Treadwell Has Respect of SEC Foes

HOOVER, Ala. - Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves was asked here at SEC Media Days which head-to-head player matchup he most looks forward to in 2015.

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He didn’t take long to answer.

Laquon Treadwell,” he said.

Treadwell and Hargreaves have some history. They participated in the same camps and all-star games in high school as highly-recruited, five-star prospects in 2013, including a face-off in the Under Armour All-American game.

They’ll get another shot at each other when Ole Miss travels to face that Gators in Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 3. This time, however, it will be a meeting of two of the best players at their positions in college football. Both are considered potential first round NFL Draft picks, with Hargreaves ranked as one of the top eight overall professional prospects in the country by ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper. Treadwell stands as his No. 1 underclassman wide receiver.

“He likes to get in your grill,” Hargreaves said of Treadwell. “He’s going to push you around.”

That is, when he’s healthy.

Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Treadwell has accomplished plenty in his Ole Miss career, and he’s already earned preseason All-America status from Lindy’s, Sporting News and Phil Steele. But there’s still the question of the leg injury he suffered against Auburn.

Treadwell was dealt a broken fibula and dislocated ankle in the final minutes of a 35-31 loss to the Tigers last November, cutting a season short that saw Treadwell rank third in the SEC with 5.3 catches per game and fifth with 70.2 receiving yards per game. He finished with 632 total receiving yards and five touchdowns.

“It was an extremely big turning point in the game, and extremely unfortunate,” Auburn linebacker Kris Frost, who made the tackle on the play, said. “It was one of those freak accidents. It’s one of those plays that happen playing this rough sport that we do. I know with his tenacity, his work ethic, he’ll be back and ready to go.”

The play was a gruesome one, both mentally and physically. Frost dragged Treadwell, who totaled 10 catches, 103 yards and a touchdown in the game, down from behind. His leg bent as no leg should, and a fumble inches before scoring a go-ahead touchdown only added insult to injury.

Frost, entering his senior season, reached out to Treadwell to wish him well. They texted back and forth, and Frost has kept tabs on him ever since.

“He’s an extremely great player, and I’m excited to see him back on the field,” Frost, the Tigers’ third-leading tackler a year ago, said. “Being able to see him during their spring game, walk around, run around a little bit, is great. He’s a great player and an even better person. I know that he’s going to have a really successful season.”

Taveze Calhoun, a two-year starter at cornerback for Mississippi State, didn’t get his shot at Treadwell last season. The Egg Bowl came two games after Auburn to close the regular season, a game Ole Miss won 31-17 despite Treadwell's absence. Calhoun did face Treadwell as a freshman, though, and remembers the challenge Treadwell presented.

“Laquon Treadwell is a great player,” Calhoun said. “Big, physical guy. He runs routes real well, and he’s got great hands. It’s hard to get the ball out of his hands and hard to stop him on routes. It’s a tough matchup when you’re going against a guy that talented. I wasn’t able to play him last year; got to play him my freshman year. He made a huge impact, and I know he’s gotten better every year. I’m looking forward to playing him again. He brings out the best in you.”

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