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Ole Miss' Lockett wins Mullins award

Ole Miss senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett has earned one of the most revered honors bestowed upon a Rebels football player.

He was named Thursday as the 21st recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award, which goes to a rising senior defensive player each year.

The award, sponsored by the 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.

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 of the gathering inside the indoor practice facility 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," Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said. "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 winner. 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 tremendous 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 season. 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 Ole Miss 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 quarterback pressures and ranked second on the team in both tackles for loss (10.0) and sacks (5.0).