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Ole Miss RB Wilkins academically ineligible for 2016 season

Ole Miss running back Jordan Wilkins will miss the 2016 season after not making enough progress toward his degree, according to a statement released by the athletics department Thursday.

It wasn’t a case of not making the grades for Wilkins but rather an “administrative error” that left him short of the credits required to be eligible, according to the statement. The school filed an appeal with the NCAA seeking Wilkins’ reinstatement, but it was denied earlier this week.

“The athletics department takes full responsibility and holds itself accountable when situations like this occur with our student-athletes,” the statement continued. “We will support Jordan to the fullest during this time and look forward to seeing him return to the field.”

Wilkins, a junior, entered fall camp competing with senior Akeem Judd to be the Rebels’ primary ball carrier after running for 379 yards on 72 carries last season. A member of Ole Miss’ 2013 signing class, Wilkins has already used a redshirt year.

“He’s good at everything, the protections, the routes, the running,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said of Wilkins during Ole Miss’ media day earlier this month. “So is Akeem. I thought both of them came on at the end of last year and really did some nice things. I’m comfortable with that position. We’re deep enough there and good enough. That won’t be a reason we’re not a competitive football team.”

His absence leaves Judd as the No. 1 back and creates a more prominent role for redshirt freshman Eric Swinney. It could also do away with the thought of any possible redshirt for true freshman D’Vaughn Pennamon, who has been a standout among the Rebels’ newcomers early in fall camp.

“Very physical,” Freeze said of the 5-foot-11, 218-pound Pennamon. “Runs downhill, hits the hole well and has good vision.”