Suddenly, things are looking up for Avery Sebastian.
When we last saw Sebastian on game day, he was being carted off the turf after tearing his Achilles tendon in the 2013 opener against Northwestern. That catastrophe came on the heels of suffering a concussion during fall camp that was scary enough an ambulance rolled into Memorial Stadium to take him to the hospital.
But the redshirt junior safety from McDonough, Ga., is on his way back. He participated in Cal’s spring workouts, doing whatever he felt his body would allow, and expects to be in the mix Saturday (11 a.m.) when the Bears hold their spring game.
Plus, by the end of this spring semester he will be just one class shy of earning his degree in American studies.
That will give Sebastian an array of options. He plans to take just a single class in the fall, allowing him to concentrate on all things football.
In the meantime, he intends to take the GRE this summer to become eligible for grad school. Asked about his plans for the fall of 2015, when he’d be able to play his final football season, Sebastian admitted, “I have not thought that far.”
Unspoken is the possibility he could enter the NFL draft in 2015. But he wants to study broadcast journalism and can easily envision himself doing so at Cal.
“You can’t beat a Berkeley education, so if I have that opportunity to do that again (as a grad student), the option’s definitely there,” Sebastian said after practice Wednesday.
Right now, Sebastian is just happy to be healthy once again.
Asked if he’s had any lingering effects from the concussion, he said, “Oh no, I feel better. I think I can see better, actually.”
Regarding the Achilles, he explained, “It’s very tricky, but I’ve had some time with it. I’m ready. Every day it’s getting stronger.
“It’s a lengthy process, but we have great trainers here. They’re revamping my leg. At this point, it’s making sure it’s stretched, making sure it’s as strong as possible. I feel stronger than last year in my legs, and that’s a great thing.
“It feels great to be out here with my team. I’ve really enjoyed this spring.”
Cal’s coaches and training staff have overseen Sebastian’s participation level, but he’s also been allowed to dictate his own pace.
“Mainly just been limiting myself, being cautious. Nobody knows my body better than I do,” he said. “Just want to stay heathy.”
Sebastian said there is no looking back, either on his injury or a disastrous season in which the defense allowed 45.9 points per game.
He said players have embraced and adapted to new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman approach and optimism is growing.
“It’s definitely encouraging. You see the film of what coach Kaufman’s defense did last year at Cincinnati and you see how we’re implementing it in our defense,” he said. “You just do nothing but smile because this summer when we’re doing 7-on-7 on our own we’ll be able to mess with the offense and do whatever we want.
“The game’s going to be in our hands.”