PROVO — BYU junior cornerback Trent Trammell admits that patience is not one of his strengths.
But he’s learning patience the hard way — heaven knows his patience has been tested.
Trammell suffered a season-ending knee injury on the first day of spring practice at BYU in March 2013, after transferring from City College of San Francisco.
He's had to wait nearly 18 months to make his debut for the Cougars, and he's eager to make an impact.
BYU opens the 2014 season Aug. 29 at Connecticut.
“I’ve learned to be patient. I’m still working on it. I’m not the most patient individual,” said the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Oakland, California, native. “But I’ve learned to be patient and learned to work hard, and take this opportunity and appreciate it. You don’t know how long you’re going to have it for. I’m just appreciating it, having fun, and living in the moment and doing my best.”
Since his devastating injury, Trammell has had a lot of time to recover, and to hone his talents.
“I would say I spent more time becoming a student of the game and working on my confidence, watching other corners to see what makes them successful so I could be successful,” said Trammell, who lists former NFL Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders as his sports hero.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said Trammell struggled early on in fall camp. "I think most of the slow start was, 'Can I trust my knee?” Mendenhall said.
But in recent practices, Trammell has impressed the coaching staff.
“The last four days,” Mendenhall said last Thursday, “he’s made a big jump.”
The coach added that returning to the field after that kind of injury is a big challenge.
“I think there is a lot to it. The physical part is one part, the confidence to burst and break and play off of where the injury is another," Mendenhall said. "I think the mental part is probably bigger than the physical part right now.”
In recent practices, Trammell has impressed the coaching staff.
“The last four days,” Mendenhall said, “he’s made a big jump.”
Trammell said his knee feels 100 percent these days, and that he has no fears about tearing his ACL again. He feels more comfortable at this point in fall camp than he did at the beginning.
"I got my legs back," he said. "Those first couple of days, I was so tired and I wasn't running to the ball. Now I've got my legs back and I'm doing OK. I think my conditioning is better. I just go out to play and have fun."
One teammate that has been a support for Trammell in his return to the field is senior cornerback Jordan Johnson. Early on in fall camp last August, Johnson suffered the same season-ending knee injury as Trammell.
Trammell and Johnson have helped, and consoled, each other through their similar ordeals.
“When he was hurt, I was there for him,” Johnson said. “When I was hurt, he was there for me. It’s unfortunate that we had to go through those injuries. But I feel as though it made us better players.”
“Jordan is like a big brother to me,” Trammell said. “I look up to him a lot because he’s been here, he’s made a lot of plays. He’s respected and a really good player. I always go to him for advice.”
In the days after Johnson tore his anterior cruciate ligament, Trammell came to his aid.
“That’s my guy right there. He’s been helping me out,” Johnson said last August. “He’s been helping me up the stairs. He’s always at the house, looking out for me and whatnot. It went hand in hand. When he was going through his trials and tribulations with his knee, I was there for him. It’s been cool.”
After a long wait, Trammell isn't dwelling on the injury. He's looking forward to finally getting on the field for BYU.
“I just go out there and play. I just play and have fun,” Trammell said. “I don’t really think about it. I expect to be the best.”