LaMark Armour

After offseason surgery on an ACL knee injury, sophomore Defensive End Lamark Armour is ready to get back in his football groove. He's still got some rehabbing to do, but he is optimistic he can make an August return. Read about it inside.

LaMark Armour, a sophomore defensive end from Nashville, came to Ole Miss a year ago as an eager 235-pounder with a fast motor.

He impressed Coach Ed Orgeron and the defensive staff with his abandon and his knack for making big plays.

Armour played in two games as a true freshman - UT and Arkansas - and earned a letter for his efforts.

His future looked very promising, but he hit a roadblock he's now trying to overcome. A knee injury cost him the entire spring session and he's now rehabbing from ACL surgery in the offseason.

"I'm only four months out from surgery and I'm about 85% right now," said Armour. "Some days when I try to do some squats in the weight room, I don't feel like I'm that far along, but on normal days, I feel OK.

"Hopefully, I am going to be ready for August practice, but I'm still not 100% sure. I don't want to say I won't be ready - that's a negative thought. If there's any way I can practice, I will and I feel good about my chances."

After missing spring, Armour says he has to look at his situation like he's a newcomer.

"Even though I played some last year, I lost a lot of ground to the returning players who went through spring," he explained. "I have to take the approach that I am starting over. I have to stay hungry and not take for granted that I did play some last year."

Armour will try to crack the lineup at the rush (LEO) end position. He will start off behind sophomore Chris Bowers and redshirt freshman LeRon King, who is also working some at linebacker.

"I like LEO. I like the idea of getting after the quarterback. It fires me up. At LEO, you have more opportunities for QB sacks than you normally do at DE, so it keeps you pumped up and eager," Armour noted.

Wile Armour may be "starting over," he will attack the task in a different package.

"I was 235 pounds last year. Right now, I'm 258 and feel good about the weight I've gained. My goal is to be 265 by the time August starts, but I have to make sure I gain it the right way," added Armour, who is 6-2. "I feel stronger and don't feel like I have lost any movement other than the rehab I'm going through with the knee."

Armour is excited about his prospects with a heavier frame. He's also excited about the potential of the Rebel defensive front.

"I think I will be a more physical player at 260 than I was at 235. I got blocked some last year when 25 pounds would have made a difference," he stated. "I know we lost a lot of good players on the defensive front, but it's our turn now. We're real young - we have no seniors and only two juniors, Brandon Jenkins and Jeremy Garrett - but I also think we are real talented. We will all be better this time around because we know the system and most of us have a little experience. We're not going into the season totally blind. We know what faces us.

"And the team has a different makeup this year. We are a lot closer than we were a year ago. We are more motivated and more together this year. That will make a difference."

LaMark is also fired up about the newcomers on the team. When asked about them, his eyes lit up.

"Wow, man, they are going to be good. They deserve the rankings they got from the recruiting services. They are really athletic," he ended. "Once they get adjusted to the rigors of college football, I think they will impact this team in a hurry."

Armour hopes he will pick up where he left off last season - as someone the coaches are keeping a close eye on and have high hopes for.

With 23 new pounds of muscle and with a knee well on its way to recovery, LaMark Armour could be a strong factor on the 2006 defense.

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