Errin Joe takes solace in this much – when the labrum in his shoulder gave out last August, it did so valiantly.
Joe, a Georgia Tech guard, had come into his sophomore season hoping to earn playing time after his freshman season was cut short by an unusual foot injury. Just before the start of the first scrimmage, Joe had the mindset to set the tone for his camp. Joe got in six snaps before he got hurt, but, he said, offensive line coach Mike Sewak told him they were the best six plays he had seen Joe play.
Joe has finished daily treatment to rehabilitate his shoulder and expects to be cleared in advance of Tech’s spring practice, which begins March 24. Those six plays have whet his appetite and set the stage.
After the injury, he said, “I just kind of had to recollect myself and just know I can come back better than those six plays.”
Joe was one of three Tech players coming back from injury that I spoke with for a story that will run in Sunday’s paper and myajc.com, center Freddie Burden and defensive end Roderick Rook-Chungong being the other two.
Being out for the year “gives you a chance to kind of step back, notice things,” Joe said, “and really makes you love the game even more.”
Joe, who is on track to graduate in December after 3 ½ years with a degree in science, technology and culture, has significant opportunity in spring practice to earn playing time. With the graduation of linemen Ray Beno, Jay Finch and Will Jackson, and Morgan Bailey’s decision to not return for his senior season, Joe will be only one of nine scholarship linemen available in spring practice. The team will receive six incoming freshman linemen in the summer. At guard, he’ll be in competition with All-ACC returnee Shaquille Mason, Trey Braun and Shamire Devine.
“I’m excited, first of all, to put the pads back on,” Joe said, “but also seeing that opportunity. My main focus is getting back healthy. I like where I’m at right now, but I believe that there’s a lot of things I’ve got to do to get back right health-wise and then getting stronger, faster and getting ready for this spring.”