He and Bobby Massie made up Ole Miss' bookends at left and right tackle, respectively, as the interior was undergoing a massive overhaul with three new starters.
Whether he thought of himself as a leader or not, he had to be the crafty veteran. He was no longer considered the wide-eyed sophomore suffering growing pains at one of football's more difficult positions.
Eleven games later, Sowell can finally take a much-needed step back.
Because those young players he helped bring along, including guards Jared Duke and Patrick Junen, are settling in at their particular positions. Due to in-season attrition, the pair, along with sophomore center A.J. Hawkins and junior guard Alex Washington, was thrown into the proverbial fire early.
And, in turn, a weakness has become a strength.
"I'm a leader in a way, but it's just kind of different as far as having to worry about a few other guys," Sowell said.
"So far, man, as far as what we've done as a group, it's crazy. I was kind of surprised, but not really, because (offensive line) Coach (Mike) Markuson, it's kind of his style. You take guys who want to play hard and he forms them, man.
"Next year, if you can get a seat in this room, you'll be lucky, because we've got everybody back and some guys coming in. It's going to be a battle in the spring."
The offensive line had its best game to date in a 43-36 loss at then No. 5 LSU. Ole Miss racked up 420 total yards of offense against the SEC's second-best defense statistically, including 236 rushing yards. Better yet, the front allowed only one sack.
"There was a few times were all four (LSU defensive linemen) were on the ground on some plays," Sowell said. "We made a few mistakes, but for the most part, man, taking a defensive line like that – they were big and physical – we just played our hearts out. We really wanted that one. We wanted to battle for a bowl game, and came up just short. It really hurt."
When asked, Sowell couldn't place his finger on what has allowed the younger linemen to develop so quickly. He mostly credited Markuson, while noting how those linemen had been forced into action.
Sowell said a player has one of two choices when pressed into playing time: Either get whooped or fight your way through it.
"They fought their way through it," Sowell said. "I'm really proud of them, man. This is going to be our heart next year, the offensive line. We're going to be the heart of the team. We're going to build it on the offensive line. We're going to try and run over people."
Sowell said he and his fellow linemen will be looking to build off the strong effort at LSU Saturday against in-state rival Mississippi State. But even more, the team in general "really wants this one," considering the heated back and forth between Ole Miss and Mississippi State and its head coaches.
"(Ole Miss head) Coach (Houston) Nutt, he really wants this one," Sowell said. "He feels like he's kind of had it rubbed in his face or whatever. (Mississippi State head coach Dan) Mullen's done a good job of bringing back the rivalry. It's kind of a good thing in a way, because I felt like it was kind of dying for a few years. He's really brought it back. You really want this one a lot."
‘They ain't got no respect for us'
It's been nearly a year since Ole Miss exited Davis Wade Stadium with a 41-27 loss to Mississippi State.
But Jerrell Powe doesn't easily forget.
The senior defensive tackle recalls a one-sided game won by Mississippi State, when the Bulldogs, as he remembers, ran up the score and embarrassed Ole Miss both on and off the field. The defense couldn't stop an option attack led by the one-two combination of Chris Relf and Anthony Dixon, who finished with 133 yards and a touchdown.
Not to mention the postgame quotes from Mississippi State players and coaches, including when Mullen, shortly after the game, took a microphone at midfield and declared to the full-capacity crowd that his program was the one truly on the rise in Mississippi.
"It bothered me a lot, because they kept on pounding us in the mouth," Powe said. "They showed they had no respect and no class for us, because they kept on trying to run it up on us. It just bothered us for 365 (days), you know. We've been adding it up in our locker room since the last game. It's rubbed us in the wrong way, and we're looking for revenge this year."
Powe said he is fully aware of Mullen constantly referring to Ole Miss as "the school up north."
"It's just like I said, they've been rubbing us in the wrong way since last year's game," he said. "They ain't got no respect for us. He won't even call us by our name, so we're definitely looking forward to going out there and earning some respect."
But Powe, who despite being a senior has one year of eligibility remaining, is more concerned with what happens between the lines.
Relf will again be under center for the Bulldogs. The junior has thrown for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns on the season, while adding 617 yards and four scores on the ground. Junior running back Vick Ballard has since replaced Dixon, and leads the team with 849 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.
"I think this team will be better prepared," Powe said. "Last year, we hadn't seen the option all year long, not no excuse, but we hadn't seen it all year long. When we got in the game, we kind of played it pretty good, but then they adjusted to some things and attacked some players we had on the field. We got our eyes in the wrong place and they executed."
Scott excited for first Egg Bowl:
Running back Jeff Scott, a freshman, is new to Egg Bowl week. Also a Florida native, he's yet to be introduced to the annual in-state rivalry.
But having now been a part of the program for a full season, he's developed a better understanding.
"From what I hear, it's a big rivalry," Scott said. "Mississippi State and Ole Miss going at it, they beat us last year. We're just going to come (to practice) every day, work hard and we're going to show up on Saturday."
Scott is expected to receive significant touches Saturday, both in the offensive backfield and on kick returns. He was moved in place of Jesse Grandy as the team's primary kick returner against LSU, totaling 188 yards on seven attempts. He also had six carries for 31 yards.
"I'm excited," he said. "Every week, they're bumping my carries up, giving me a chance to show what I can do. I'm very excited. They've been trying to give me a little bit of plays at a time, but it's coming great. It's coming along."