In Focus: The Hybrid
Senior Chancey Aghayere Brings Versatility to LSU Defense
The ability to have multiple talents in a place where just one would easily suffice can create quite an extraordinary individual. Chancey Aghayere, the 6-4, 265-pound mass of a man, embodies this particular role in a spectacular way.
The LSU defensive line has built up a renowned name for itself over the years. The line has made unprecedented statistics that will forever be in the books from Ronnie Estay, a 1971 All-American, all the way to the more recent Glenn Dorsey, who led his team to the 2007 national championship while receiving multiple prestigious awards including SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
In other words, filling the shoes of LSU's defensive past is quite an undertaking. But this is exactly what Aghayere has set out to do.
On the muggy evening of September 12, 2009, Tiger Stadium was filled with roaring fans packed tighter than sardines in a can. In the midst of this usual Saturday night, a young football player's dream was about to become a reality.
In a matter of seconds, two of LSU's starting defensive linemen were injured and one of the next players in line was the former high school football star from Dallas, Texas. In just the second game of his redshirt freshman season, Aghayere's dreams came true as he was given the opportunity to fill some giant shoes.
|LSU At the Game programs are available on campus three hours prior to game time and online while supplies last.|
"I was so nervous at first. Having to go from 10,000 to 90,000 people is a huge deal. Once I got out there, it all came together," Aghayere said. "It was then that I realized that these guys were just like me; they might have been older and stronger then, but I knew I could do it."
The fresh lineman exemplified the meaning of a young man far exceeding his expectations. He collected five tackles and one sack for a three-yard loss against Vanderbilt, and he finished his freshman season on a solid note with 12 tackles, two for loss, and one sack.
After suffering from a minor shoulder injury at the beginning of his sophomore season, Aghayere and his teammate, Lavar Edwards, were informed that they were backups for Sam Montgomery and Kendrick Adams. Although this wasn't the planned path for the still maturing lineman, the competitor made the best of his situation.
"Lavar and I used that number two spot as motivation," explained Aghayere. "Our coaches always pushed us to our fullest potential, but it wasn't until realizing that if we wanted more playing time, we couldn't practice and live in complacency. Sam and Kendrick wanted it more than us at the time, and it showed countlessly in their practicing habits."
After this realization, the lineman's new-found goals were shining through in more ways than he thought possible. When asked about his unique qualities, one thing quickly came to his mind.
"I think my nickname 'The Hybrid' is very appropriate in my case," Aghayere said. "Most players specialize in one specific position, but I was able to move around the field, finding my strongest abilities through the defensive end, as well as the defensive tackle positions."
After proving that he could apply his talents in multiple niches on the field, there was no doubt that the versatility of this athlete was a necessary piece to LSU's football puzzle. From then on, "The Hybrid" stuck with Aghayere.
After checking off a successful freshman season, his sophomore and junior terms constantly brought new battles with minor off-and-on injuries. Instead of letting these detriments bring him down, Aghayere used them as inspiration to grow from them and mature in every way possible.
"I have become more aware of my body and potential injuries, which has also made me become more mindful of my career in football," Aghayere explained. "I also started eating healthier and getting more sleep because at the end of the day, these factors all lead to my performance in the game."
This mindset that Aghayere has created for himself will only have his future looking bright. Aside from the defensive end having dreams of continuing his football career following LSU, this hybrid of an athlete has unyielding visions for his family as well.
"I've always dreamed of continuing my football career after LSU, but I just want to have a good job so I can support my family. At the end of the day, they are the most important thing to me," Aghayere acknowledged, smiling.
Through hard work and perseverance, the resourceful and adaptable attributes of this young man will forever shine through his football career, as well as in his strong ties to being a family man.