Ole Miss' Kentrell Lockett had long since proven himself as a football player in the SEC before this season ever began.
He was the league's active leader in career tackles for loss with 23.5 entering the season, but he was also coming off a torn ACL in his right knee. It's an injury that he's still not all the way back from, but Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt stressed Wednesday that nobody is writing off Lockett.
"He's getting better," Nutt said. "When you have four surgeries, and the last one was major, that's hard to come back from now. It's just a lot of work to get your total strength back, your quickness and that first step. He's working extremely hard to get it back, but it's just very difficult."
Lockett was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after injuring his knee against Fresno State last season. He also missed the 2006 season with a shoulder injury.
He's played in all four games for the Rebels this season, but clearly hasn't been his old productive self from his defensive end spot. He has just one solo tackle and five tackles overall and has yet to record a tackle for loss.
"He's getting better, and he will get more plays," Nutt said. "That's the thing about Kentrell. He has tremendous experience and a tremendous want-to, and I just think he'll be there for us."