Blue Raider seniors have special bond

Final home game of season is Saturday

November 20, 2009 · Sarah Fryar
Many dictionaries have their own definitions of team unity. The Blue Raider football program, however, has its own. As the final home game approaches and the seniors are celebrated one last time Saturday, they take a few moments to reflect on the family they have created for themselves during their career at Middle Tennessee.

Michael Cannon, David DeFatta, Gene Delle Donne, Patrick Honeycutt, Chris McCoy, Brandon Perry, Alex Suber, Mark Thompson, Craig Heyward, Nick Coleman Danny Carmichael, Desmond Gee, Chris McClover, Sherman Neal, Cam Robinson and Marcus Udell make up this exceptional collection of seniors.

This group of 16 has six players who were here before Head Coach Rick Stockstill and his administration arrived in 2006 and is credited to have helped build such a compatible and successful team.

"I have a lot of respect for all of these seniors," Coach Stockstill says. "But more than that, I have a great deal of love and appreciation for them because they are all fine young men. They are going to be very successful in whatever careers they decide to go into. I just appreciate the sacrifices they've made in helping me build this program."

Every athlete knows chemistry is vital in every team sport. But the feeling of family makes it that much more of a unique experience.

"This team is really special. We are very close. There are no cliques, no guys hanging out by themselves, everybody is all in it together," David DeFatta explains.

"We are very close as a team, very tight," Alex Suber adds. "Everybody can clown with each other. It's a good feeling that everybody is together."

When Michael Cannon re-injured his knee before the season started, everyone knew he wouldn't be able to play in his final season as a Blue Raider. The injury posed no threat to keep him from participating and remaining close with his teammates though.

"We really look out for each other. The senior class this year has been here four or five years, and has really grown; we know each other and basically hang around each other as much as we possibly can, both on and off the field. We try to do as many things together as possible because it's almost over," Cannon says.

The team, as a whole, feels that this Blue Raider football program is its own exclusive fraternity.

"When we have something like a birthday party, everyone is invited. We hang around together. When we see someone doing something wrong, it's like talking to your brother, telling them to get back on the right track," Craig Heyward says. And Nick Coleman concurs, "It's like we're all brothers. The house we live in belongs to everybody and it's the same with guys who live in other houses. The bond that we have created is something that you can take home forever."

Middle Tennessee kicks-off against Arkansas State Saturday at 3:30 PM at Floyd Stadium. The Blue Raider seniors will be recognized at 3:15 PM in a special senior day presentation.

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