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Auburn's Josh Holsey finds the inspiration to carry on
Aug. 5, 2016

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. Josh Holsey is an old pro at knee injuries. He's suffered one ACL tear, then another. But as tough as that was, the Auburn defensive back needed to only look to his father for the motivation and inspiration to carry on.

Josh Holsey's Army dad lost the lower part of left leg in an explosion in Iraq in 2004, and it was his family that told the defensive back he could come back and play for Auburn again.

He's back, all right, practicing with Auburn this preseason practice.

Holsey said his teammates and coaches and his mother and father inspired him to play again.

"They're really like my foundation to keep pushing," Holsey said after Auburn's practice Friday. "I couldn't really quit."

Not when he looked at his dad, Chief Warrant Officer Johnathan Holsey.

"He lost the lower part of his left leg. I figured if I could still do anything, that I needed to try to do it. We talked a lot. He was behind either decision I had. If I didn’t really want to keep trying he was behind that, but if I was going to do it then I needed to do it 100 percent and put my all into trying to get back and playing my best football."

Josh Holsey, now with a fifth year of eligibility, is working at cornerback and nickel back again. And he says his knees are holding up just fine.

"I feel better with two ACLs than I did, probably, with zero tears. I feel better than ever right now."

He suffered his first knee injury in 2013. He suffered second torn ACL in the second game last season. Now, he's on track to play against Clemson in the season opener Sept 3.

"I'm just happy to be out there running around," he said. "Sitting on the sidelines for so long it gets frustrating. You kind of get down on yourself. You don't even know if you can still do it. So just to get out there running around and make plays with my teammates is probably the best thing I can be doing right now. Trying to make it to the season was a big goal for me."

Holsey said coming back from the second knee injury was more a mental than physical thing.

"That's the biggest part to me. You know the rehab is going to be a grind, but that mental aspect…you never know how your knee is going to respond. You got to kind of get out there and kind of get into the flow of things. You've got to let one of those big offensive linemen kind of dive at that knee, you kind of know if you're ready to play or not.

 "Now when I go out to practice, I don't really think about it. It's kind of second hand. In my mind, if it's meant to tear again, it will tear again. But I'm not really thinking about it. I'm just trying to go out there and make as many plays as possible and help the team."

Holsey said he's not sure if he could have come back without his family and team.

"I was really down. I really appreciate my teammates and my family. They kind of helped me get through this last injury," Holsey said. "Without them, I don't think I would have come back for another year.

"After the first one you know you can come back. When you tear it again, it's like 'can I still do it?'"

Holsey said former Auburn defensive coach Travaris Robinson gave him the right advice.

"He told me if you still have anything left in the tank, go for it because once it's done, it's done. You never get to play again."

Holsey was once the versatile defensive back "I played everywhere"  playing cornerback one game, safety the next. Now, he's settling in at cornerback and at nickel.

"I kind of know where I'm going to be each week going into the season. I can get my mind and my body just to play corner and nickel."

And just being back on the field? That's a good feeling, too.



Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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