Did Ole Miss football get better at running back after losing Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy to the NFL?

As the season came to a close, both Geryon Ealy and Snoop Conner announced that they had given up final seasons of eligibility in order to make the leap in their professional football careers.

While neither backs is expected to be a top pick, the modern NFL produces playing careers that are very short for running backs. If you want more info on that, James Dattor did a great job running the back rack in the context of Christian McCaffrey’s contract extension a few months ago. Suffice it to say, the NFL just rates differently than it did ten years ago. Backpackers who earn decades long after their start-up trades are very rare.

And so Ole Miss really started reshaping his roster. A few days later, Zack Evans who’s back from TCU announced that he’s coming to Ole Miss. Evans was highly praised at the time. I think he’ll be a star for one year before going to the NFL himself. At that point, the room looked fairly stable, with Evans and Henry Parrish being the starting line-backs, and Kenrel Bullock and location Quinchon Judkins vying for backups. Then a few days later, Henry Parish announced that he was moving to Miami, following former running coach Kevin Smith.

While that left a bit of uncertainty, it wasn’t disastrous. I assumed the Rebels were okay with what they had, given a few scholarships left and some more pressing needs to be dealt with at the Gate.

But on Wednesday, SMU star Ulysses Bentley IV announced he’s moving on to the Ole Miss. Bentley, who has one of the most Ole Miss names of all-time, was named twice in the All-AAC after leading the conference in the 2020 lunge and an outstanding performance (6.7 yards per carry) as a sophomore while dealing with ankle injuries. He’s somewhat of an escape artist looking to bounce things outside or avoid dealing with stuttering steps. This room was missing someone with this skill set, and he should be a good fit.

Is this back room better than the one that lost all three of its options to greener pastures?

Like I mentioned, I’m really superior to Evans. I think he will be one of the best 2-3 defenders in the conference and a draft pick as early as day two. With the Bentley anchored at the two points, it’s easy to see the path forward for this running back room. They have a full comeback at the top, a quick, efficient shift back up, quick in Bullock, and one cut option with good visibility in the Judkins.

Having a tool belt with such great versatility should allow Lane Kevin and Charlie Weiss Jr. to do some interesting things, especially with an offensive line that has to be one of the best units in the conference.