There’s a process to returning from any injury. Step by step, players find their way back on the field after a diagnosis, possible surgery, recovery and rehabilitation.

Tight end Miller Forristall made a big step in practice last week as he continues to recover from a knee injury last season.

“(The first) scrimmage, I got tackled by Saivion (Smith) for the first time since the hit,” Forristall said. “I remember I caught the ball and was like, ‘Alright, here comes the down, Saivion chopped the legs, and I was like (gasps), I’m alive. It’s OK. I did not die, my leg didn’t explode.’ So, it was definitely a confidence thing I had to kind of get over.”

Forristall was able to do some things in practice during spring and even participated in the A-Day game in a black noncontact jersey. He’s participated throughout fall camp, 11 months after the injury.

His injury came in the third game of the season against Colorado State last year. That qualified him for a medical redshirt; he’ll be a redshirt sophomore this season.

“If I’m going to tear my ACL anywhere, I’m glad I did it here,” he said. “We have the best rehab staff. Jeff Allen and those guys, I think, are the best in the country, bar none. So, I’m glad if that happened, it happened here.”

It wasn’t just the athletic trainers that helped Forristall through his injury. He was also able to work through rehab with some of his teammates, including linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton. He saw both his 2016 and 2017 seasons ended by knee injuries. That helped him overcome the mental difficulties he faced.

“Shaun Dion was huge for me in that, a guy that I could really look up to and see how he did it, and I tried to do that,” he said.