football-fbs flag

Aaron Beard | The Associated Press | August 22, 2014

Couldn't stay away

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jarvis Byrd figured he was done with football after suffering the third serious knee injury of his college career last season.

Yet here he is, back in preseason camp for North Carolina State and aiming to bolster the Wolfpack's secondary. How much he plays could depend largely on how well his body has recovered from its latest bad break.

"He's giving you all he has," fellow safety Hakim Jones said after Thursday's practice. "He's not going to be weak. If anything, he's going to come back stronger than what he was because he has a bigger chip on his shoulder."

Jarvis Byrd Byrd nearly walked away from football
The only good news for Byrd after he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament at Wake Forest was he knew exactly what awaited him. He tore his right ACL as a true freshman in 2009 and redshirted the following year, then tore his left ACL in summer workouts in 2011 and missed that season, too.

The NCAA granted Byrd a sixth year to complete his playing eligibility, even though the Pahokee, Florida native originally wasn't sure he would pursue it.

"At first I wasn't thinking about coming back," Byrd said. "I was done with football. I was like, 'Man, I've been through this process three times. I know how hard it is to come back off this injury.' This is one of the most difficult injuries you can get as a football player, so I was done."

But Byrd said he eventually felt the pull to return while watching college football games as he recovered and consulting with family members.

"I'm a very strong person," he said. "I have very strong faith in my religion and in myself. ... It made me become a stronger person, inside and out."

It's unclear how much Byrd, who turned 24 last week, will play in next weekend's opener against Georgia Southern.

"The whole goal with Jarvis is to get him to play on Saturdays," said safeties coach Clayton White, a former Wolfpack linebacker who played three seasons in the NFL. "He's practiced enough. He knows the playbook very well. It's just getting him to game day."

Injuries have limited Byrd to just 14 games in his college career. He has started eight, five coming last year at free safety during coach Dave Doeren's first year with the Wolfpack.

The team has been cautious with Byrd during his recovery and gradually increased his work in preseason camp. Still, Byrd said he had a setback early in camp that caused him to miss several days.

White said it will take time for Byrd to regain confidence and conditioning, so he envisions a rotational role until the team has a better idea how Byrd's knee will respond.

For now, Byrd said, he'll keep praying before taking the field then try not to worry about the injury.

"I feel like if you think about it, you're setting yourself up to get injured again, and it'll make you play slow," he said. "So when I'm out there, I ain't thinking about no injury or nothing. I'm just playing fast and playing smart."

• College football tickets

Here's how the new two-minute overtime rule could change collegiate wrestling matches

The new NCAA overtime rules extended the length of the first sudden victory period to two minutes, creating more suspense and allowing for a riding time factor. What does that mean for athletes, and how would this rule have influenced the 2021 results? Let’s break it down.

College wrestling rankings: Iowa takes top spot in college wrestling, Ivy League returns

Here are the big takeaways from the first rankings of 2021-2022 and some thoughts on what we can expect from the nation’s best wrestlers as the season starts. 

Women's soccer: NC State upsets No. 3 North Carolina

NC State women's soccer beat No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday night, picking up its second top-5 win of the season.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners