Dylan Carroll's junior year hasn't gone as planned.
Carroll's school year started out smooth enough as the 6-2, 160-pound quarterback directed Prairie View to a pair of victories to start the season.
Everything changed for Carroll — and the entire Prairie View football team for that matter — on one play in a Sept. 14 game at Tri-County (Miss.).
Carroll suffered a torn ACL, PCL, LCL and meniscus on a freak play. In layman's terms, Carroll tore up his knee.
Carroll recalls the fateful play all too vividly.
"I took the snap and saw a guy coming to the inside on my left," Carroll said. "I rolled around him, but he drug me down from behind and my knee buckled in. I didn't get hit hard or anything, my knee just went the wrong way."
Not only was Carroll out for the rest of the football season, his basketball and baseball seasons were over before they even started.
Carroll's injuries were so severe, surgery had to be postponed for two months.
"I had to wait two months to get all the movement back and for the swelling to go down," Carroll said.
Carroll has worked diligently to rehab his knee, a process which mainly involves exercises to help him regain strength and balance.
"It's going real well," Carroll said of his rehab program. "I'm ahead of schedule."
Carroll's immediate goal is to be cleared to begin jogging next month. His long-term goal is to be back on the football field in time for the Spartans' season opener in August.
"It's really too early to determine anything," Carroll said. "I'm not anywhere close to 100 percent yet, but at the rate I'm going, I should be back by the beginning of football season. I just want to be able to play in the first game."
Understandably, Carroll has been through some trying times.
"The first two weeks after surgery were probably the toughest," Carroll said. "I was in constant pain and knew I had a long road ahead."
Carroll says he has been inspired by watching NFL stars Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III come back from similar injuries.
"Watching Adrian Peterson and RG III gives me more motivation to push myself to come back and, hopefully, be better," Carroll said.
With the extra free time on his hands, Carroll has to fight off negative thoughts.
"A lot of times, I thing about how I could be out there helping the team," Carroll said. "It's pretty tough going to the games and not being able to be out there to help the team. It makes me want to get out there even more."
To help fill the void, Carroll has remained involved with all three teams. He continued to attend football practices, even on Sunday's, and was a statistician for the basketball team. Also, he has made most of the Spartans' baseball games.
Page 2 of 2 - Prairie View basketball coach Joseph "Boo" Waller appreciated Carroll's presence throughout the season.
"Dylan traveled with us to all of the away games and made most of our practices," Waller said. "He helped us out in any way he could — stats or whatever, he was there."
Waller expects Carroll to benefit from attending practice when he could have been spending his time elsewhere.
"It's good that he came to practice every day because he was able to pick up some little things that are going to put him that much further ahead when he gets back," Waller said. "And I will be glad when he gets back. He'll be if not our best — one of our best — outside shooters and he'll give us some height.
The good thing about Dylan is he can play inside or outside."
Obviously, Carroll is looking forward to being back in action next year.
"I'm going to play all three sports, definitely," Carroll said.
For those who would advise Carroll to give up football, he appreciates the concern, but don't bother. Carroll's competitive nature overrides any fears he may have.
"A bunch of people have told me I shouldn't play football because they're scared I'm just going to get hurt again," Carroll said. "I can't go out like that. I feel like I have to play."
To his credit, Carroll has been strong and upbeat throughout the ordeal. But don't be fooled — it hasn't been easy. Carroll says the outpouring of support from his family, teammates and coaches have helped pull him through the dark times.
"I would like to thank my family for being strong and supporting me through all of this as well as all of the coaches and other players," said Carroll, the son of Damon and Kim Carroll. "All of the support has really meant a lot."