Freshman Trying to Fight Past Injury

A report features comments from Auburn freshman linebacker Hendrick Leverette.

Auburn, Ala.--Hendrick Leverette returned to practice on Tuesday to continue what has not been the type of preseason the freshman hoped for when he started practice earlier this month at Auburn.

While the other linebacker in the 2006 Auburn signee class, Craig Stevens from Tallahassee, Fla., has been one of the highlights of August practice as he battles for playing time, Leverette hasn't been physically able to compete for many of the workouts. That changed on Tuesday evening as the Tigers had their first workout back on their regular practice fields before taking the day off on Wednesday for the start of fall semester classes.

"I started back on and I was about half speed," Leverette says. "I had a little bit of contact and I did a couple of individual reps, but that was about it."

Hendrick Leverette is shown at an Auburn practice.

With linebackers Kevin Sears and Tray Blackmon suspended indefinitely by head coach Tommy Tuberville and with weakside linebacker Steve Gandy out with an injury, the opportunity is there for young linebackers to impress the coaching staff.

"I was in the training room thinking about the opportunity that is there and I was thinking that I don't need to be out with an injury," says Leverette, who notes that getting hurt is frustrating.

"I was working with the punt team trying to block a punt when I got hurt," he says. "I had a deep bone bruise and a little fracture, too. They gave me a knee brace. I was a little rusty at practice, but I think I did all right."

Last season as a senior at Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, Miss., Leverette was a highly productive player. He made 94 solo tackles with 58 assists while leading his team to a 12-1 record.

Leverette, who is working at weakside linebacker, and his teammates will return to the practice field on Thursday morning.

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