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Laquon Treadwell Should Thrive for Ole Miss Rebels with Vince Sanders Injured

Ole Miss Rebels-Vince Sanders

Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries are inevitable in the game of football and Ole Miss was faced with that inevitability Saturday when Vince Sanders suffered a broken collarbone in practice after his teammate brought him down in one-on-one drills.

Sanders was second only to Donte Moncrief in receiving yards and touchdowns last year with 504 yards and four touchdowns on 39 receptions as a junior. He was penciled in as the starter at the X receiver position. The injury is expected to keep Sanders out for six to eight weeks as he recovers from the surgery that all but rules him out for the team’s first three games.

Ole Miss opens on the road vs. Vanderbilt Aug. 29 and then host Southeast Missouri Sept. 7 before traveling to Austin to take on Texas exactly six weeks from the date of the injury. The silver lining is there is a bye week the following week before traveling to Alabama Sept. 28 and would appear to be the likely return date for Sanders.

In his absence I fully expect Laquon Treadwell—the No. 1 wide receiver recruit last year—to fill the void and to be quite successful. When Sanders comes back you can bet this Rebel aerial assault will be something Ole Miss fans haven’t seen in years.

Ole Miss Rebels-Laquon Treadwell

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Some may scoff or worry about the pressure that comes with a freshman starting this soon, but the 6’3” receiver was already under pressure as an elite recruit coming to a school with heightened expectations and pressure to win from an excited fan base. Pressure is something Treadwell uses for motivation to make him as good as he can be. Pressure makes diamonds and Treadwell will shine in Sanders’ absence.

Treadwell has Moncrief-like ability and enters college with a higher ceiling than his potential All-American teammate. Moncrief was pressed into action as a true freshman in 2011 and finished his season with 31 receptions and 454 yards and four touchdowns.

Treadwell should have no problem eclipsing those numbers as a freshman and although the injury to Sanders is unfortunate it will accelerate the development of one of the Rebels’ top recruits. In the short-term it will test the depth at wide receiver where Ja-Mes Logan, Cody Core, Korvic Neat, Quadarias Mireles and Quincy Adeboyejo will need to elevate their level of play.

However, in the long-term Treadwell’s additional physical reps on the practice field and mental reps in the film room will pay large dividends. He’s a special player and will make it difficult for Sanders to get his starting position back when he is healthy.

Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and add him to your Google network.