Lockett sustained an anterior cruciate knee ligament (ACL) injury in the fourth game last season. He had already missed the season opener with an unrelated condition.
"It feels great, it feels great. I feel like I'm going to have the freshest legs in the SEC this year," said Lockett, who like Ole Miss offensive lineman Bradley Sowell, was making his second appearance at SEC Media Days.
Lockett registered just three tackles in limited playing time last season but was named preseason All-SEC first team on the strength of his 2009 campaign when he had 10 tackles for loss, five sacks and 13 quarterback pressures.
In the spring the NCAA granted him a sixth season of eligibility. He was unable to compete as a true freshman because of a shoulder injury.
"Many a nights I was worried and worried about it. People who were around me could tell you. They knew, if I wasn't saying anything, you could see it. But when I finally got word, I turned back into my old self. It's like having fun all over again," he said.
Tailback Brandon Bolden was named to the media's preseason All-SEC third team Friday.
Bolden, the third-leading returning rusher in the league, was left off the coaches' team even with better numbers than several who made the squad.
"That stuff doesn't matter to me. I actually found out by somebody re-tweeting it," Bolden said. "They don't think too highly of me, then they just don't think too highly of me. Evidently I didn't do something right last year, and I plan to do it right this year."
Bolden also led the team in receptions with 32 and in all-purpose yards with 1,320. He scored a team-high 17 touchdowns, 14 rushing and three receiving.
As Nutt emphasized the young talent he has in the program he put an early burden on freshman linebacker C.J. Johnson.
"He'll be second-team from Day 1, and he'll have every opportunity to play a lot of football," Nutt said.
An impact from Johnson would have been expected anyway, but it became much more necessary late in spring drills with junior D.T. Shackelford went down with torn knee ligaments and sophomore Clarence Jackson, who had been penciled in to replace Shackelford, was dismissed from the team.
Johnson was rated the state's No. 1 recruit by Rivals.com.
"He doesn't look like a guy coming out of high school," Nutt said. "He looks the part, and we'll give him every opportunity to get in the mix."
Johnson had 149 tackles and two interceptions at Philadelphia High School last year.
He made off-the-field headlines earlier this year when he pulled his Twitter account after posting what was described by university officials as questionable content.
Brunetti out front
Nothing has changed on Nutt's stance regarding his quarterbacks.
Sophomore Barry Brunetti holds a slight edge over junior college transfer Randall Mackey as camp approaches.
Nutt said Brunetti, a transfer from West Virginia who was granted a waiver by the NCAA of its one-year residency requirement, would start if the Rebels played today.
"I'm hoping coach (David) Lee will have all that figured out within 10 or 11 days of camp," Nutt said.
Players report Aug. 5, and the Rebels open the season Sept. 3 at home against Brigham Young.