As we wrote in our Spring Practice Primer earlier this week, the biggest question facing the Ole Miss Rebels this spring -- despite having a new face at quarterback -- is how well Houston Nutt and defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix can rebuild a defense that was shredded for much of 2010 and loses most of what experience it had.
But thanks to an NCAA ruling announced yesterday, the Rebels won't lose quite as much as they might have thought; potential All-SEC defensive end Kentrell Lockett has been granted a sixth year of eligibility after his 2010 season was cut short by a knee injury after just four games.
Lockett responded with typically charismatic glee for a player whose (since discontinued) Twitter feed earned its own cult following :
“I finally can go to sleep now, man,” Lockett said. “It’s been since September, you know, didn’t know what was going to happen. Just the uncertainty of it all was killing me, man. I cried many a night. I’ve been crying all day, I’m happy.”Lockett's return mean the Rebels will return a player who racked up double-digit tackles-for-loss in his last full season and whose five sacks placed him second on the team in 2009. Though defensive end is one of the few places where Ole Miss would have had some measure of depth regardless (thanks to players like senior JUCO transfer Wayne Dorsey and junior Gerald Rivers), Lockett automatically becomes their best, most experienced player at the position.
So it's no surprise Nutt reacted to the news in the most Houston Nutt fashion possible:
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt opened his post-practice visit to reporters by smiling and rubbing his hands together.Never change, Coach.