Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in the summer he was eager to see how Laquon Treadwell would handle contact.
Early practices in camp are giving him some idea.
The Rebels’ star wide receiver, a junior and projected first-round draft pick next spring, spent the off-season working his way back from a broken fibula and dislocated ankle suffered in the 35-31 loss to Auburn last Nov. 1. Both teams were ranked in the College Football Playoff Committee’s top four at the time.
Cornerbacks coach Jason Jones says Treadwell has been hit by the defensive backs and has responded well in camp.
“He has. We’re trying to stay up, trying to take care of each other, but the DB’s are driving down trying to make a play on the ball. We’ve had some collisions. He’s been on the ground, and he’ll pop back up, talk trash and get ready for the next play, so he’s definitely back to his old self.”
The rule of thumb in practice is that there is physicality at the point of contact but no tackling to the ground.
Sometimes in football the ground is unavoidable.
Treadwell has maintained that he’s not only healed but better than before. He says he’s gotten quicker through weight loss while gaining strength in the off-season conditioing program.
He’s got a believer in Jones.
“To me he’s back to his old self. He had a heck of a catch today on the sideline. Kendarius (Webster) had great coverage. He went up and got it and made a great play. He’s been making plays like that the entire camp. He’s worked his tail off to get himself back in shape.”