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, Murfreesboro, TN
Bio: I’Tavius Mathers came to Ole Miss as a member of 2012 signing class. In high school, Mathers was named The Tennessean’s Player of the Year as a junior and senior and was named to the publication’s Dream Team in 2011. He was also named district and county MVP in 2011. He was a SuperPrep All-Region selection and rated the No. 8 player in Tennessee. Rivals.com rated him the No. 20 running back in the nation and the No. 7 player in Tennessee. He was rated the No. 42 running back in the nation and No. 20 player in the state by ESPN.com. In his senior year of high school, Mathers rushed for 2,253 yards and 27 touchdowns. In the 2012 Ole Miss season, Mathers played in every game as backup running back to Jeff Scott and also played on special teams. Mathers finished his 2012 season with 208 rushing yards on 27 carries with one TD and returned three kicks for 20 yards.
In 2013: Last season, I’Tavius Mathers played in 12 games with one start at running back. He led the team with 563 rushing yards. Mathers also finished fourth on team with three rushing TDs. He also added 10 passes for 83 yards. In the spring of 2013, Mathers received the Eli Manning Award, which is presented to the most improved player of the spring. He would miss the season opener against Vanderbilt due to recovering from an ankle injury.
The Value: The Ole Miss run game is an area that there has to be uncertainty of who will be the primary starter. Jaylen Walton and I’Tavius Mathers are the two most experienced backs for the Rebels. So, the starting roles has to be zeroed in on these two. We’re giving Mathers a nudge of value over Walton due to his consistency last season. Not to mention, Mathers led the Rebels in rushing yards last year. I fully believe the success of Ole Miss’ rushing this season will be determined on how well Mathers performs.