Jonathan Cornell -

Ole Miss Middle Linebacker Jonathan Cornell went down to injury early in the 2007 season. He's been working hard ever since to regain his pre-injury form. Hopefully, he is there now. Read about it inside.

Unless you've been through a serious regimen of injury therapy designed to help you regain your status as an SEC football player, don't pretend to know what Rebel Middle Linebacker Jonathan Cornell has been through since he was knocked out of the Missouri game early last year.

And it wasn't just any old injury - it was a shoulder injury, the shoulder being the most dominant weapon any football player, particularly a linebacker, has.

After nearly six months of getting up every morning before the roosters crowed, the talented sophomore is now back in his element, chasing down running backs in spring training.

"It was a long rehabilitation, but it's over now and it feels good to be back out here," said Cornell, a man of few words. "It hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be to get back into the swing of things, but it is still feels a little different.

"I haven't been in pads in a long time. The staying low and being in the right body position is different, but other than that, I feel good."

Jonathan got a lot of help during his comeback. Even though he had to pull the wagon, he got support and encouragement around him.

"The training staff does a great job and my coaches and teammates have been very encouraging," he continued. "Dexter (McCluster) had a similar injury and he said it would take time but it would be alright."

As little as a month ago, it was not clear if Cornell would be turned completely loose this spring for full contact. That was his goal during rehab, but he wasn't sure if the doctors and trainers would give him the green light.

They did and now he's at practice trying to shake some of the rust off.

"I'm not going to worry about contact. If it happens again, it happens again - there's nothing I can do about it, so I'm just going to go out there and play. It can't be any worse than it was, so I'm just going to go out there and go," he explained. "So far, it (the shoulder) has felt pretty good in the contact I have had.

"It has felt good, better than I thought it would."

Cornell is in the mix at MLB with senior Chris Bowers and senior Tony Fein. He knows it's a battle.

"There's stiff competition for the job, but you expect that. All you can do is come out here and compete and do the best you can," he closed. "The best man will win the job."

On just the third day of spring training, Cornell started getting some serious reps with the first team and he drew Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt's attention.

"Jonathan is starting to surface more and more," said Nutt. "He is rusty, you can tell that, but I can also tell he has some good skills that just need to get cleaned up and shined."

OM Spirit Top Stories