Saturday, August 15, 2009

Jay Fullam (whose photos lack surliness) was going to play right away... until hurting his hand and apparently being forced to redshirt

How do you know in the preseason that a true freshman's playing well enough to avoid a redshirt?

When he gets injured and is forced to redshirt.

At least, that appears to be the case with freshman safety Jay Fullam of Chattanooga. He tore a tendon in his left hand and is expected to miss about five weeks of practice.

“Jay was doing really well,” Bobby Johnson told the Nashville City Paper. “He was learning things fast and making his presence known. He was probably going to be one of the guys we were going to … play as a freshman.”

Both Jeff Lockridge at the Tennessean and David Boclair at the City Paper figure this means a redshirt for Fullam.

“You have to have it operated on right away or gets worse and worse and worse and worse,” Johnson said. “… Most hand injuries on a defensive guy, you can just splint them up. This is to make sure he can have the use of his fingers for the rest of his life.”

Fullam was a guy whose name was starting to pop up in reports from preseason practice as making big hits or big plays.

Since signing day, everybody's figured that Fullam was a lock to redshirt, despite the fact that Vandy needs more newcomers than ever before to step up right away and provide depth in the secondary. Eric Samuels and Trey Wilson were the potential lockdown corners, Eddie Foster was the speedburner, and Javon Marshall was the underrated, surly looking kid who could play either corner or safety and whose high school coach said something like wild horses couldn't keep him off the field.

(Note: "Surly looking" is not a disparaging remark. Marshall's a good kid who chose Vandy over the Air Force Academy. But look above at Marshall's high school photos. He looks like he wants to knock somebody's head off. And remember Reshard Langford, last year's team captain, FCA member and champion of community service? When he posed for a picture, he looked like he wanted to knock somebody's head off.)

So Samuels, Wilson, Foster and Marshall all stuck out in fans' minds for one football-related reason or another. If Fullam stuck out, it was because he attended The McCallie School and looked like he just came from either choir practice or the biomedics lab.

Except for the folks who saw Fullam play. Greg, a frequent poster here, has raved about Fullam and has chided me a couple of times for underestimating him.

Well, looks like we did underestimate him. We'll eagerly await the day he's recovered and takes the field.

And we'll hope we don't hear that any more freshmen were going to play right away... until they were injured.

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