Two-Time Winner

There've been 25 of these events. There had never been a two-time winner. Until today.

D.T. Shackelford was named the recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award. He walked unassisted to the podium to the delight of the room full of attendees at the Inn at Ole Miss ballroom.

The last time he won it – 2011 – he was on crutches and mentioned that Saturday morning in his remarks.

He is not only a two-time winner he has also recovered from knee surgery twice. Same knee. Torn in April, 2011. There was one surgery. Then another.

And now to this moment.

Shackelford, a middle linebacker known now by his name Deterrian, is ready to help the Rebels this season. On the field. Every day. In 2011, he watched and cheered from the sideline as the games were played.

"It feels great," said the first non-senior winner when he first won it. "I never wanted to come back and just be average. The act of just coming back, anybody can do that. I wanted to come back and make an impact and try to be someone special."

The videos at the event showed Mullins playing high school football in his hometown of Russellville, Ala. Shackelford is from nearby Decatur, Ala.

"I actually played on that field, the Russellville field," Shackelford, who has one year of eligibility left, said. "We played against Russellville High School. I never thought I would have this type connection. It is all a part of God's plan."

So many who are old enough remember where they were and what they were doing when Chucky got hurt that day against Vanderbilt on homecoming day 1989.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was a student at Northwest Mississippi Community College, a member of the baseball team, and was likely having a fall ball practice that day. He wasn't at Ole Miss for the game but heard about it later in the day.

D.T. Shackelford & Hugh Freeze
Jeff Roberson

Joel Jordan was a freshman offensive lineman on the Rebel football team from Clinton. But Jordan, unlike Chucky, was redshirting.

"I was in the stands," he said. "He got hurt. I told those around me, he's hurt bad. I knew it was serious."

Jordan said Chucky's encouragement got the whole team through a tough time.

"We got through that more because of what he did," Jordan said. "He didn't let it affect who he was. He was still Chucky Mullins. When you went up and visited with him, he still had that smile on his face. We played for him and hopefully brought him some glory."

Minutes before the Liberty Bowl against Air Force two months later when Chucky was rolled into the locker room to see his teammates for the first time collectively since the injury, Jordan said, voice cracking, was a "moment."

"When he said ‘It's time' we knew we were going to win," Jordan said.

Chucky died of complications May 6, 1991. Past recipients Trea Southerland and Derek Jones made remarks Saturday to the audience about what the award means to them, still to this day.

Shackelford then reflected on that time three years ago when he first won the award – and received it on crutches. The assemblage gathered then waited until he moved from his seat to the stage. It took a while.

It's taken a while – three years – for him to get back, and now he's 100 percent.

"I was ready to play back then, but God didn't have wasn't my time," Shackelford said.

Now, for the second time, it is.

"This award means so much to me," Shackelford said.

For the second time, that is.

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