USU football: Utah State senior defensive back Terrence Alston uses childhood experiences to balance life as a student-athlete

By Megan Allen

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Oct. 12 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

Dedication. Commitment. Courage. For Utah State senior cornerback Terrence Alston (Richmond Calif.), these are three words that keep him driven to succeed.

A dual-sport athlete, Alston began his football career at Solano Community College in Fairfield, Calif. As a student-athlete on scholarship, he was lucky enough to have things taken care of. The surprising thing, though, was he was attending Solano CC on a baseball scholarship, playing second base for the team while managing football at the same time.

As a dual-sport student-athlete growing up, there were a lot of things expected of Alston. From that experience, he learned to balance his time and make sure to get everything done while still doing it well.

From childhood through junior college, he was used to life being jam-packed. Saturdays were gameday, a football game in the morning, followed by a baseball doubleheader.

“I was kind of used to it,” Alston said.

Through his first year of college, Alston was torn between which sport to pursue further. He had a love and talent for both but knew he had to choose.

In a football scrimmage leading into what was supposed to be his sophomore season, an injury took him out.

“One of the biggest linemen came up and slammed into my leg and broke my fibula,” Alston said. “The best advice I ever got came from that incident.”

After that injury, Alston realized football was the choice he wanted to make. Once he couldn’t play football, he realized just how large a part of his life the game was.

“I was like, ‘I’ve been playing football for 15 years,’” Alston said. “My dad just said, ‘This is what you need to do.’”

A week later, Alston received his first recruiting phone call from the newly appointed head coach at Utah State, Gary Andersen.

Alston said he had an instant connection with Andersen and his staff.

“I took my first visit out here and coach Andersen just said ‘Look you really need to come here,’” Alston said. “So I called the other schools and said I made my choice and it was Utah State.”

Luckily for Alston, the USU coaching staff holds him in as high of regard as he holds them.

“Terrence is a great young man to be around. He’s always smiling and cracking jokes and is very coachable. He’s just one of those guys that you want to take in as your little nephew or something,” cornerbacks coach Kendrick Shaver said. “He’s a competitive guy, and is very, very confident. He came into this program confident. He’s very athletic; he’s got good feet; and he’s got speed. I’m proud of him.”

After recovering from his injury, Alston went on to have a successful second year at Solano CC as he helped the team to a 9-2 record, winning the South Division of the Bay Valley Conference. The Falcons earned a berth in the Breath for Life Bowl in Monterey, falling to San Jose City College. They finished the year ranked No. 13 in Northern California and No. 25 in the state. That year, Alston had five interceptions and 12 pass break-ups, along with 45 tackles (28 solo, 17 assists), including three tackles for loss.

Following his successful sophomore season, Alston garnered honorable mention All-American honors, as well as being named to both the first-team all-Region III and first-team all-conference teams. Alston was also selected for the Junior College All-American bowl roster, but the game was postponed when the roof of the Metrodome, the site of the game, collapsed.

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