Jeremy Garrett

Ole Miss Defensive Tackle Jeremy Garrett was set to have an excellent 2006 season. All those plans were washed away with an early knee injury, but he did come back strong in the last few games, anchoring a DL that got stingy with him in the lineup. Read about it inside.

Defensive Tackle Jeremy Garrett had put in as much effort as anyone during the spring and summer of 2006.

He had earned a starting slot at nose tackle and was looking forward to the '06 season.

His plans never materialized after an early-season knee injury sidelined him for several weeks.

"I got thrown a curve ball I wasn't expecting," said the rising senior. "It hurts when they (trainers and doctors) tell you that you are going to miss a few games. I'd put in so much work and effort to get where I was and to finally get my shot at starting.

"But you quickly accept that injury is just part of football and you have to make the most of your situation. If you mope around about it, that's wasted time of not rehabbing and getting back healthy."

J.G. came back late in the season, but he was never 100%.

"I played at about 70%, in my mind," said Jeremy. "I never got my speed back and I could feel it when I was taking on blocks and trying to cut, but I gave it all I had. That's what you have to do. When the trainers tell you that you can go, you go with all you've got."

Jeremy diligently rehabbed while he was out and just waited on the word that he could return, at any percentage.

"All I wanted was the green light. When the trainers felt I could push it, I was ready to push it, healthy or not. I stayed in shape and watched film, so mentally and conditioning-wise, I was OK, but the knee did hurt the last few games," he noted. "The injury limited me from doing certain things that I know I can do.

"I was in a situation where I wasn't going to hurt it any worse, in my mind. It was just learing to deal with the knee not being flexible, the pain and the swelling after practice and games. It was difficult to walk after games."

Rest is now the order of the day for Jeremy in the offseason.

"Nobody pressured me to come back, but I wanted to push it. I was like Peria (Jerry). We were both limping around, but we gave the team what we had. That's all you can do," he explained. "Now, we both get a chance to rest and get healthy before spring training."

Garrett "hates" he couldn't have been a bigger part of the season, but as he turns his attention toward 2007, he likes the direction the team is headed in.

"We are very tight. We will miss our seniors. They were good leaders for our team. We came together this year. It didn't produce as many wins as we wanted, but we gave everything we had throughout the year. If we continue along those lines, we'll see better results in 2007," he stated. "We finished hard. We are looking forward to recruiting to see who the staff can bring in here and the offseason."

The motto of the 2007 will be to finish.

"We were so close to having a good season this year. Now we have to finish what we started. We have to find a way to turn those two or three plays that didn't go our way and decided several games to go our way," said J.G. "That process started last Sunday.

"We've got some continuity this year. We've got all our coaches back and we know and understand the system, the routine, the intensity, the direction and what we have to do. There is no guessing now," Garrett noted. "It's bigger, stronger, faster time for us now.

"We have to work hard in the offseason and it's time for the new seniors, such as myself, to take charge and lead. As I said, we will miss the leaders we had this year - they were great, but now it's our turn and we have to pick up the ball where they left off."

Garrett said leadership is something you earn by leading.

"I've tried to be a leader of my class since I have been here, but now, as a senior, the responsibility gets a little more intense. Now, we have to lead the whole team. I think we will lead by showing the younger guys how it's done and by being good role models for them," he added. "Then, after you earn the respect of your teammates by leading, you are accepted as a leader.

"I want to be one of the leaders the younger guys depend on and come to for help. I want to do my part to help the 2007 seniors go out with a bang."

Jeremy believes he has time to get healthy before spring training and be 100% for August drills.

"I don't see any problems on the horizon. I just have to heal up and get bigger and stronger so I can avoid injuries my last year," Garrett closed. "We've got some good DL coming back. We'll have more experience with Brandon Jenkins, Peria Jerry, and me on the inside and Marcus Tillman, Chris Bowers and Greg Hardy on the outside. Whoever we can add to that will be a bonus. We are excited about the unit we can be next year."

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