Leading Receiver

Laquon Treadwell, the Rebels’ stellar sophomore wide receiver, said Tennessee’s defense will pose challenges for him and his offensive teammates.

“Their defense is very physical,” said Treadwell, Ole Miss’ leading receiver with 30 receptions for 415 yards and four touchdowns. “They’re young but they play hard.”

The Volunteers, who face the Rebels at 6 p.m. Saturday in Oxford, remind Treadwell of his own team in some regards.

“It’s kind of similar to how we play,” he said of the Vols’ defense. “They’ve probably just got a couple of young players on the team that’s still learning the tempo of the SEC. But they’re a very good defense.

“Their linebacker spot is very strong. They’ve got great running backs and cornerbacks. They’re putting their pieces together, and I feel like they’ll be a great team for us to play this weekend.”

Treadwell is obviously one of the Rebels’ go-to guys on the offensive side of the ball. He had a solid freshman season in 2013 and is again a dependable target for Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace.

He is a big receiver, not extremely tall at 6-foot-2, but weighing in a 229 pounds. He’s an important target and a reliable weapon.

Treadwell said Bo Wallace is equally dependable as the team’s signal-caller and field general. He’s seen the senior leader take it to another level the past couple of games.

“I feel like Bo is more focused the last couple of weeks,” he said. “They were big games. I think he’s taking the time and watching film and doing all the little things to help himself out in the games.”

After the wins over Alabama and Texas A&M, the Rebels stand 6-0 overall and are tied with Mississippi State for the Southeastern Conference lead at 3-0. This weekend the Bulldogs are open. Ole Miss has a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the SEC – if they can defeat Tennessee.

With the possibility of the team starting 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC, Treadwell knows they must be as focused and prepared as they were for the last two games. He believes the Rebels are ready to build on those first six games, specifically the wins over the Crimson Tide and the Aggies.

“We had the confidence but those were statement games,” he said. “We feel like if we can keep that up, we can go a long way.

“Stay focused and listen to the coaches. Just do all the little things, and I think the players are holding each other accountable.”

Treadwell is averaging 13.8 yards per catch. He has a long reception this season of 63 yards. But he talked about some short passes, specifically screen passes, the Rebels threw at Texas A&M.

“It was great. I didn’t think they would call it, because we really didn’t work on it that much last week,” Treadwell said. “I think Coach (Hugh) Freeze was just going with what the (Aggie) defense gave us.”

Treadwell came to Ole Miss from Crete, Ill., a southern suburb of Chicago near northwest Indiana. He was extremely highly recruited, a five-star player out of high school and was listed as the nation’s No. 1 high school wide receiver in the Class of 2013 by many publications and polls.

Treadwell was the SEC’s leading returning receiver heading into this season. He said he felt the Rebel program could be this far along at this point, but he wasn’t sure. He does like the way things are headed, and said he and his teammates have a lot left to accomplish this season.

“It feels great, having the vision of changing the program,” he said. “And I know the seniors here feel good about the couple of wins we just had.

“I knew we had a chance, if everybody bought in. They have, and I think it’s showing.”

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