YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been a big week for Youngstown State wide receiver Darius Shackleford. After tearing his ACL during camp last season, Shackleford returned to the field for the first time since last July.
“I am the oldest on the team now, officially,” Shackleford said. “When I got out there and I started to feel the turf underneath me again, it was the first time I put cleats on since tearing my ACL on July 28 last year, the first day of camp. It just felt really good and I got super excited.”
It has been an interesting road for Shackleford. Recovering from an ACL injury is hard enough but not being able to get in-person treatment due to the coronavirus created an even tougher rehab.
“It was really tough,” Shackleford said. “But Ethan and Steve are great trainers, they hooked me up with three different apps on my phone. They had videos on there, showing me what to do, assess my reps, my sets. Literally, I logged it in every day, they were logging in. They were able to monitor me and made sure I was doing what I needed to do so when I got back here I wasn’t behind.”
The senior could be a big threat for the Penguins this year. At 6 foot 4, Shackleford is the tallest wideout on the roster and hopes to catch the eye of new head coach Doug Phillips and the new staff as he gets closer to being back to 100%.
“They don’t know really what I got,” Shackleford said. “I really haven’t been able to train and show them what I have so it has been a little difficult for me. I didn’t know if I was even going to get another year to come back and play. Last year when I didn’t think my knee was going to be the same and I was going to be done, being here now is a blessing.”