"I didn't play any sports after football, because I had the surgery on Jan. 11 and I've been rehabbing it," the soft-spoken player known as "Relly" to his friends related. "I tore it during my sophomore year, and I thought it would get better, so I kept playing with it. During my seniors season, my shoulder kept dislocating, and that happened about a dozen times. I'd have to come out of the game and get it put back in, but it never caused me to miss an entire game. I was always able to keep coming back and playing."
His toughness obviously well established, Terrell Chestnut did admit that the injury affected his play.
"I wore a brace on it, but there were times when I came up and wasn't able to hit someone as hard as what I wanted to, because of the shoulder. It affected my mindset a little bit too. I knew I could play with it, but it was in the back of my mind."
Chestnut was certainly able to play with the injury – in fact, he continued the stellar play during his senior season that made him one of the top-rated defensive backs in the country. He was a four time all-conference and three time all-state selection, and contributed to two league titles, four playoff appearances and a 2009 district title. The fact that he was able to do so while basically playing with one arm demonstrated both his toughness and his natural ability – qualities that more than 25 schools across the country hoped to add to their program. In the end, it was West Virginia – which won a run-off after Chestnut had originally committed to Pitt, then backed away due to its coaching upheaval – that was able to secure his services.
The question now for Chestnut is how quickly he will be able to show those abilities on the field. Although he was selected to play in the Big 33 All-Star game, he was unable to participate, due to his shoulder rehabilitation. He is making progress, but notes that he's not sure when he will be cleared for contact.
"I'm working to get the range of motion and strength back, and I will continue that at West Virginia," Chestnut said. "I just have to take it day by day and see how everything goes. I could redshirt, but that really depends on the rehabilitation. I have thought that in the end that might be better for me, but there hasn't been a decision made yet. I just need to see how the rehab works."
With an injury-plagued senior year behind him, Chestnut said that he is looking forward to the beginning of his college career.
"It is sort of like a fresh start at West Virginia," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting there and getting started."