AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn defensive back Jeremiah Dinson suffered multiple devastating injuries in Auburn’s game against Texas A&M last season.
Teammate and fellow DB Joshua Holsey literally and figuratively felt Dinson’s pain.
Dinson, a true freshman in 2015, took a hit in the third quarter of that game from 6-foot-5, 240-pound Aggie receiver Ricky Seals-Jones. Dinson’s foot planted upon contact, resulting in three torn knee ligaments, including an ACL, and a shoulder dislocation.
Holsey, meanwhile, had suffered and recovered from two ACL tears. He correctly guessed Dinson had never navigated an injury this grave. The senior knew Dinson’s recovery journey would be long and tiresome, but he also recognized how he could help.
“I talked to him a lot. It’s kind of now where anybody gets one of those ACLs, I’m kind of like the first guy who comes to them,” Holsey said. “I’ve been through it so many times. I sat down with him a lot when he first got hurt. I just tried to make sure I kept his mind in the right place. I didn’t want him to fade away like I did my first time.”
Dinson’s fellow defensive backs were supportive, but Holsey offered another type of encouragement: realism.
The senior warned that the coming rehab would be redundant but advised Dinson to take it seriously. Holsey assured Dinson if he could approach the process with a strong mentality, all of the freshman’s efforts would eventually pay off.
“I just kind of told him to get his mind prepared for a new journey and a new road,” Holsey said. “And to get ready to get back out there whenever he can and be ready to play. It’s going to be a tough road. But if I can make it, then I know you can, too.”
Holsey communicated with Dinson often immediately after the injury and throughout his rehab process as well. He never had any doubts about the 6-foot defensive back making a full recovery.
While Dinson has made incredible progress, there’s no set timeline for his return.
“I’m hoping we get him back before the end of the year,” coach Gus Malzahn said. “That’s my hope. He’s worked extremely hard. He’s a great kid and a very talented young man. So hopefully we’ll get him back. But his status right now is uncertain.”
Dinson was not made available to SEC Country.
As Dinson continues working to get back on the field this fall, he’s been able to watch Holsey’s example again. The senior intercepted a Deshaun Watson pass in Auburn’s loss to Clemson as a backup. His performance earned him a starting spot in the Tigers second game against Arkansas State.
And as Holsey continues to give Dinson an example to follow, he remains confident in his teammate.
“He’s strong. He’s fighting. He’s ready to play whenever,” Holsey said. “I know he’ll be ready to play once he gets back. I just try to make sure to tell him that he’s got to start not favoring his leg. Start not thinking about it as much. So once it’s time for him to come back, he won’t miss a beat.”