Dunlap transitions to the next level

Published 12:46 am Saturday, November 4, 2017

Terence Dunlap still plays football in the state of Alabama and still wears a jersey with a shade of red as its primary color.

Some of the differences are that he now wears No. 14 as a freshman at Troy University instead of No. 28 for Maplesville High School and plays primarily on defense, as opposed to both sides of the ball in high school.

The bright lights have never been something that Dunlap has shied away from, which makes it no surprise that it has been a smooth transition from high school to college for those that have followed his career.

During his freshman season he has spent the majority of his time on the Trojans’ kickoff and punt coverage units, where he utilizes the speed that helped him become a three-time Class 1A state title game MVP and two-time county player of the year.

As a gunner on special teams he is often one of the first players down field tackling the returner, forcing the return to reverse field or downing the ball.

According to Dunlap, what he will remember most about his freshman season is his special teams tackles.

He got into the game on defense, as a cornerback, and played the majority of the second half on homecoming against Georgia Southern Oct. 28. The Trojans defeated Georgia Southern 38-16 and became bowl eligible.

Throughout the contest Dunlap was always up and about on the sideline anxiously waiting for the next time his number is called to make an impact on the game.

The amount of playing time that Dunlap has received shows the confidence that the coaching has in his ability and is a demonstration of his knowledge of the game.

Whether playing corner on defense or gunner on special teams, Dunlap is always keeping an eye out for the possibility of a big hit. At corner, the possibility for an interception is also always lurking.

“I’ve been playing all my life, and I’m just focused on my task and being a better player,” Dunlap said. “I knew coming in that if I worked hard, I could earn a spot on the field. I didn’t expect anything to be given to me.”

Dunlap quickly learned the biggest difference between high school and college is the players that you line up against.

“Everyone is bigger, faster and stronger,” Dunlap said.

He has already had the opportunity to play in a couple of iconic venues, opening the season on the blue turf at Boise State as well as visiting LSU’s Tiger Stadium.

Everything became even more memorable after the Trojans walked out of Death Valley with a victory over ranked LSU on Sept. 30.

“It was great experience just to be in Baton Rouge and then to also pull off the win,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap has kept up with the Maplesville program and their continued success this season. He has been able to come back and watch a game on a couple different occasions.

When Dunlap goes back home, he has several questions to answer from former teammates about what it is like playing in college.

“They have a lot of questions about how to train and be prepared at the next level,” Dunlap said. “Just about what it takes.”