After two years of complete misery, it would have been easy for Darrell Roseman to just hang up his cleats and walk away.
Chronic stress fractures in both tibias made it painful for Roseman to even walk to class. Going through a practice or completing a workout was almost entirely out of the question.
Roseman admits that he considered quitting but a strong family and faith kept him going, even on the darkest days.
"I've been hampered with an injury since I've been here so it's been real tough," said Roseman. "There have been numerous times I've told my mom I'm giving up, hanging up the cleats.
"But my family kept me focused and praying and everything, and told me to keep sticking it out, keep trying."
Now, finally, after two years of waiting and watching, Roseman has reason for optimism. Surgery last year, that inserted steel rods into both tibias, has him on the road to recovery.
Of course, getting through the surgery and the ensuing rehab turned out to be another big hurdle for Roseman to overcome.
"They went in through my knee and drilled a rod the same length as my leg all the way down to my ankle," said Roseman. "The doctor said it's the biggest rod he's ever used.
"I had to stay in the hospital for three days. After that, I was in boots for about two months. It was tough, especially having two boots."
After sitting out another spring practice, Roseman finally got clearance to resume workouts with the team earlier this summer. It's been a breath of fresh year for the sophomore.
"It means a lot to me to be out there," he said. "I never thought I was going to play. Through the grace of God I'm out there running around and loving it. I'm having so much fun this summer just being out there."
Roseman doesn't have any illusions about the hurdles he still must overcome. Sitting out of football for two years and now being moved from defensive end to defensive tackle, means Roseman still has a lot of catching up to do in order to reach his ultimate goal of playing this fall.
"I've got all my strength back, it's just my quickness," said Roseman. "I've got to get back to game speed. I haven't played in so long. It's getting there but I still feel like I have a little ways to go.
"Basically it's my last shot. If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to hang it up. But I think it will work. My leg feels a lot better."
Roseman said the move to d-tackle has been a positive. Having two veterans in juniors Sen'Derrick Marks and Jake Ricks to help him this summer has been a big boost.
"Those guys give me a lot of encouragement and point out what I'm doing wrong and what I need to work on," said Roseman. "I'm not as quick to be out there on the edge but I'm getting my quickness back so it should be a good move for me.
"I want to be on the pass rush team. That's really my main goal this year. I just want to get some experience and hopefully, get out on the field."
Roseman has already overcome so much just to get to this point. If he can make it past a couple of more hurdles, he'll get that opportunity to suit up and run out onto the field with his teammates at Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall.
It's something that was hard to imagine just a year ago, but Roseman stuck it out, never gave up and is already preparing for that moment.
"It might put me in tears," he said. "I didn't think I was ever going to make it after last year. I'll just be so excited to be out there."
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