Auburn, Ala.--Last season the Auburn Tigers beat Texas A&M 26-10 in College Station for one of the bright spots of the football season for Gus Malzahn’s team, but it was also the low point for freshman defensive back Jeremiah Dinson.
Injured on a brutal hit from wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones that left him with a torn ACL, dislocated kneecap, and even a shoulder injury, Dinson’s season was done and it even left his career in doubt.
Fortunately for Dinson, the young defensive back had someone to turn to who could help him through the tough times of dealing with an injury. Going through a pair of ACL injuries himself and on the sidelines with Dinson every step of the way, fifth-year senior Josh Holsey said he has become to go-to guy to talk to the players when the suffer injuries and had a simple message for Dinson.
“It’s a new journey,” Holsey said of what the sophomore defensive back is going through. “It’s going to be a tough road. If I can make it, then you can, too. I was just trying to get his mind prepared for a new journey, new role and get ready to be back out there ready to play.
"I told him to make sure you take rehab serious because I know rehab gets redundant when you’re doing the same thing over and over again, but you have to know it’ll pay off one day.”
The response was immediate for Dinson as his long road to recovery started quickly over the winter and into the spring and summer. Making remarkable progress along his journey, Dinson is already back practicing with his teammates and has been dressed in uniform each of the first two games. While he is still expected to redshirt to give his body more time to heal and get stronger, Dinson being around his teammates is something Holsey said is great to see.
“He’s out there now and he does indy (individual drills) with us and all now,” the veteran DB said. “It’s incredible to see how far he has come. He tore a lot in his knee, more than just the ACL. Plus he had the shoulder injury as well.
“He’s strong. He’s fighting. I know he’ll be ready to play once he gets back. He’s got to start not thinking about it as much. Then once he comes back, he won’t miss a beat.”
This week those three and the rest of his teammates will take on that same Texas A&M team that Dinson was injured against last season. While revenge isn’t on their minds, Holsey said getting a win for their fallen brother is definitely something they’re playing for.
“That play was really devastating for him last year,” Holsey pointed out. “It’s a big key for us, not just for him but for the entire secondary and the defense as well. We want to play well as a secondary. We’re going to put this one on our back just for him, though. “We’re going to go out and play hard and put him in our memory while we’re on the field so he sees how hard we’re playing just for him.”