Akeem Judd prepares for breakout season in Ole Miss offense
OXFORD, MS – A year ago, Akeem Judd saw his carries fluctuate throughout the season, but he turned heads with every opportunity he was given. Now as a senior, Judd is preparing himself to be the starter amongst the Ole Miss running backs.
After having a solid spring, Judd enters the fall listed as the co-starter at the running back position with junior Jordan Wilkins. In the 2015 season, each of the backs carried the ball more than 70 times while averaging more than five yards a carry.
Judd finished the season with 421 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 77 carries. His ability to run north and south created plenty of highlight reel moments last season that drew the attention of the entire staff.
Against New Mexico State, Judd rushed for a career-high 72 yards and a TD on 12 carries. In Southeastern Conference play against LSU and Texas A&M, he rushed for at least 60 yards on 12 carries.
One of his most memorable plays came inside Jordan-Hare Stadium against Auburn when he burst through the middle for a 25-yard rushing TD.
Judd ready for increased role
Judd looks forward to the upcoming season and is confident he can get more carries and be an important piece for the Chad Kelly-led offense.
At Monday’s Ole Miss Media Day, Rebels’ head coach Hugh Freeze talked about the position, saying he has been impressed with all three of his running backs: redshirt freshman Eric Swinney, Wilkins and Judd. Judd smiled at his coach’s compliment and said his goal is to earn the bulk of the carries, like his former teammate Jaylen Walton did last season.
Walton led Ole Miss in rushing yards (730) and carries (142).
Judd, who started against Mississippi State in last year’s Egg Bowl victory, felt he made the most of his opportunities last season and believes the level of competition he faced last year has helped prepare him for what he thinks will be a big year.
“You have to be consistent,” Judd said. “In the SEC, that’s one of the main things you have to do. I just have to keep going, keeping impressing the coaches and keep doing what I do.”
Judd confident running behind a new offensive line
If the 5-foot-11, 228-pound Judd walks into Camping World Stadium on Labor Day against No. 4 Florida State as the starter, he will be running behind a revamped offensive line that lost all five of its starters from a season ago. However, Judd is not at all worried about moving the chains behind a different offensive front.
He has seen the lanes open up for him thus far in fall camp:
Akeem Judd on revamped O-Line
The No. 12 Rebels take on No. 4 Florida State on Monday, September 5 at 7:00 p.m. CT in Orlando, Florida.