If Chris Yeakey gets his wish, he’ll go through not one Texas Tech senior day, but two. After the 2012 season ends, the Red Raiders’ backup safety plans to appeal for a sixth year of eligibility.
Injuries wiped out Yeakey’s 2010 and 2011 seasons, but he’s one of the 18 seniors going through Saturday’s pre-game ceremonies.
“I’m going to do all the senior events due to the fact it’s not guaranteed I’m going to be back here next year,” Yeakey said this week. “I would hate to miss out on that just in hopes of getting a year back.”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Yeakey (pronounced “YAY-key”) might be an obscure figure to all but diehard Tech fans. He started his career at Division III University of Redlands (Calif.), then transferred to Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College, hoping to be seen by a bigger university. Former Tech defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow spotted Yeakey and recruited him to walk on.
Yeakey was coming off MCL and ACL reconstructions during knee surgery before the 2010 season at Santa Rosa, making him risky for a scholarship.
Then last year at Tech, he suffered a sprained ankle in August practice and another knee-ligament tear the week of the Iowa State game. He’s come back this season to play on special teams, getting credit for two tackles in seven games.
That alone makes him a behind-the-scenes success story.
“After the first one, I was devastated,” Yeakey said, “so you can imagine how I felt after the second time after doing all the work to get back here in the first place. I had to make a decision where I either did or didn’t play, and I decided to play. So I put in the work I needed so I could get back to where I could compete.”
If Yeakey successfully petitions for another year, he could help the team in 2013. Some of the Red Raiders’ heaviest graduation losses will be at safety, where Cody Davis and D.J. Johnson will depart. Yeakey trains behind Davis.
“I think he would really help them out,” receiver Austin Zouzalik said, “not only with the safeties we’re losing, but he’s a big guy. He can fill the run. He can cover people. He can make plays. From a leadership standpoint, I think it would be good to have him back on the team.”
Zouzalik said he loves Yeakey, because he’s a hard worker with a good attitude and a sense of humor.
“He’s a great guy,” Zouzalik said. “He really helps out on special teams and especially on the sideline. He’s always a positive guy. He’s always, ‘Hey, we got this. Drive it down there and score.’ That helps us out a lot. He brings a lot of good energy to us.”
To comment on this story: