Ole Miss star status running back Zach Evans still up in the air ahead of Saturday’s top 15 showdown between the 14th-ranked Rebels and 7th-ranked Kentucky. Evans left Ole Miss a 35-27 win over Tulsa last week due to a “health problem.” Ole Miss is also monitoring the possible return of runners. Ulysses Bentley IV and wide Jaylon Robinson.

“I hope they go away.” – Coach Ole Miss. Lane Kiffin said on Monday during his weekly press conference. “This is when we are at our best, when all three are there. And then there are some special team roles that are associated with this group of positions that are also important.”

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Evans has 59 carries for 365 yards this season and four touchdowns for Ole Miss. Transfer TCU was the No. 8 player in the transfer rankings.

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“Evans is averaging 6.2 yards per shot and looking as good as advertised, even if he’s not even ahead of Ole Miss in rushing,” 247Sports college football analyst Clint Brewster recently wrote. “Evans is part of a backfield that ranks fourth in the country in total yards. He has the perfect combination of strength, elusiveness and vision with remarkable contact balance and the ability to force defenders to miss.”

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Ole Miss has the best rushing offense in the SEC (280.8 yards per game) at the start of week five. Mark Stoops and the Wildcats held their opponents for just 3.7 yards per carry and 108.2 yards per game.

If Evans can get away, it will completely improve Ole Miss’s offense. Evans set Georgia Tech on fire on September 17 for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He had 130 rushing yards and 22 receiving yards in his Ole Miss debut against Troy in the season opener.

“I have to work hard,” Evans said after a 42-0 road win over Georgia Tech. “Two fumbles is not good, especially in two games. I am very disappointed with my performance (on Saturday), but that’s what videos and training are for. Ball safety is something we talk about every day. The ball is the program, I can’t let the program down.”

Evans was a five-star recruit from Houston, Texas Galena Park North Shore in the class of 2020. During his two-year TCU career, Evans had 1,063 yards and nine touchdowns. Evans added 18 receptions for 206 yards and one touchdown. He more than lived up to the hype around Kiffin and Ole Miss.

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“Yes, I did (expected it),” Kiffin said. “And what’s really cool is that Zach has already seen them, Zach has missed a few games. Now we’ve added a lot of new runs to give them problems we didn’t solve. So he didn’t have a ton of reps in them. Again, when you have all these new guys, everything becomes new. They don’t have retained representatives from last year when we did something. He missed a few runs that would have been really big. here, he will tell you this. That’s what’s really great is that he can be even better and more productive than he was, which is really special.”

Dean Straka contributed to this report.