By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD – Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett of Hahnville, La., has been selected as the 21st recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award, which goes to a rising senior defensive player each year.
The award, sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, honors the late Chucky Mullins, who had his Ole Miss career come to an end during the 1989 Homecoming game against Vanderbilt when he was paralyzed after making a tackle. After returning to his studies at Ole Miss, Mullins passed away on May 6, 1991.
The selection of Lockett was announced during Thursday night’s Chucky Mullins Courage Award Banquet, which is sponsored each year by Phi Beta Sigma and Phi Kappa Psi fraternities. Lockett will be recognized Saturday afternoon when Ole Miss conducts the Cellular South Grove Bowl spring football game, set for 1 p.m. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium/Hollingsworth Field.
Other finalists for the award included safety Johnny Brown, linebacker Jonathan Cornell, tackle Ted Laurent, tackle Jerrell Powe and linebacker Allen Walker. In addition to the revealing of the winner, attendees were addressed by past recipient and current Duke assistant coach Derek Jones, who offered his reflections on Chucky Mullins and the significance of the honor.
“This award has really grown on me,” said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt. “Once you understand and hear the stories from Coach (Billy) Brewer, and you hear these past recipients talk about what it means, it breaks you down a little bit. Each year everyone is very anxious to see who is going to be chosen the winnner. It’s awfully special.
“I think every one of the finalists would have been a good representative. It was very difficult, but we’re pleased with the selection. (Kentrell) has always been a class act. He’s a special guy, a trememdous leader for us and an excellent football player.”
Lockett, who wears No. 40, will have the honor of wearing a “38″ patch on his jersey during his senior campaign. Mullins wore No. 38 as a player at Ole Miss.
“I’m grateful that the coaches believed in me enough to nominate me with these great guys and to think I’m a responsible enough person to receive this award,” Lockett said. “This shows that hard work and living right pays off.”
A three-year letterman, Lockett has started every game the past two seasons and helped the Rebel defense top the SEC in tackles for loss both years. He earned All-SEC third team honors in 2009, when he recorded a team-high 13 QB pressures and ranked second on the team in both TFLs (10.0) and sacks (5.0).
As a sophomore, Lockett tied for eighth in the conference in TFLs with 11.5, and he gained national notoriety for his historic blocked extra point in the 31-30 upset of eventual national champion Florida in Gainesville.
Lockett joins 20 former Ole Miss Rebels to receive the Chucky Mullins Courage Award. They include Chris Mitchell, Jeff Carter, Trea Southerland, Johnny Dixon, Alundis Brice, Michael Lowery, Derek Jones, Nate Wayne, Gary Thigpen, Ronnie Heard, Anthony Magee, Kevin Thomas, Lanier Goethie, Jamil Northcutt, Eric Oliver, Kelvin Robinson, Patrick Willis, Jeremy Garrett, Jamarca Sanford and Marcus Tillman.