If you meet a man named Wonderful, you don’t forget his first name. You certainly won’t forget Western Kentucky defensive back Wonderful’s first or last name after watching him go all out on the gridiron. Meet Wonderful Terry, a redshirt senior entering his first season as a full-time starter on The Hill.
Terry hails from Fort Pierce, Fla., where he starred at Westwood High as a wide receiver, claiming All-Area Offensive Player of the Year honors after tallying 1,035 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns in 2011.
Terry wound up at Garden City Community College after his senior year of high school, and later committed to come play for Bobby Petrino and WKU as a cornerback in 2012. He sat out the 2013 season due to transfer policy and began his career as a Topper in roaring fashion in 2014. Terry never started, but appeared in 12 of 13 games last season. In doing so he racked up 43 tackles (tenth on the team), two interceptions and six pass breakups. But Terry’s impact on the perimeter wasn’t enough to elevate the entire defensive performance.
“We played our part as a defense in the wins last season, but we didn’t close games,” Terry explained. “I think we have a chance to be a great defense if we come together this season and close games.”
Terry knew there was a lot of work to be done in the offseason for a defense that ranked in the bottom half of all FBS teams in total defense last year.
“We got bigger, stronger, faster and all the above, and we did what Coach Brohm wanted,” Terry explained. “Playing for coach [Nick Holt] is a great feeling. He’s a guy you want to give your all for, and he pushes me every day to be better than I was the day before.”
Terry also commented on the youth of the defense and is optimistic that some of the newer faces can come in and have an impact this season.
“We have [Martavius] Mims, Joe Brown and De’Andre Simmons,” Terry said. “The young guys come in and compete everyday like it’s their last, because at any given moment your spot is not guaranteed.”
With a year of C-USA Football under his belt, Terry has a strong foundation to build upon in his senior year from both an individual and team standpoint. In 2014, Terry became the first WKU player since Bobby Sippio in 2000 to record three defensive touchdowns in a season, a mark that tied him for second in the nation in that category.
Terry lives for the big moments and came through in the clutch on several occasions last season. Against Navy, Terry’s 43-yard pick six with 45 seconds remaining sealed the victory for WKU. After starting the season at 3-5, the Toppers found themselves in a 21-point hole against UTEP at home. Terry jumped a route on WKU’s own ten-yard line and took it 90 yards the other way to give the Tops their first lead since the opening quarter and ultimately the first of five consecutive wins to end the season. And the most clutch play of the entire season, that may fly a bit under the radar due to the excitement of the moment, was made by none other than Terry himself. After scoring five touchdowns in the final twelve minutes of the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl and pulling within one point of the lead, Central Michigan went for the kill shot. The only problem was that they threw in Terry’s direction. Terry broke up the pass, and the Hilltoppers won.
However, Terry would be the last person to present an air of entitlement. He knows what it took for the team to reel off five straight wins when the odds were against them.
“We bought into the system because we knew it was a playoff environment,” Terry said. “We have to go out and prove that we’re number one [now that we’re preseason favorites in C-USA].”
While some of his teammates may be able to give him a run for ‘best name on the team’ (e.g. Lucky Jackson or Prince Charles Iworah), it’s tough to challenge Wonderful Terry in the Hilltopper secondary. Keep your eyes wide open, because number five in red and will have the secondary on lock in 2015.