He mentioned class.
“In high school, you can make the grade easy. In college, it’s a lot different,” he said. “You actually have to put for the effort. You actually have to go to class every day. You have to put in the hours of studying.
“Time management — coming in here, everyone said it was the biggest thing and I kind of brushed it off a little bit, but coming in here, it hit me. I didn’t stray from that. I was prepared for it, but I wasn’t prepared for it to be this hard, especially with football. Coming home tired every day and kind of discipline yourself to sit down and study for periods of time and actually let yourself study.”
Sound like most football players you hear talk? Facyson (pronounced FAY-sun), an early enrollee from Newnan, Ga., comes across a little different. His mother and stepfather are currently principals in Dubai. He graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA and was a National Honor Society member. He plans to study pre-med with a goal of becoming a heart surgeon.
But he’s also focused on the football field, where he’s been getting serious reps with the second-team in a thin field of cornerbacks, working behind Kyle Fuller at the boundary corner position.
“Most of the times, freshmen are all over the place, and right now he’s no different,” defensive backs coach Torrian Gray said. “He’s shown flashes of where he has the ability to make plays. Now he’s like [Donaldven] Manning and [Donovan] Riley and all those guys last year as a freshman, man. It just takes some time sometimes.”
The 6-foot-2, 173-pound Facyson, who called Gray the best defensive backs coach in the nation, had a couple of those moments in the scrimmage. On back-to-back plays early on, he came up to make a tackle on a quick out to a receiver and then broke up a pass play, getting kudos from his teammates. But a little bit later, he was beaten on a long ball.
“What I’ve seen, he’s a long body, he can transition coming out of his breaks and do those things,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “He’s got long arms. He’s a guy that really has got closing ability. So you see him contesting throws and doing a lot of things. Day-in, day-out, you see him breaking on balls, competing, learning and growing every day. He’s a smart kid, a tough kid. I think he’s got a great future here.”
Just how soon he’ll contribute remains to be seen. He’s gotten a jumpstart on his 2013 classmates by enrolling in January but will face stiffer competition once the glut of cornerbacks, including five-star signee Kendall Fuller, arrive this summer.
In the meantime, he’s soaking up all the advice and instruction he can get this spring, eager to learn.
“If I continue to progress, I feel like I can play,” Facyson said. “Even if I’m not starting, I have no problem at all being behind [Kyle] Fuller, learning from him. He’s kind of like a second coach to me. He plays my position. I ask him questions. He lets me know the deal. He lets me know how I can get better at that. So when I’m out on the field, I’m listening to coach Gray and I’m listening to coach Foster and I’m looking at Kyle.”