When Laquon Treadwell was hit from behind as he was closing in on the end zone near the end of the Auburn game, he knew something was wrong, terribly wrong, but he didn't want to believe it.
"I felt it and knew it was bad, but I was going to pop up and try to stand up anyway, hoping it wasn't," he recalls. "When I realized I couldn't, I just laid back down."
That was November 1 of last year.
Just 4 1/2 months later, Treadwell is partially participating in spring training. He's not going through any contact, but he is running routes and catching the ball.
"We're letting him go against air and catch the ball some, but that's all we are going to let him do this spring," said Coach Hugh Freeze after Tuesday's 7th spring practice of 15.
"I feel great being out there with my teammates and being able to run around some," Treadwell continued. "I'm about 80% right now, and there is some hesitation. A lot of the comeback is mental, but I'm getting my rhythm back and feeling better each day.
"I think about the foot a little bit, but less each day."
His rehab has been termed "remarkable" by some and even he was surprised with how quickly he has come back.
"The injury was a learning process for me. I think I matured from it and grew up some," he explained. "I never had any doubt I would come back, but I didn't expect it this quickly. I'm very pleased with where I am and the progress I have made.
"I had some special people helping me in the training room in rehab and it's all paid off. I just had to take it one day at a time and be patient and it paid off. I started gaining confidence when I was able to be more mobile and move around some. From there it has gone pretty fast."
Treadwell isn't sure when he will be 100%, but he knows it's just around the corner.
"It could be a week, two weeks, a month - I just know I'm on the right track and it will come," Quon noted. "Like I said, I'm not back to normal yet, but I am getting there. I have lost some weight - I'm 210 now and was 225 last season. I'm just now getting to where I can do full body workouts, so the weight and strength, especially in my legs, will come."
"It feels good," redshirt sophomore QB DeVante Kincade, a roommate of Treadwell's, said. "Good to see him out there, doing his thing. It feels so good to see him out there, 'cause I know he went through a lot. Now that he's out there running routes, catching passes and getting a feel, he's getting back to old self."
From a team standpoint, Treadwell is pleased with what he is seeing and even singled out some newcomers.
"Tony (Bridges) is doing a great job at corner and having Tee (Shepard) back has meant a lot. Derrick Jones is having a really good spring - he's a playmaker. Quincy Adeboyejo is making plays and (Markell) Pack is catching everything in traffic. Demore'ea (Stringfellow) is looking good too. He's big and can stretch the field. Dayall (Harris) is also a playmaker, real elusive. He's dangerous with the ball in his hands. There are more, but those come to mind quickly," he explained.
He's also keeping a close eye on the quarterback race, that Freeze earlier had declared "dead even" a few minutes before.
"They're all competing and all doing some good things," he stated. "Chad (Kelly) is a lot like Bo (Wallace) in that he's a competitor. He will take some chances - throw it out there and let you go get it. All of them look great to me. None of them have a lot of experience so it's a learning experience for them, but they are all making plays."
Laquon is being mentioned by some preseason magazines as a potential Top 10 pick in next year's NFL draft. His thoughts?
"I don't think about that at all. I'm here with my teammates and that's all that matters," he answered quickly.
That and returning to form.
"As I said, I'm getting there and doing it quickly," he closed.
"It was such a gruesome injury," redshirt sophomore QB Ryan Buchanan said. "Most people said there was no way he could come back in the spring. This is our third week in it and he's already running around and stuff. It's really remarkable to see how fast he's come back."
The road back. . . .
For Laquon Treadwell, the journey is not complete, but he's further along than he, or anyone, thought he'd be at this juncture.
That's nothing but good news for the Ole Miss Rebels.
The Road Back
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