He’s been earning praise since the beginning of preseason practice, but Deontrelle Silmon made the most of his opportunity the last two weeks after an injury to starter Daerius Washington.
Washington, a starting outside linebacker, suffered a concussion in the Texas Southern game and was sidelined for the next game against Prairie View A&M, forcing Silmon, a sophomore walk-on from Lanett, into action. The defensive back-turned-linebacker responded with seven tackles against Texas Southern and 10 (including three for loss) against Prairie View, with all but one of those tackles coming in the first half after sustaining a hamstring injury early in the second half.
It’s earned him praise from his coaches. Probably a little more playing time as well.
“Going into the season, the first game or two, we put a lot on Silmon, just wanted to see how well he would do, and at the time it was a little too much for him because he was still new to the position,” ASU coach Reggie Barlow said. “He didn’t line up (correctly).
“I think now he’s a little more comfortable in the scheme and that will give him the opportunity to be on the field a little bit more. He’s just as athletic as a nickel back. We will definitely give him a chance.”
He led all tacklers in the first 30 minutes of play against Prairie View, which was a testimony to his effort even when his technique was a little off.
“He’s a long, athletic guy that’s physical,” Barlow said. “There were times when there were two guys coming to block him on a screen play and he split both of them and made the tackle. It was just him using great effort. Now, it wasn’t always the technique that we coach, but the effort kind of took over.
“He’s still got a lot to learn. There were some mental errors, but he made up for it on effort.”
Washington is back in the starting lineup for the Magic City Classic, but don’t expect to see any dropoff when Silmon comes in as a replacement for a series or two in order to give Washington some rest.