Unsurprisingly so, DT Shackelford won Rebel of the Week after a game in which he accounted for three turnovers and saved another ball from hitting a receiver in stride in the end zone. I happened to be watching him during the entire play in which he broke up a pass, and I was extremely impressed.
Even though the score was a ton to not very much, DT was playing football like his life depended on it. He bolted out of his stance, bounced backwards, read the QB's eyes, and jumped towards the ball, getting a piece of it. Even though I was watching, I didn't realize that he had deflected it until I watched the replay on the jumbotron. It looked like it was just a bad throw, but it wasn't. DT was just in the way.
That's what's so exciting though, DT was able to capitalize off of the opportunities given to him, and he played hard. Jonathan Cornell needs to watch his back, because the true freshman is nipping at his heels.
That's the story of the game though. True freshmen making an impact. Pat Patterson was the leading receiver. DT Shackelford contributed to three turnovers. Joel Kight, who can really deliver some kaboom for a small-ish guy, demolished the quarterback. Jesse Grandy had a long touchdown run that made even casual fans try to remember his name. That was a freshman Mico McSwain (see: Mico McSwain before partying, pregnant girls, and failed classes got the best of him) type of run.
It's such a good feeling to get that kind of contribution from players who won't be asked to do too much this year. We lose an incredible group of seniors, but early indications are that this group of true freshmen will help soften the blow.