Prior to the start of fall camp last season, defensive end Auston English underwent an emergency appendectomy, which kept him out of the first two weeks of practice. When he did rejoin the team, English was slow to return to form because of the strain practice placed on his recovering body.
But this preseason has been a different story. English said right now he’s in the best shape of his life.
"I came in at 253 and I have the lowest body fat of my career,” he said. "I came in around 14-percent body fat and I feel good about that.”
English has been plagued by injuries during his career. Last year, he suffered a knee sprain late in the season. The year before, a hairline fracture in his foot. In fact, English hasn’t been healthy enough to participate in spring ball since 2007.
But now, the senior said he feels like his old, healthy self.
"I made good gains this summer, and I worked on polishing up everything technique-wise for the season,” he said.
DE Washington surging
At the conclusion of spring drills, former blue-chip recruit R.J. Washington
found himself as the fifth defensive end behind David King
and on the brink of falling out of the defensive-end rotation altogether.
But Washington’s understanding of the defensive scheme is finally catching up to his remarkable athleticism. Now, the redshirt freshman is making a push to become the team’s fourth defensive end, behind English, Jeremy Beal
and Frank Alexander
"He has made some great progress as far as understanding what he needs to do, and understanding the defense as a whole,” English said. "He’s an amazing athlete from the standpoint that he can just go. He can really get off the ball and he’s extremely fast.
"But working within the scheme more than anything is something where I’ve seen him progress.”