Aaron coming back

Published 7:01 am Friday, June 20, 2014

HATTIESBURG —Former Poplarville High standout Jarrell Aaron is hoping to use a solid performance in spring training to earn some playing time in the fall at Southern Mississippi.

Aaron, a 6-foot-5, 200 pounder who will be a redshirt sophomore this coming season, had a bit of a breakout experience in the Golden Eagle receiving corps recently.

He led team in catches and yards in the Black and Gold game, grabbing seven passes for 80 yards including hauling in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Cole Weeks.

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After getting red-shirted his true freshman season, Aaron suffered a knee injury prior to last season meaning that these past spring sessions were the first time he was able to show his talent to the Southern Miss coaches in a game type of situation.

“This was my first career game, so I was pretty happy about. I felt like I worked hard,” the former football and track and field standout at Poplarville High, said. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better, become more confident in my hands. I’ve been really working hard every day.”

The Golden Eagles ended a 23 game losing streak in the season finale last year.

“Last year, I had a torn ACL so I was in a knee brace the whole year,” Aaron added. “This year I can run a whole lot faster, and I’ve become a student of the game, just work on my craft. The beginning of the spring was my first time running without a knee brace. That was a good feeling.”

His play caught the attention of second year Golden Eagles head coach Todd Monken as well.

“That’s why you never give up on young players,” Monken said. “A year ago I would have never guessed, with his knee injury that he’d be where he is now. He’s just a raw athlete.

“If you’re just thinking about ‘how do we get this gangly, average ball-skilled, injured guy to do it’ and he’s really done a great job. He has a world of upside and he hasn’t even reached that yet. But he’s a great kid, and wants to be a good player.”

Southern Miss travels to Mississippi State to open the season on Labor Day weekend. Aaron could be a factor.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled for him,” Monken added. “The better he gets, the more it pushes our older guys. J.A. has really come on, and really has a chance (to contribute), for a guy who came back from a pretty serious knee injury.”