A pair of serious knee injuries cost D.T. Shackelford two years of eligibility, but it could also lead to an additional one.
According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the linebacker/defensive end is considering applying for a medical hardship waiver that, if approved, would give him a sixth season of eligibility. Shackelford has already earned his bachelor’s degree in history — in three years — and is on pace to receive his Master’s degree in education this coming May.
The fact that he could remain in school and pursue a doctorate or doubling up on Master’s, along with his love of the game of football, has him eyeing the additional season of eligibility.
“There’s still probably some more education pursuits that I want to pursue,” Shackelford, who would ultimately like to become a school principal, said. “Either a doctorate or get another Master’s. There’s life after football, and I’m the one to know. … I also love to play this game, and I love Ole Miss and I love these guys that I play with.”
If Shackelford were to apply for a sixth season, it would be a slam-dunk no-brainer for the NCAA. And, if any governing body knows about making decisions that involve no brains, it’s The Association.
Shackelford missed the 2011 and 2012 seasons due to ACL tears — one in each knee — and the subsequent surgeries/rehab. Per NCAA guidelines, any player that misses two full seasons because of injury would eligible for a sixth season of eligibility.
Prior to the knee injuries, Shackelford was named to the SEC All-Freshman team by the coaches in 2009 and led the Rebels in sacks in 2010. Returning to the playing field for the first time since that season, and being healthy enough to play in nine games, Shackelford has recorded 22 tackles and two sacks.