NCAA Football: Peach Bowl-Mississippi at Penn State

Ole Miss starting running back Quinshon Judkins will enter the transfer portal, marking a potentially significant offensive loss for coach Lane Kiffin. Judkins, a sophomore, has 2,723 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns in two seasons as the No. 1 running back for the Rebels. 

"After long talks with my family and hard prayers, I have decided to enter the transfer portal," Judkins tweeted. "The decision to to enter into the transfer portal was not made lightly, but I believe that it is the best decision for my personal and athletic growth."

Judkins also sent a message to the Ole Miss community in the post.

"I have loved my time here at Ole Miss and am grateful for the opportunity to grow as a football player and program within this program," he said. "To the fans, I want to say thank you for welcoming me and my family, and for all of the love and support. To my brothers, who will forever be a part of my family, I am forever thankful for the relationships we've built while I've been here. To coach Kiffin, [running back] coach [Kevin] Smith and the entire coaching staff, thank you all for believing in me and developing me into a better football player. "

Judkins earned first-team All-SEC honors this past season after rushing for 1,158 yards and 15 touchdowns for the first Ole Miss team to record an 11-win season in program history. Judkins topped the 100-yard mark on the ground six times during that run despite seeing limited time during the first month of the season while recovering from injury. 

The SEC Freshman of the Year in 2022 was an All-SEC first-team selection following a sizzling debut in which rushed for 1,565 yards and 16 touchdowns, and during which he topped 100-yard mark on the ground eight times. Judkins has shined as a receiver as well, with 37 catches for 281 yards and three touchdowns during his two seasons in Oxford.

Judkins' jump into superstardom came despite a less-heralded recruiting journey. The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder from Pike Road, Alabama, was just a three-star recruit and the No. 562-ranked player in the Class of 2022. 

Potential destinations

Judkins played high school football about an hour southwest from Auburn, so a return home could be in the cards. Judkins was overlooked by former Tigers coach Bryan Harsin during the recruiting process, but new coach Hugh Freeze made it abundantly clear during his first year that beefing up his roster is of utmost importance. Starter Jarquez Hunter is draft eligible but hasn't announced a decision on his status. Brian Battie, however, announced that he will move on after just one season with the Tigers.

Alabama is another option. The Crimson Tide are loaded at running back with Roydell Williams, Jam Miller and Justice Haynes coming back, but Judkins would immediately provide a boost -- and perhaps take the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. Judkins has been worked hard over the last two seasons, and serving as the primary back in a rotation could serve as a long-term benefit to his professional career. Plus, Nick Saban could ensure that he doesn't have to coach against Judkins by adding him to the Crimson Tide roster. 

Miami used a running back-by-committee approach last season, and that'll likely be the plan again as most of that production will be staying in Coral Gables, Florida. It might benefit Judkins long term to avoid being a work horse. Plus, Judkins' ability to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield will go a long way toward stabilizing an offense that will be breaking in a new full-time quarterback. 

Colorado coach Deion Sanders is always in the market for new talent, and landing Judkins would make a major statement around the country -- especially in the SEC footprint. Somebody has to take pressure off of quarterback Shedeur Sanders, and Judkins showed the ability to shed tackles behind a sub-par offensive line for the entirety of his career with the Rebels. The Buffaloes finished last in the nation in rushing offense (68.92 yards per game), so he'd immediately give Sanders and Co. hope for the future.

Finally, if Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is going to start hitting the transfer portal, this is a name to watch. Will Shipley announced that he will enter the NFL Draft earlier this week, and the tandem of Judkins and Phil Mafah would instantly make the Tigers a big-time threat. Plus, quarterback Cade Klubnik needs receiving options, and Judkins could instantly provide a boost out of the backfield in that department.