Versatile junior defensive back adds leadership, selflessness
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 22:10
Through the first five games of the season, the Aggie defense and offense have performed at very different levels. The Aggie offense led by Johnny Manziel ranks third nationally in total yards per game, trailing only Baylor and Oregon.
Despite the rough start, the Aggie defense has shown some flashes of brilliance, specifically with junior defensive back Deshazor Everett.
“He understands what we’re trying to do,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “He’s playing out of position really, because he’s our best corner. We move him, you give up something, you think, he’s also one of our better DBs and gives us speed back in the back and has saved some touchdowns this year, no doubt. And has given us the opportunity to line up and play defense again and I can’t tell you how critical that’s been.”
But like the Aggie defense, Everett’s season got off to a rocky start.
During the team’s preseason training camp, Everett suffered a broken thumb on his right hand that forced him to compete with a cast. The bad news continued to build when Everett was suspended for the first half of the Aggie home opener against Rice following a “violation of athletic department policies.”
Upon his return in the second half against Rice, Everett was suspended for another half of action following a targeting penalty on a Rice receiver.
With these misfortunes and mistakes behind him, Everett began to hit his stride amid a young, inexperienced defense only to face another change.
After starting junior starting safety Floyd Raven, Sr. suffered a collarbone injury early in the season, junior Clay Honeycutt was enlisted to fill the void.
During the 49-42 defeat at the hands of the top-ranked Alabama, the Crimson Tide exposed Honeycutt — forcing A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder to make a change.
With injuries hindering the defense, Snyder and the A&M coaching staff moved their best corner, Everett, to anchor the defense at the safety position.
Since the change, Everett has started the past two games at his new position and has not skipped a beat, scoring a defensive touchdown in the past two games.
“Deshazor is an eraser, and he was unselfish enough to go back to safety for us,” Snyder said. “We felt like that was the best personnel group we could put on the field until we get Floyd back. The great thing about Deshazor is, whether he’s at corner or safety, he’s an eraser. He’s a really good football player.”
The 6-foot, 185-pound defensive back from DeRidder, La., has a history of proving his versatility. Everett was a two-time All-Louisiana selection in high school playing on both sides of the ball.
As a senior, he logged 130 tackles — including 10 for losses — and an interception on defense while rushing for 618 yards and seven touchdowns on 72 carries (8.6 yards per carry).
Coaches couldn’t wait for Everett to get the cast off his right hand following the Arkansas game when he had an interception.
“He’s playing pretty good,” Sumlin said. “I can’t wait until he gets that cast off, maybe he’ll score twice a game.”
Everett didn’t score twice against Ole Miss but he did record two tackles in the A&M victory. He said his comfort level at the new position continues to grow each week.
“Comfort level is more at safety, but that’s probably because I haven’t been at corner and I wouldn’t be that comfortable just jumping back to corner,” Everett said. “If coach needs me to go back to corner, I’ll go back to corner and give it my all.”