Ah, this is one of the old chestnuts here at MrSEC.com. Like turnover studies, commitment comparators, and tourney resume deep dives, we always enjoy a good juco conversion story. And this time around it’s the Christmas season to boot. What better time for a Scrooge-like turnaround?
We speak, of course, of the return of defensive lineman DJ Pettway to the Alabama football program. Pettway was dismissed from Bama’s team back in February after being arrested for second degree robbery. He was accused of beating and robbing a fellow student along with two other ex-Tide players (Eddie Williams and Tyler Hayes).
Pettway spent this past football season earning juco All-American honors at East Mississippi Community College. As usual, those months in the juco world have worked their magic. Junior colleges are to college football programs as money launderers are to the mob. Goes in dirty, comes out clean. The only thing different about this particular story is the fact that Pettway is returning to the same team campus from which he was ousted. That’s a little different twist, but the idea’s the same — a football season on a smaller campus has turned someone’s life around.
The player tweeted about his return yesterday:
Pettway will return to Alabama with two years of eligibility remaining. Here’s hoping he keeps his nose clean and doesn’t beat or rob anyone else. We’re all for second chances around here. Moreso in life than in football, but what the hey?
We just find the juco/redemption process to be a fascinating one. Players like Cam Newton and Zach Mettenberger made the most of their post-juco second chances. Others — like Jamar Hornsby who went from Florida to a juco to Ole Miss — couldn’t anymore walk the straight and narrow at school #2 than they could at school #1.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Jucos are the baptismal waters that “warsh” away all troubled college players’ sins. This time around it’s Pettway playing the role of Delmar in “O Brother Where Art Thou?”
“Come on, boys, the water’s fine!”
So long as Pettway doesn’t knock over a Piggly-Wiggly over in Yazoo, all should be fine.