Story by Tyler Carter
Deterrian “D.T.” Shackelford was struck by misfortune during his junior year as a football player at the University of Mississippi. After tearing his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) twice within the span of two years, he called the ordeal, “one of the toughest moments in my life.”
One of the things my grandmother always says is, “Lord, let your will be done, not mine,” Shackelford said.
Although he had aspired to become a professional football player at an early age, he used his injuries as motivation not only to return to top shape but also to pursue a master’s degree in higher education.
Shackelford has had many memorable and rewarding experiences at Ole Miss, but his most memorable was winning the Chucky Mullins Award as a junior. This award is given annually to the most courageous senior defensive player who displays leadership qualities. Being the first to win this coveted award as a junior, Shackelford said he felt honored to be among so many greats and was appreciative of the admiration his coaches and teammates had for him and his efforts.
Many student athletes are afforded the opportunity to play professional football after college, but Shackelford knows that that opportunity will not come to fruition for him.
“After football, my plan is to affect the lives of youth in some kind of way,” Shackelford said. “I plan to look into becoming an athletics director or a high school principal. I know that my purpose in life is to positively impact the lives of teenagers and young adults.”
Shackelford recently took a mission trip with other members of the football team to Camp Marie, Haiti, where they helped to widen a narrow gravel road enough to allow trucks to pass through so the community could improve the transport of its primary financial resource, the papaya fruit.
While he is passionate about football, Shackelford believes that his membership in Omega Psi Phi fraternity has been instrumental in helping him to become the greatest man he can be. His hobbies include basketball and watching and reading documentaries of great figures in and outside of sports.
Shackelford grew up in an environment that rarely produced college graduates, let alone those who would pursue and obtain a master’s degree.
“My hope for my future children, nieces and nephews is [for them to say] that, ‘Deterrian did it the right way, and he is the reason I know that achieving success in life is possible,’” he said.