Redemption

Senior wideout Markeith Summers has been up and down this season. He's looking for more ups. Read about it inside.

For whatever reason(s), the Ole Miss Rebels have been inconsistent in their performance this season, leaving them with a 3-4 record as the number one team in the nation - Auburn - barrels toward Oxford for a Saturday evening match.

Rebel senior wide receiver Markeith Summers can be put in the same category as the team - brightly shining one moment followed by where-did-he-go? the next.

Early in the year, Markeith recorded the sixth-highest single-game receiving yard total in Reb history with 165 yards against Tulane in a Rebel win.

Then, oddly, he somewhat vanished from the spotlight, other than having some critical drops against Alabama in a Rebel loss.

And just when one feels like Markeith may be doing another Houdini act, he surfaces again, catching three balls for 105 yards and two TDs in spectacular fashion against Arkansas last Saturday.

Markeith Summers

"I had a bad game at Alabama and had to rebound against Arkansas. I prepared hard and focused and it all paid off," said Summers. "I needed some redemption. I was motivated all week after having that poor outing at Alabama."

For the year, thus far, Summers has 16 catches for 359 yards and 4 TDs. He's averaging 22.4 yards per catch, which leads the SEC, but a little over two receptions a game is not what the hope was for him as the projected "go-to" receiver when the season began.

With all that in mind, however, Summers keeps an upbeat attitude about the present and the future, starting with the contest this week against the top-ranked Tigers.

"This is going to be a great atmosphere to play in here at home against the number one team in the nation. I can't wait - I'm very excited about it," he said. "We will have to block out all distractions and concentrate on the task at hand.

"As seniors, we are telling our young guys, and we have a lot of them, that this is why you play in the SEC. Focus, have fun and let's go win one."

Markeith believes the chemistry between the receivers and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is complete.

"We are all used to him now. We had some moments where we weren't on the same page, but we all know his game now and that has helped with our communication and our timing," he explained. "We have some young receivers, like Ja-Mes Logan and Melvin Harris and Jesse Grandy, who are starting to get in a groove.

"Our offensive line is real young, and we understand that, but we feel they are holding up pretty well, all things considered. We have faith in them. We know there are going to be plays where they break down, but we tell them to just move on to the next play and do their best. There's a lot of difference between here and high school and some of these guys were playing high school ball this time last year."

Summers feels the Rebels can do some damage the rest of the way in with five games remaining, but it starts with an undefeated team Saturday.

"Auburn is a quality team. The focus for them has been on their quarterback, but their defense has come around too," he stated. "Even so, we believe we can make plays on them if we are operating properly. We know it will be a challenge, but we have had chances to make a lot of plays against everyone we have faced.

"We just need to execute and start making the plays that are there to be made. November is critical for us."

The key, says Summers, is putting it all together.

"We've had several games where one side of the ball would play good and the other would not," he closed. "We've had too many letdowns on offense, defense and special teams. We have to eliminate that and all play well from the opening kickoff until the end. We are due a game like that.

"Our emphasis this week is to get off to a good start. If we can do that, we will see what happens."

Markeith got some redemption against Arkansas, even though the Rebels lost the game.

Now, he wants to continue along those lines and help the team get a big win.


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