Striving To Improve

Ole Miss Safety Cody Prewitt made All-American last season and led the Southeastern Conference in interceptions with six, but he's still striving to improve his game this spring.

Cody Prewitt got the nod late last season as a USA Today first team All-American, but you'd never know it from his reaction to the selection or the way he has continued his career.

At the time of the announcement, he was humble and somewhat speechless. Proud, but reserved.

And since, after being concussed in the Music City Bowl, he has remained driven to further develop his game as his senior season approaches.

"I've got a lot of things to work on," said Prewitt as the Rebels reached the midway point of spring training. "I can do better in man coverage and I can certainly catch the ball better when I have the opportunity to make interceptions.

"I should have had 10 or 11 picks last year and I'll work hard to correct that. All-American doesn't mean you're a complete player, and that's what I want to become."

Cody Prewitt
Petre Thomas

DC Dave Wommack, who also coaches the safeties, concurs with Prewitt.

"He's a terrific player who has come up big for us in the past," said Wommack. "Cody does so much for us on the back end of the defense that doesn't show up in the stats, but he knows and I know he can produce even more and he's determined to do that his final season."

Prewitt has become more of a leader, it appears, this spring. He's constantly "coaching" his protege, freshman C.J. Hampton, the heir apparent to Prewitt after the 2014 season, and anyone who needs help in the secondary.

"I have been in this system now for two full years and almost three springs. I know what Coach Wommack wants and am able to lend that experience and knowledge to my teammates," he explained. "I want to help everyone reach their potential and to get there myself."

So far, Prewitt likes what he has seen out of the Rebel defense this spring.

"We have some new, and healthy, faces out there who bring a lot of energy to the team," Prewitt, who was second on the team last year with 71 tackles, said. "Having C.J. Johnson back healthy is a huge plus to us. He's a leader and a guy who gives everything on every play, in practice and in games. That's infectious. Everyone looks up to C.J. because he makes plays and he's a vocal guy who fires us all up.

"Fadol Brown is another great addition because he plays with a lot of energy too. The same with Anthony Alford and Christian Russell and Herbert Moore and Marquis Haynes. They have all added a lot to our defense."

Being two-deep across the board in the secondary will also benefit the Rebels, Prewitt believes.

"Even though we didn't mind it, last year some of the starters did not have the option of taking a break or letting fatigue play a part in our game," explained Prewitt, who also had 13 pass breakups and 4.5 tackles for loss in 2013. "It helps when you can get a series off here and there and it helps the younger guys gain experience.

"I don't like to take plays off, to be honest. I have been playing iron man ball my whole career, but the truth of the matter is that every once in a while I need a break and it's nice to be able to trust the guys behind you to come in and perform with no drop in production."

The "guy" behind him right now is Hampton.

"He's really surprised me and impressed me with the way he has picked up everything quickly, very quickly," Prewitt assessed. "To go along with his natural ability, he's doing really well. I can already tell he's going to be a solid player quickly and then just keep improving from there."

Prewitt also likes the moves the coaches have made with Cheif Brown moving to Husky with Tony Conner and Alford being with Trae Elston at the other safety.

"Chief is a natural at Husky and Anthony plays with a lot of energy and ability. He and Trae will be excellent at strong safety," Prewitt noted. "I think we will have a solid two-deep across the board this year and that will just make the whole defense stronger."

Prewitt's bottom line about the Rebel defense is optimistic.

"I think we are going to be real good on defense next year provided we all continue to play with energy and we all stay focused on improving," he closed. "This team has a good attitude and that will pay dividends as the year progresses."

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