Hello, Again

Ole Miss junior wide receiver Laquon Treadwell feels like a new man.


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That’s because, in many ways, he is.

Much has changed for Treadwell since his devastating injury against Auburn in November. He attacked rehab and returned well before anyone expected him to (he could have practiced in the spring, but his coaches wisely exercised caution), and he shed some pounds. Treadwell is down to 210 from 225 as a sophomore.

He’s added speed and burst, and he’s confident as the Rebels’ season-opening game against UT-Martin draws closer. Ole Miss will host the Skyhawks Saturday at 11 a.m.

“The team is very excited,” he said. “We’ve got a lot to prove this year.”

Possibly no player more so than Treadwell.

He’s out to show he’s the superstar talent many expect him to be, the talent he’s been before; that he’s not limited in any way, shape or form. The 6-foot-2 Treadwell was a preseason first-team All-America selection by Athlon and Lindy’s, and a second-team pick by Sporting News, Phil Steele and others.

“It’ll be fun. I’m ready to score again,” Treadwell said. "I’m ready to feel the atmosphere all over again. I’m blessed to be playing again. It’s all been a process, and I’ve loved it. I’m a lot faster. Coming in and out of my breaks, I feel comfortable. I feel like I have more wind now, just able to run faster and keep my endurance up.”

He’s not thinking too much about the first tackle, either. He said he was tackled “a couple of times” in fall camp, but he simply “shook it off and bounced up.” There’s nothing holding him back.

It’s simply time for Treadwell to be, well, Treadwell. He enters the season ranked 13th in school history with 120 career receptions, and his three career 100-yard receiving games are tied for seventh-most in school history.

He’ll again be the centerpiece of the Ole Miss offense, even if a few faces have changed. Junior college transfer Chad Kelly is set to start the season opener, and the offensive line has seen its share of changes, including the emergence of true freshman Javon Patterson at left guard.

Treadwell believes the Rebel attack can be even better than previous seasons.

“It’s not even close. Everything is 10 times better,” he said. “We’re moving a lot faster, and the talent helps. Having the bigger receivers on the outside allows (Ole Miss head) coach (Hugh) Freeze to mix up his offense. And with the talent we have on defense, we have a lot going on.

“He’s actually got us going for perfection. We want perfection. We’re able to do that with the talent and the depth on offense.”



Ole Miss TE Jeremy Liggins


RANDOM NOTES:


* Much has been made of the first-team offensive line, but for arguably the first time in Freeze’s four years at Ole Miss, the second-team unit looks like how a second-team SEC unit should. From left to right: Christian Morris, Aaron Morris, Ben Still, Jordan Sims and Sean Rawlings. Good mix of high-upside guys and a few players with experience. Much-improved group.

* Fall camp is a time for experimenting, even if it’s game week. Ole Miss has been playing around with some unique personnel packages on offense, including a few potential wrinkles that feature a couple of defensive players, which we won’t go into here for obvious reasons. Could be something, could be nothing. That’s what August is for.

* Carlos Davis (broken finger), Tony Conner (knee) and Kailo Moore (hamstring) all practiced Monday. Rod Taylor (shoulder), as expected, did not. Jeremy Liggins, who dealt with a hamstring injury midway through camp, has been back for a while now. He’s full-go for UT-Martin. “I’m feeling better, man. I can move all the way. Full go, man. Full blast.”

* Speaking of Liggins, expect to see him much more involved in the Rebel offense this season, not only in jumbo packages as a quarterback - which Liggins said we’ll “see a lot of” - but as a pass-catching tight end. He has underrated hands, and he said he put in a lot of time in the offseason on the juggs machine and in individual work. “I feel like I can contribute to the offense a lot. I can play a lot of roles in this offense, and I’m willing to do whatever they ask me to do,” Liggins, who is currently around 290, said. “Being in the system a year, that helped me out a lot. I think a lot of people sleep on me running routes. I think that can be a big part of my game this year, running routes and catching the ball.”

* As we’ve previously reported, Tony Bridges and Ken Webster are currently penciled in as the starting cornerbacks. To some, that may come as a bit of a surprise, but defensive coordinator Dave Wommack has praised Webster already in camp, going so far as to say Webster is possibly the best cornerback on the roster. He spoke more about he sophomore following practice Tuesday. “He’s gotten stronger,” he said. “Change of direction, top-end speed and all that. The weight room has helped him tremendously. He needs to be more physical at times.”

* Wommack “really loves the talent” of his linebackers. The coaching staff will take a by-committee approach in regards to playing time, with C.J. Johnson, Denzel Nkemdiche and others leading the way. “The guys that have really come on are Terry Caldwell, and Christian Russell has made huge improvement. I love Taylor Polk because he’s so smart. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. C.J., Denzel and Gates has made a lot of progress, too.”


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