Willis says he is 100% back from foot injury

The SEC's top defensive player has one thing on his mind and one thing only.

"Man, I am just ready to get back out on the field," added Patrick Willis. "It has been a long off-season for many reasons, but now it is time to put all of that behind me and get back to doing what I love doing and that is playing the game of football.

And what an off-season it has been.

It started off with a career decision to return for his senior season or take the money and go in the draft. Willis went with his heart, and head, and decided to come back to Ole Miss to help turn the program around and also improve his draft status.

"I did not want to leave here on a losing note like that. We have had a tough past two seasons, and that really did play a role in my thought process. When I came here, we were all about getting to bowls and winning them. My freshman year, we finished around the Top 10 and won the Cotton Bowl. Everybody just assumed that we would continue doing that, but we hit a bump in the road. I really wanted to be one of the ones that got things turned back around. That was important to me."

And it is exactly that type of attitude that will always leave Patrick Willis as one of the sentimental favorites in Ole Miss history.

"This is just my home. I mean, coming out of high school, Ole Miss was the first school to start recruiting me and they never let up. Even when some other big schools tried to commit me in the later stages of my recruitment, I knew this was the place for me. I would not take away my experiences here for anything. Ole Miss will always be my home away home. I will continue to come back here and support this program and university long after I am gone."

But luckily for Ole Miss fans, the end of the Patrick Willis era is not quite over.

"I am ready to go now. I just got back from the doctor on Wednesday, and I have been cleared."

Will Patrick go full contact during the practices leading up to the Memphis game?

"Yes sir, I am ready to go. It feels wonderful to be released and be ready to go now. I know it was devastating for me not to be able to go, especially in the Spring time, not being able to participate. And not going in the 7 on 7's during the summer time and now being released to go out there full tilt. I am just excited to see if I still got a little left in this tank (laugh)."

Is Patrick tired of hearing about "how his foot" is doing?

"Anytime you get asked the same question over and over and over, yea, it gets old. But at the same time, you know people just want to know what is going on. Now we are getting ready for camp and all of those questions can be put to rest for good."

There is one thing that Patrick can not hide from his excitement, and that is the "new bullets" that have been added to his team.

"It was highly anticipating getting all of these new guys in here. They are so talented. Coach Orgeron is expecting a lot out of us, and I mean we are expecting a lot out of ourselves. Like I said, we have been working hard in the off-season getting stronger, bigger, and faster. Now we are just ready to listen to what Coach Orgeron has to tell us and put it all together during camp."

Patrick sees big things ahead from his linebacker group this season.

"I think our LB unit is going to be better because it is our second year in the system. We have a lot of guys returning that understand the system now and have a lot more confidence in our pass rushing and run stopping and just a better understanding of our defense."

How much of a confidence boost did the team receive when the number one juco player in the country, Brent Schaeffer, arrived on campus?

"It is just a great atmosphere on campus now. We have been waiting for a while for him to get here. Now that he is here, we are just really excited and ready to be behind him a 100% and get everybody on the same page. Anytime you get a player of Brent' caliber on your team, your confidence as a team just shoots straight up. He was recruited highly, and we know he has a lot of experience. And from day one, we signed him to be our starting QB. We are going to do what ever we can to help him feel like this is his team. Today is the first step in coming together as a team."

Lastly, what does Patrick want to see the team accomplish during his senior season?

"I want to see the team accomplish a lot of things. I want to see us come together in all phases, special teams, offense and defense. But first and most, just get back to a winning start...get back to Ole Miss football...just winning a lot of games...just winning...that is what it is all about. That is why I came back here, to help us get back to playing Ole Miss football."

And Mr. P Willie, that is exactly why you will always carry a special place in the heart of every Ole Miss fan.

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