Ole Miss Football: Bold Predictions for the 2016 Season

Oct 31, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Akeem Judd (21) after scoring a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Garrett Reid-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Akeem Judd (21) after scoring a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Garrett Reid-USA TODAY Sports /

The Ole Miss Rebels football team has a lot of expectations on their shoulder. However, I have a feeling this will be a special year. I have some bold predictions for the 2016 team.

The excitement for this season is so palpable I can hardly stand it. Vaught Hemingway Stadium looks fantastic. The grass on the field is ready to host the visitors for the 2016 season. It is Ole Miss football season! Now nothing is promised this season. However, it is always fun to make bold predictions for the team.

Related Story: What the 2015 Egg Bowl Tell Us About The 2016 Season

Although all bold predictions are what I truly believe will happen, there is one caveat. These predictions are null and void if there is an injury. However, the injury rule does not only apply to the specific player. For instance, if a key player’s injury affects the effectiveness of the other player then I’m clear as well. In other words, I’ve left myself a lot of loop holes. So here we go.

Akeem Judd Will Rush For 1000 Yards

The Ole Miss Rebels’ running game has been a subject of contention among the fan base. Although the running game has not been at the level the fans would like, it has not been as awful as some have made it seem. They finish seventh in the conference during SEC games in rushing. The Rebels had two issues. One was that they had no dominate running back. And two was the fact that they had no short yardage back.

This year I believe our number one issue is solved. Although, the unfortunate eligibility situation with Jordan Wilkins was horrible. It has answered the question as to who would be the starter at running back. Akeem Judd now has the responsibility of leading the rushing attack. So with him leading the way with freshman behind him, he should garner a lot of carries.

The graduation of Jaylen Walton and the absence of Wilkins should increase Judd’s carries. Judd will get anywhere from 100 to 130 more carries this year. Last year he averaged 5.5 yards a carry with 77 carries for 434 yards. Also with Chad Kelly proving he’s a running threat last year, other teams have to respect him on the read-option. This will open up room for Judd to operate. Don’t be surprise when he gets his 1000th yard during the Egg Bowl.

Special Teams Will Run A Kick Back For A Touchdown

There were times during the last three seasons where my heart was in my throat every time someone punted to us. The goal has been to just catch the ball. There was no return. Just catch it without fumbling. Although we have increased win totals over the past three years, the special team has been a reason for concern.

The 2016 Ole Miss football team may finally have the problem solved. Coach Hugh Freeze has recruited speedy, agile guys who will finally see the field. However, it may be a senior that will help the Rebels break through.

Senior Carlos Davis could be the key to a great return game. If he remains healthy, he has the speed that could lead to some exciting returns. But I’m looking forward to seeing a couple of freshmen with the ball in their hand. Redshirt freshman Jalen Julius and true freshman Tre Nixon have the potential to be explosive.

However, speed is not the only prerequisite for a good returner. You must be agile, elusive and have timely burst of speed. I believe those two have everything they need. Get ready to stand to your feet Rebel Nation. Another of my bold predictions is that someone will return a punt or a kickoff for a touchdown during both the Wofford game and the Texas A&M game. Don’t ask why, it’s just a feeling.

Chad Kelly Will Be Invited to the Heisman Ceremony

When you listen to the sports pundits it seems as if they already have Clemson’s Deshaun Watson’s name engraved on the Heisman Trophy already. If not him then they believe it will be Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. However, it could be LSU’s Leonard Fournette who walks across that stage.

I don’t know who the winner will be. But I believe the Rebels’ Chad Kelly will be sitting in New York with the other Heisman candidates.  Kelly is currently a 12 to 1 odd to win the Heisman. His 4042 yards last year put him on the short list for Heisman contenders.

Kelly immediately has a chance to pad his resume for a Heisman trophy. He starts the season playing three top 25 teams in the first four games. Therefore, if he can have great games it will bring a spotlight on the rest of his season.

Chad has the talent around him to put up great numbers. He has a bevy of receivers. He has an offensive game plan that gives him control at quarterback. The offensive line won’t be as big of a concern as most think.

Because Kelly makes quick decisions and gets the ball out of his hands quickly the line issues won’t be detrimental. If Kelly can stay healthy and plays smart he’ll be at the ceremony. Here’s an extra prognostication for my list of bold predictions for you. Chad Kelly will punctuate his Heisman run with a 400 yard, 4 touchdown game against Mississippi State.