Young guns shine on Saluki defensive line - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Young guns shine on Saluki defensive line

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CARBONDALE -- Having the opportunity to play football at the collegiate level comes few and far between, and sometimes even being offered that opportunity comes at a price.

Many students athletes, such as Chester-native Jordan Berner, redshirt their first year, meaning giving up a year of game-time to grow and develop into a better player for future seasons.

"It was difficult, especially coming from high school being a 3-sport athlete, to not playing any like, organized sports at all, just being a scout team player. It was a big change for me," said Berner, Saluki redshirt freshman defensive end.

But that year of development at practice and in the weight room helped build not only football knowledge, but the confidence to perform at this level.

That helped for an explosive performance in many of the defensive redshirt freshmens' first game this season, where they held their opponent to -8 yards on the ground.

"We got that dog-mentality. Nobody running nothing on us, nobody is passing. And we just going to get it," said Zeveyon Furcron, Saluki redshirt freshman defensive lineman.

Berner and Furcron are among the redshirt freshmen who have been named a starter for the Saluki defense.

And those spots were earned from the hard work they put in over the last year.

"You know, they've done a good job of just working hard, like in the off-season. They took advantage of their redshirt year and got bigger and faster, stronger. Played a lot of snaps, learned the system. You know, and now they're excited to get out there and get their opportunity," said Austin Flyger, Saluki Defensive Linemen Coach.

That opportunity is something Furcron does not plan on giving up.

"I worked this hard for this, I got to keep it. I've been working, like redshirted last year, that was the start of it. Ever since I graduated from high school when I found out I was redshirting, that was the start, so I got it, I got to keep it," said Furcron.

With 17 out of the 19 defensive linemen being freshman or sophomores, Berner is excited to see how his unit develops over the coming seasons.

"I think it's good as young as we are, especially if we can perform this early. Because that just means down the road, we're just going to be that much better," Berner said.

For now, Berner and the defensive line hope to continue their success on the field in his redshirt freshman season.

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