Making a return statement

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Oct 142010
 
Authors: Chris Tiller

When Derek Good woke up the morning of Oct. 8 he had no idea he was about to live a dream.

The junior running back for Colorado State was not listed on the depth chart as a return man and the casual fan probably did not know who he was.

Good was a special teams player, asked to take on the responsibilities of blocking and tackling –– hardly glorious work.

But on that Friday, the day before the game, Good’s name was posted on the fresh depth chart as a kick returner.

It was his chance to prove he could be a play maker on this team.

“I had no idea, no idea at all until that meeting,” Good said. “Sure enough my name’s on the board.”

Good did not receive this opportunity by luck but rather by years of hard work and dedication to his team.

At Berthoud High School, Good was a star running back, setting the school record for touchdowns and named the Tri-Valley Conference Player of the Year in his senior season.
Good had a dream, and CSU presented him with the chance to make that dream a reality.

“I wanted to play for a Division-I school,” he said. “I just thought it would be an amazing opportunity to come out here and show my talents and do something for this team.”
So he took a chance as a walk-on.

After sitting out his true freshman year as a redshirt, special teams coordinator Larry Lewis asked Good to contribute in his special teams unit.

Good had received grant money to help pay for his school, but in order to keep playing football he would have to pay back the money because of NCAA restrictions.

“I did because this is where I want to be. I want to be out on the field and contribute and win games,” Good said.

Good played in the final ten games of the 2008 season and was voted Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year.

“He’s an all out guy,” Lewis said. “That’s what makes him a good kick returner I think because he’ll hit it with no fear.”

His proven dedication and hard worked earned him a scholarship for his junior year. All Good needed now was another opportunity.

CSU’s usual kick return man –– freshman running back Tony Drake –– was left behind for violating team rules, leaving a spot open for a new kick returner.

Good was a top candidate in Lewis’ eyes.

“Watching him in practice go against our defense, he’s just a downhill guy and has toughness,” Lewis said. “He’s got good speed and strength.”

All those years led up to the moment of his life.

Good finished the game against Air Force with 263 kick return yards, making him the new record holder for most returns yards in a single game in Mountain West Conference history.
Good’s incredible afternoon included a 70-yard return to help setup a CSU touchdown.

To make Good’s day even better, he was put in at running back for the first time. Good carried the ball three times for 29 yards, the first carries of his career.

“Derek’s been here for a number of years working hard,” CSU coach Steve Fairchild said. “It was really nice to see him break out and have the ball in his hands and have some good things happen.”

While Good is proud of the record, he said he felt even better about playing three plays at running back.

“My eyes lit up,” he said with a laugh. “Like I say to everybody: It’s a dream come true.”

Football beat reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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