenty.
Ealy is the household name that has a ton of Noel Devine in him. He is incredibly shifty, freaky fast, and can turn a negative play into six points in a matter of seconds. Conner, the former high school quarterback, is a bruiser who can run between the tackles while also taking it the distance, giving me memories of Steve Slaton.
In their senior seasons in 2018, they combined for 3,882 yards rushing and 37 rushing touchdowns. And with Rodriguez’s offense playing to its strengths however they may come, I tend to think that we will be seeing a ton of Ealy and Conner in the next three or four years in the Hot Rod offense.