It appeared he was ready to take off heading into his sophomore season, but a coaching change brought his career to a screeching halt. Never finding a home in Brian VanGorder's defensive scheme, Therezie bounced back and forth from defensive back to running back and back to defense in 2012. Finishing with just three total tackles, it was in essence a wasted year.
That is not expected to be the case this season, however, as Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson's defense looks to be a perfect match for Therezie's talents as he currently finds himself a solid number two behind Justin Garrett at the "star" rover position. At 5-9, 202 pounds with the speed to return kickoffs, Therezie is known for being a physical player and Johnson said so far he's made big strides this preseason with Garrett banged up and missing practice time.
"The good thing about Garrett being out is Therezie has got a ton of reps and he has really improved," Johnson said. "He has come a long way. That is exciting. I think when we get Justin back you want some depth there because you can't get through with just one guy there."
Getting Therezie's game to match his talents has been a big plus for a defense that has battled through injuries at several key positions this preseason. Having Garrett sidelined with an ankle sprain has meant newcomers such as Brandon King and Mackenro Alexander have also gotten practice time at the "star" position. While both have shown some potential, Johnson said they are still not ready for prime time.
"They're still learning what they're doing," the defensive coordinator said. "They're way behind the other two."
Even though Garrett has missed valuable practice time as the Tigers begin to game plan for Washington State, Johnson said as long as the junior gets back on the field with a full week to prepare then everything should be fine for him to play against the Cougars on opening night. Whether or not Garrett is ready, Johnson said he can take solace in the fact that Therezie is capable and ready to get the job done.
"Justin looks good," Johnson said. "They're being very cautious with Garrett. He had a great spring and he was having a good camp. He does not have a real serious injury. He's got a foot sprain.
"He could have come back a day or two ago, but it's still a little tender," the coach added. "Missing a few days right now, for his sake, is the best thing. For our football team it probably puts us into a herky-jerky progress. We want to make sure when he does come back that he's full speed and there's no threat of recurrence on that thing.
"We certainly hope Justin is going to be back, but Therezie's improvement has been really pleasing," Johnson pointe dout. "That's been a bright spot for us over the last week or so when our football team is sort of stagnating with all these injuries. He was given an opportunity to get better and he did. That was a positive."