Decision Looming

Senior defensive tackle Jerrell Powe wasn't sure of his future when meeting with the media Monday. But, as he made clear, the process of deciding between forgoing his final season or remaining at Ole Miss is sure to be difficult.

Jerrell Powe will soon face a difficult decision.

Ole Miss, now 4-6 overall on the season following a loss at Tennessee, has two regular-season games remaining. If it loses either of those two games, it will fall short of six wins – the required number of wins to attain bowl eligibility.

But whether the season ends after the team's annual in-state meeting with Mississippi State in two weeks or following a bowl apperance is a different matter entirely.

Jerrell Powe

Because, ultimately, Powe will have to decide whether to forgo his final season or return to school, be it at the end of November or not.

"I still got a year of eligibility yet," Powe said. "I don't know what I'm going to do right now. We're just looking forward to this game Saturday (against LSU)."

Powe, should he choose to return to Ole Miss, has one year of eligibility remaining. Powe would have to apply for his additional year, since the NCAA ruled three years ago the additional year was contingent upon Powe earning his college degree.

"I'm just going to sit down with Coach (Houston) Nutt (after the season)," he said. "Me and Coach Nutt talked about it. We'll sit down and talk about it at the end of the year, send in the draft analysis, see where I'm at, and make the best decision from there."

Powe's tumultuous, three-year battle with the NCAA for admittance was well-documented, until he was finally admitted in the fall of 2008. Since then, he's become one of the Southeastern Conference's better linemen. He was named to the preseason All-SEC second team in the summer.

But, statistically, Powe hasn't had the year he'd hoped for in 2010-11. He is 12th on the team in tackles with 20, though he ranks second in tackles for loss with 7.5.

"I'm not worried about what people are saying about my playing ability this year," Powe said. "I know my role on this team, and I've been playing my role since day one. I'm not looking forward to the NFL right now."

Powe generally sounded as if he wanted to come back for another year when meeting with the media Monday. He said all he ever wanted was to graduate with a degree from Ole Miss. He is scheduled to earn his criminal justice degree in May.

"I don't have no problem coming back," Powe said. "I mean, coming back is not an issue to me. I'll come back. I'm scheduled to graduate in May. That's what I always wanted, just to get a degree from Ole Miss since I came here. I like this place and enjoy being around here, so I'm not worried about leaving or whatever."

Powe said he's been educated on the potential labor standoff between the NFL owners and players, which could ultimately lead to a lockout in 2011. Powe said the outcome or leaning in the unsettled labor agreement could play a role in his decision.

"That weighs a lot, but I haven't looked to (my decision) too much. Right now, I'm worried about the task at hand. But I have been educated on that and the possibility of a lockout. Whatever happens will happen. I'm worried about this season right now," he said.

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