Brandon Facyson had a great start to his career, but he had to hit the pause button after his freshman year.
When Facyson signed with Tech in 2013 as a 3-star recruit out of Newnan, Georgia, he was overshadowed by fellow DB signee and 5-star recruit Kendall Fuller. That’s understandable; Rivals.com ranked Fuller the #9 player in the country, and Facyson #52 … in Georgia.
But they both hit the ground running in Blacksburg, and after the 2013 season, Facyson was nearly Fuller’s equal. He had five interceptions to Fuller’s six; he was 3rd-team All-ACC, while Fuller was 2nd-team; and Facyson was a national freshman All-American, just like Fuller.
Then Facyson sat out the spring of 2014 with a stress fracture in his left tibia, then had a “bone graft procedure to aid the healing process” at the end of the spring, per his hokiesports.com profile, and news reports.
He appeared to be progressing slowly as the 2014 season approached, and when I asked him at Media Day last fall if he was a hundred percent, he hesitated before answering “Close to it.”
“Close to it” was all he ever got. Facyson played in the first three games, but he clearly wasn’t himself, giving up a TD against Ohio State when a Buckeye converted a short catch into a long run. Then he was targeted early by ECU, and after being beaten badly several times, he was pulled from the game. He dressed for the Georgia Tech game, but didn’t play that day or the rest of the season, and he later received a medical redshirt for the 2014 season.
Oh, I forgot to mention: in bowl game practices in December, Facyson suffered a tibia and fibula fracture of his left leg (the same one that had the stress fracture). He had surgery and missed another spring.
So it’s been a terrible 18 months or so for Brandon Facyson, after a hot start. By all accounts, he’ll be ready to play again this fall, and reportedly will be a hundred percent physically.
That’s all an interesting history lesson, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Facyson being one of Our Favorite Players. He makes the list because he’s a smart, disciplined, engaging young man. We have interviewed him a number of times, and have always found him to be respectful, thoughtful and intelligent in his answers.
He’s an impressive student, too, at least in terms of his academic field of study and career plans. Facyson is enrolled in Biological Sciences with the ultimate goal of becoming a heart surgeon — that’s not typical football player fare. When we asked him about it during last fall’s Media Day, he said that he’s been interested in it since seeing a cow’s heart in science class in seventh grade, and he has “always wanted to help people.”
As the old ladies might say it, he’s a nice young man, and you can’t help but root for him. I just watched some clips from that 2014 ECU game, the last time we saw him in action (don’t worry, I won’t link or embed the video), and that’s not how I want to remember Brandon Facyson the football player. I suspect he’ll be successful off the field no matter what, but I’d sure like to see more of this type of play from him, from 2013.
One of the goals of this series is to get you invested in the players we cover, increase your appreciation of them, and make you root that much harder for them. Brandon Facyson is a guy we’ll be rooting for to make a successful return to the field in 2015.
For the full list so far:
Our Favorite Players 2015