football

Injury doesnt have to mean loss of offers

Reginald carter200 0619
ThemostpainfulmomentforSnellville(Ga.)SouthGwinnettlinebackerReginaldCarterdidn'tcomewhenhehurthiskneeinhisseason-openinggamelastfall.
No,therealagonyoccurredlaterthateveningwhenhereceivedhisofficialdiagnosis.
Carterdidn'tunderstandtheseverityofhisinjuryuntilheunderwentanMRIthatrevealedhehadatornanteriorcruciateligamentinhisrightknee.AssoonasCarterreceivedthatcoldslapofreality,thequestionsstartedenteringhismind.
Whatdidhisfuturehold?Wouldschoolsstartpullingtheiroffers?Howsoonwouldhegetbacktofullstrength?
BeforeCartercouldreallystartfeelingsorryforhimself,hisfatherofferedadoseoftoughlove.Carterstillrememberswhathisdadsaidthatnight.
"Stopcrying,"Carterrecalledhisfathersaying."You'vegottomoveon.We'regoingtowork.We'regoingtogetyoureadyandwe'llshockalotofpeople.It'sgoodithappenednow,notmysenioryear.We'regoingtogetthroughthis."
Carterhasbeenfollowingthatadviceeversince.Sohavetheother2013recruitscomingbackfrominjuriesthatsidelinedthemformostoralloftheirjuniorseasons.
Manyofthemalsofearedtheconstantringsoftheircellphoneswouldfadetosilence.Theyworriedthatschoolswouldstoprecruitingthem.Inmostcases,thathasn'thappened.
"Ithoughtmaybeaftertheinjury,schoolswouldkindofbackoffalittlebit,"saidStatesville(N.C.)HighquarterbackCarlisParker,whotorethelateralcollateralligamentinhisrightkneeinhis2011seasonopener."Butnoschoolswhatsoeverhavebackeddownorwhatever.Allschoolskepttellingmetogetbackinshape,andthey'llstillrecruitmehardandeverything."
Schoolsgenerallyhaven'twithdrawntheirverbalofferstotheseinjuredprospects.
Butinsomecases,they'reshowingmorecaution.
AprimeexampleofthatthinkinginvolvesthecaseofTulsa(Okla.)EastCentralcornerbackStanvonTaylor,thenation'sNo.188overallprospect.Taylor'sonlymajor-conferenceoffersthusfarhavecomefromArkansas,KansasStateandTexasTech.
That'snotatypicalofferlistforaRivals250recruit,yetschoolsapparentlyareremainingwaryasTaylorrecoversfromabrokenanklethatknockedhimoutinhis2011seasonopener.
"Ithinkthisone'sdefinitelyawait-and-seeapproach,"Rivals.comSouthwestrecruitinganalystBrianPerronisaid."Hewasaguywhopickeduphisfirstcoupleofoffersbeforehisjuniorseason.He'saguywho'sbeentalkedaboutalongtime,realtalented.Ithinkschoolsreallywanttoseehowhedoescomingback.Ithinkthisspringwillgoalongwaytowarddoingthat."
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PlentyofotherRivals250recruitsalsoweresidelinedformuchoftheirjuniorseasons.
NorthLittleRock(Ark.)runningbackAlteeTenpenny(No.20)brokehisankleearlyinhisjunioryear.Destrehan(La.)HighwidereceiverRickeyJefferson(No.104),theyoungerbrotherofformerLSUquarterbackJordanJefferson,toreanACL.LosAngeles(Calif.)CathedralquarterbackHaydenRettig(No.123)alsohadatornACL.Bastrop(Texas)HighcornerbackAntwuanDavis(No.171)isrecoveringfromastressfractureinhisback.Katy(Texas)HighrunningbackAdamTaylor(No.247)sufferedakneeinjuryinhis2011seasonopenerandmissedtherestoftheyear.
Someoftheseplayersweresohighlyregardedanywaythattheinjuryhadlittleimpactontheirrecruitment.TenpennycommittedtoAlabamainlateJanuary,thoughheislistedasa"softverbal."Davis,JeffersonandRettigareuncommittedbuthaveplentyofoffersfromnationalpowers.
"Itwasn'tlikeItoreanythinginmyarm,"saidRettig,theyoungerbrotherofBostonCollegequarterbackChaseRettig."Everyonehaskneeinjuries.Everyonegoesthroughitandeveryonehassurgery.Coachestellmeallthetimethisisaregularthing,kneeinjuriesareregularthings.Peoplegetbackstrongerthanever.''
Atleastoneplayerhasevenreferredtohisinjuryasapotentialblessingindisguise.
WinterHaven(Fla.)runningbackAdamLanemissedhisentirejuniorseasonwithabrokenfibulainhisrightleg.Lanesaidtheinjurymadeiteasierforhimtomakehiscollegechoicebasedonhowschoolsactedtowardhimafterward.
WhileLanenotedthateachoftheschoolsrecruitinghimsaidalltherightthingsafterhisinjury,hecouldsensewhichcoachescaredthemostabouthissituation.
"Theywereallactingliketheyreallycared,butyoucantellwhensomeoneisgenuinelyconcernedaboutyourinjuryandwellbeing,notjustworryingaboutwhenIcangetbackonthefieldbutwantingtoknowwhatI'mdealingwithemotionally,"Lanesaid."Thatwasabigfactor."
LaneverballycommittedtoFloridainJanuary.HowcouldhesensetheGatorsreallycaredabouthim?
"EverytimeIcalledthem,they'dtellmenotonlytokeepyourheadupbuttomakesureyourteammatesarewithyouandtomakesureyoukeepyourteammateshypedupthewholetime,"Lanesaid."(Theysaid)don'tbecomeastrangertotheteam.Alwaysbeatallthepracticesandhelpthemkeeptheirheadsup."
Thecommittedplayersalreadyhavegiventhemselvesatleastaperceptionofsecurityastheyrecuperatefromtheirinjuries.TheplayersintheRivals100alsoprobablydon'thavetoworrytoomuchaboutwhetherschoolswillcontinuetopursuethem.
ButtheuncommittedplayersfromoutsidetheRivals250understandhowmuchisatstakefortheminthenextfewmonths.
That'sparticularlytrueofadual-threatquarterbacksuchasParker.WhereasRettigisadrop-backquarterbackwhoreliesmuchmoreonhisarmthanhislegs,Parkerthrivesonhisspeed.Parkerreportedlyranfor1,200yardsandthrewfor1,800yardswhileaccountingfor27touchdownsinhissophomoreseason.
Parkerhasbeenclearedtoresumefullfootballactivities.NowhewantstoshowhestillpossessesthespeedthathelpedhimcollectoffersfromNorthCarolina,N.C.State,SouthCarolina,TennesseeandVirginiaTechamongothers.ParkersaidhealsohadreceivedcontactfromClemson,FloridaandPurdue.Butheknowsthelikelihoodofadditionaloffersdependsonhisfuturehealthandproduction.
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"IthinkIhavealottoprove,"Parkersaid."IfIcomeoutandhaveabadseason,alotofschoolsthatareintheprocessofofferingnowaregoingtobackdown.Thisisgoingtobeabigseason."
Carteralsounderstandstheimportanceofthenextseveralmonths.
HealreadyhasreceivedoffersfromthelikesofAlabama,FloridaState,Georgia,NorthCarolina,SouthCarolinaandTennessee.Cartersaidhe'sprobablyleaningtowardGeorgiaatthispointandnotedtheBulldogs'coacheshadmentionedthattheyhaveahistoryofcontinuingtorecruitplayerswhohadtorntheirACLs.
Carterhasresumedrunning,thoughhehasn'tstartedcuttingyet.Hecan'twaittoshowthathe'sregainedtheformthatmadehimsuchacovetedrecruitinthefirstplace.
"It'sgoingtobeanexcitingyear,"Cartersaid."IfeelmorehungrythanI'veeverbeen.IfeelhungrierbecauseImissedmywholejunioryear.Mostpeople'sstockwentupthisseason.Thatpushedmystockdown,sonowI'vegottoshowthatIcanplay."
Andthat'swhyhecontinuestoheedthewordshisfatherdeliveredlastfall.
There'snomoretimeforcrying.
There'stoomuchworkahead.
SteveMegargeeisthenationalcollegecolumnistforRivals.com.Hecanbereachedatsmegargee@rivals.com,andyoucanclickheretofollowhimonTwitter.
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