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Meridian's Ruffin leaves Ole Miss

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Aug. 13, 2003
OXFORD Ole Miss head football coach David Cutcliffe announced Monday that defensive back Jeremy Ruffin had left the football team.
The fifth-year Rebels head coach declined to elaborate on the reason for Ruffin's departure.
The former Meridian High School standout, who recorded 313 tackles and 39 sacks playing linebacker and defensive end for the Wildcats, is reported to be considering a transfer to a Southwestern Athletic Conference school, according to published reports.
Ruffin enrolled at Ole Miss in January of 2002. He signed with the Rebels in 2001 but failed to qualify academically. The second-year safety was expected to compete with Kelvin Robinson for playing time at strong safety, after healing from offseason foot surgery.
In his freshman season with the team, Ruffin played in 12 games, recording 17 tackles, eight solo, and a pass deflection playing in the free safety position. Ruffin, a Dandy Dozen selection as a high schooler, broke his fifth metatarsus in his left foot during the Rebels' Independence Bowl victory over Nebraska.
"I'm going to come out and try to make it off this injury and take the starting position," Ruffin said at Ole Miss' football media day on Aug. 4.
Ruffin is the third player to leave the football program in the last three weeks, and his departure caps a difficult offseason for the Meridian native.
Ruffin did not attend the Rebels' practice Monday morning and had been sidelined for almost a week with an injured left ankle.
The injury had kept him out of preseason practice, and he was held out of spring practice because of the Nebraska game injury.