Willis' rehab on schedule

Offseason foot surgery kept All-American MLB Patrick Willis out of spring training, but it didn't keep him out of the training and weight rooms. Consequently, his rehab is on course and he's expecting a release from his doctors to go "full speed" very soon. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss All-American MLB Patrick Willis isn't overaly interested in the upcoming NFL draft this weekend other than to pull for some of his Rebel teammates who might get drafted. He says he will not be glued to the television set.

It just doesn't concern him.

"After I made my decision to come back to Ole Miss for my senior year, I have not looked back and I'm not going to be watching the draft to see where I might have gone," said Willis. "I'll be interested to see where my teammates get drafted, but I won't be watching the linebackers who get drafted and wondering where I might have gone. It serves no real purpose. I made my decision and it's a good one. I wish them all good luck, but beyond that. . . . I'm not concerned."

What does serve a purpose for Willis, who was one of the most prolific and feared defenders in the nation last year, is getting himself back on the practice field at full speed.

"People come up to me all the time asking if I'll be ready next season," P-Willie smiled. "I know they mean well, but sometimes I want to say 'are you serious? Of course I'll be ready - it's all I work for.'

"My rehab is going very well. Each day I can feel myself getting a little better. Right now, I'm not supposed to be jogging much, but after treatment I will sometimes jog around a little to see how it feels. It feels great."

Willis will go to see his doctor next week for a check up.

"There are a lot of muscles that support the bone in my foot that was broken. I have been strengthening them in rehab. I hope I'm going to get good news to start cutting and running and doing whatever I want to real soon," he stated. "My goal is to be able to compete the first day of summer varsity workouts."

Willis is self-motivated to come back strong, but he's also getting a lot of support from different angles that is also spurring him on.

"My teammates come up to me all the time saying 'I can't wait for you to come back - I want some of you.' I know they are playing with me to motivate me. The training staff, the coaching staff, the fans - they've all encouraged and driven me," Willis added. "All of that has helped motivate me to come back even stronger. I know the guys in the training room are getting tired of seeing me (laughs), but they've been great."

While Patrick couldn't run, he had to shift his attention to things he could do.

"I hit the weights as hard as I could and studied film a lot and did whatever I could to make the rest of my body and mind better while my foot was healing," he explained. "I'm 243 pounds now and feel a lot stronger.

"I wasn't able to do maxes in the spring, but my reps are up. I can do more reps with more weight than I could last spring."

Willis also drew some inspiration from watching a TV show recently.

"I watched the 'Beyond the Glory' piece on Priest Holmes. After he was injured, a lot of people doubted him," Patrick said. "It hit me that some people are going to dout whether you can come back from injury, but you have to do like he did and prove them wrong."

When, not if, Willis comes back, he says his goal will be to do the same things that made him one of the top players in the country last season.

"I will compete and be a team player. I don't take anything for granted. I'm not just competing to be the best MLB at Ole Miss, even though that's the first goal, I'm competing to be the best MLB in the whole nation," he closed.

Hopefully, and likely, that process will begin very soon.

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