After overcoming a horrific injury in the 2016 season opener against FSU, Ole Miss cornerback Ken Webster returned as an anchor of the Rebels’ defense and is now looking forward to this week’s NFL Draft.
OXFORD, Miss. — Ken Webster is the very definition of perseverance. His gruesome leg injury suffered on the first defensive series against the Florida State Seminoles in the Rebels’ opening game of his junior season was such that many wondered if he would ever play football again.
Defying the odds, Webster, who earned a medical redshirt for that injury, returned in 2017 as a redshirt junior and anchored the Ole Miss defense his final two seasons at a time when the Rebels desperately needed him.
Webster was a 4-star prospect who was rated as the 25th-best cornerback in the nation when he came out of Stockbridge High School in Georgia. He was the first ever AJC Super 11 pick from his high school and was named Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year, leading Stockbrige to the 4A state semifinals. Not surprisingly, he was named team MVP.
Ken played in every game and started one as a true freshman for the Rebels in 2014. He was in on 22 tackles and two pass deflections on an Ole Miss unit that finished first in the nation in scoring defense in 2014, allowing only 13.8 points per game.
As a sophomore in 2015, Ken started every game for the Rebs and was in on 41 tackles, three tackles for loss, 11 pass deflections, and one pass interception.
Then, disaster struck.
I’ll never forget being in the press box at Camping World Stadium in Orlando as I watched Ken defend a deep pass to Seminoles’ wideout Kermit Whitfield. Ken leapt up—but on the way down his knee seemed to get caught in the turf, bending the complete wrong way. Along with everyone else, I watched in horror as he was carted off the field, obviously in agony.
I have never watched that replay and refused to look as it was shown over and over and over in the press box. I said a silent prayer for Ken that day and have thought about his injury — and the strength it took to come back from it — many times in the ensuing years.
In 2017, Ken made his way back from injury, playing in 10 games and starting five. His senior season of 2018 saw him remain a steady force on the Ole Miss defense, finishing with 33 tackles, one tackle for loss, eight pass deflections and two interceptions in his 10 games played.
So, like Rebel fans everywhere, it warmed my heart when Ken was invited to the 2019 NLF Combine. We’ve seen him through the highs of a Sugar Bowl victory and the lows of a devastating injury. He has truly emerged on the other side and is now ready to continue his career at the next level.
At the Combine
Ken was quite impressive at the NFL Combine, running a 4.43 40-yard dash, posting a cornerback-best 43 inches in the vertical jump (and 4th-best of ALL participants), tallying 18 reps (225 lbs.) on the bench press, and posting 11’3” in the broad jump.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) March 4, 2019
Here are Ken’s full results from the Combine:
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 203 lbs.
- Arms: 32”
- Hands: 8 7/8”
- 40-yard Dash: 4.43
- Bench Press: 18 reps
- Vertical Jump: 43”
- Broad Jump: 133 inches
- 3-cone Drill: 6.85
- 20-yard Shuttle: 4.14
After suffering such a catastrophic injury in 2016, Ken Webster has done all he can to show potential NFL teams that he is healed and better than ever—including running a 4.43 40-yard dash at the Combine and jumping out of the gym with a 43” vertical.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) March 4, 2019
Some sources feel Webster has everything that teams look for with excellent speed, ball skills, quick feet and twitchy athleticism, plus an ability to prevent separation.
“Webster is a tremendous overall athlete with great foot speed, initial quickness, and he has great leaping skills. He mirrors a wide receiver well downfield and he has a first-rate recovery speed. He can really get up in the air to make a play on the ball an the has bettered his read and react skills with the ball in flight.”
NFL Draft Analyst Mike Detillier on Ken Webster
Detillier believes Webster has the skills necessary to play at the next level.
“Webster is physical with receivers and he does a solid job redirecting their routes when they come off the line of scrimmage. He’s a strong player for his size and he has bettered his run-support skills.“
Mike Detillier on Ken Webster
Where will Ken go in the Draft?
While opinions are varied as to where Ken will go in the upcoming NFL Draft, most analysts having him being drafted anywhere from the 4th round to being selected as a priority free agent. There’s no doubt Webster helped himself with a very nice showing at the Combine.
One corner I am going to go back and watch more of BECAUSE of how he looked at the combine#OleMiss Ken Webster
— David Syvertsen (@Ourlads_Sy) March 4, 2019
Mike Detillier rates Ken at a 17.04, meaning he projects him as a late 4th or 5th-round pick, while WalterFootball projects the Georgia native as anywhere from a 4th to 6th-round pick, noting: “Webster helped himself by running faster than expected at the combine.”
DraftScout.com has Ken listed as a 4th-7th round draft pick.
The 2019 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, and we look forward to seeing where Ken is elected. It has been a pleasure to cover him throughout his collegiate career, and we wish him nothing but the best in his NFL future.