Ashlee Palmer was touted as having big playmaking ability when he was recruited last December as a safety and came to Ole Miss as a JUCO transfer.
But when spring started, the 220-pounder was asked to dosomething he had never done before - play linebacker.
"I had always been a quarterback and safety, but I didn't mind doing what the coaches asked me to do for the team," said Palmer.
The transition was not an easy one. There were many false steps and assignment busts to live through before it would be complete, but last Saturday, in the Meet The Rebels scrimmage, Palmer showed the adjustment to a "new" position took a definitive step forward.
Palmer was repeatedly making big plays and set the tone of the workout early on with a huge hit on WR Dexter McCluster.
"I was in my coverage zone and read the quarterback. Dexter came across the field and I did my job," Ashlee said. "Unfortunately, it was Dexter, who I really didn't want to hit. After the hit, I looked at Coach O to see if he was going to say anything to me about hitting Dexter like that, but it was all good. Dexter popped up and I was relieved for him and proud I made the hit.
"I don't like hitting my teammates like that, but you do what you have to do. In a real game, that kind of hit can spark your team. I think it did Saturday."
As practices pass by, Ashlee is picking up more and more about the defense and, as a result, is making more and more plays in practice.
"It gets easier and easier once you dig in and learn and really get your assignments in your head," said the speedy LB. "I feel a lot more comfortable at my position now.
"We have good competition out there and the ones who don't learn will be left behind. That's not going to be me. Coach O believes in competition and you have to compete every snap. If not, you will get demoted in a hurry. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are getting there."
Ashlee takes most of the reps with the number one defense. Allen Walker and Scottie Williams are the other two Sam LBs.
"I think we are all physical and all talented. It's just a matter of putting everything together," Palmer noted.
Ashlee was excited with the news that frosh MLB Chris Strong was cleared by the NCAA.
"That kid is unbelievable. Sinc ehis first day here, he's been nothing but downhill. He's a guy you can go to war with anytime," Ashlee said. "It's almsot unfair for a kid to be that big and that fast at the same time."
Palmer is looking forward to the season.
"I've been trying to get to this level for what seems like a long time. I now have the opportunity I've been wanting," he closed. "I plan on making the most of it."
Ashlee Palmer update -
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