Jemison hopes injuries don’t pose such a problemFARGO — Hundreds of kids were buzzing around the Fargodome on Tuesday afternoon attending the North Dakota State youth football camp. It was a chance for them to pretend they’re the next Brandon Jemison.
By: Jeff Kolpack, Forum Communications Co.
FARGO — Hundreds of kids were buzzing around the Fargodome on Tuesday afternoon attending the North Dakota State youth football camp. It was a chance for them to pretend they’re the next Brandon Jemison.
It still remains to be seen if Brandon Jemison can, well, be like Brandon Jemison this season for NDSU’s football team.
The junior Bison linebacker is entering a critical phase of his rehabilitation from serious offseason hip surgery. He started putting some speed into his program and it wasn’t easy.
“It was a little painful,” he said.
Jemison is about the only major injury question mark for the defense at this point in the summer. Starting middle linebacker Preston Evans is coming back from a broken hand suffered in spring football.
Jemison had surgery to address damage in his hip socket, a condition that was believed to be partially genetic. The projected recovery time was four to six months, and so far he’s on schedule, according to defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton.
“I’m getting there, slowly but surely,” Jemison said. “If I keep going on the path I’m going right now, I should be ready for fall camp. I don’t have a doubt right now because I’m right on schedule.”
It’s a schedule that can be delayed if necessary, Hazelton said. He said freshmen Travis Beck and Carlton Littlejohn will step in if Jemison can’t go, especially early in the season.
The ultimate goal, Hazelton said, is to have Jemison at full strength for the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
“We would like him to be back earlier than that, but we understand it’s one of those injuries that can drag on,” Hazelton said. “If it drags on, he can gain those extra three weeks and let’s get him ready for conference play.”
Jemison was NDSU’s second-leading tackler last year with 81 stops in 14 games. He forced one fumble and recovered another.
Hazelton said the progression of Beck and Littlejohn in spring football should keep Grant Olson in a rotation with Evans and Chad Willson at middle and weakside linebacker. Sophomore Logan Hushka is also in the mix at weakside.
“We have six or seven linebackers we feel good about this year,” Hazelton said. “Its’ a different deal then we’ve had before.”
Jemison said he’s at about 215 pounds, lighter than he would like. His weight should increase, he said, once he can go all-out on strength training in his legs.
Time is tight. He’s at the Bison Sports Arena for lifting at 5:15 a.m. He works at Fargo Rentall in south Fargo at 7:30 and returns to the BSA to finish his lifts from 4:30-5.
Running starts at 6 p.m.
“This is the time where we’re forced to be together, forced to count on each other,” Jemison said. “You don’t have an option. You’re out here to win — one guy trying to work just as hard as the next guy.”
He’s been doing some defensive drops in 7-on-7 drills. Staying patient, however, is not that easy.
“The slower I take it now, the sooner I’m going to be on the field,” he said. “But it’s hard to think of it like that.”
Kolpack is a sports reporter for
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.