The 2014 Ole Miss football season is just around the corner. Now that we have hit the 45 day mark until kickoff, we are going to countdown the most valuable Rebel players this season. Their rankings are based on their positions and how much of an impact they will bring to the table. Today on the countdown is…
RB, Memphis, TN
Bio: Jaylen Walton came to Ole Miss as a member of the 2012 signing class. Walton was The Commercial Appeal Class 5A Player of the Year coming out of high school. Walton was a SuperPrep All-Region selection and rated the No. 18 player in Tennessee. He was awarded Class 5A All-State honors from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as a senior in high school. Walton was named the No. 8 all-purpose running back in the nation and the No. 12 player in the state by Rivals.com. He was also rated the No. 56 running back in the nation by Scout.com. As a senior in high school, Walton recorded 2,584 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns. In the 2012 Ole Miss season, Walton finished with 23 rush attempts on 118 yards and a rushing touchdown. He would also tail in 3 receptions for 57 yards and a receiving touchdown. He also returned 26 kicks for 643 total yards, with a highlighted 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the game against Texas.
2013 Season: Jaylen Walton finished last season playing in every game and picked up seven starts at running back. Like his freshman year, Walton served as the team’s primary kick returner on special teams. He recorded 113 rush attempts for 523 yards (second on team) and six rushing touchdowns (tied for team lead) on the season. He would also catch 29 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns. On special teams, Walton returned 25 kicks for 515 yards, averaging 20.6 yards per return. Jaylen Walton also finished as the team leader with eight total touchdowns. His most highlighted game of the year had to have come in his second career start against (at the time) #6 ranked LSU. Walton helped the Rebels to an upset victory over LSU by setting career highs with 106 rush yards, two rushing touchdowns and 192 all-purpose yards (adding three catches for 24 yards and three kick returns for 62 yards). After his performance against LSU, Jaylen Walton was named honorable mention All-Purpose Performer of the Week by CFPA.
The Value: Questions are swarming the Ole Miss coaching staff about the running position. Who is going to start at running back for the Rebels? All eyes are on I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton to pick up the starting role. To be this close to the season with no official word of a starter, this a first for a long time with Rebel running backs. For the past two seasons, we knew it would be Jeff Scott getting the starting role. Now, with multiple talented players in the Ole Miss backfield, it is hard to pinpoint a particular player as the starter without an official word from the coaching staff. Ideally, it will be Mathers starting with Walton backing him up, but you could expect some starts from Walton this season. Regardless of whether he starts or not, it is very vital to the Ole Miss offense for Jaylen Walton to have a successful season.