No matter the score, driven Addison won't give it up
Andre Addison (3) has an abundance of drive to succeed. Play Video
Andre Addison (3) has an abundance of drive to succeed.
It’s the fourth quarter of the season opener and in a rare occasion JU is getting waxed by Georgia Southern.

It’s 40-something to nothing, pretty much a time a player might start thinking about next week’s sports management class, but safety Andre Addison was having none of that mailing-it-in stuff. Andre was here. Andre was there. Frankly, Andre appeared to be everywhere on the field as the minutes that seemed like hours wound down.

He wouldn’t quit that day and refused to throw in the towel on much of anything, including a difficult move from corner back to safety.

“When I want to quit I think about my inspirations and I can get inspirations from the littlest things,’’ Addison, a junior from Crescent City, Fla., said. “It’s not a little thing, but I can walk down the street and see a homeless person and I don’t want to be in those shoes. That’s where my drive comes from.’’

The drive, he explains, goes far beyond the football field.

“This is a family matter,’’ he said. “I’ve always wanted to take care of my family. If it was just me, I could go get a regular job without a college education but I want to take care of my family and give back to everybody who gave to me. I want to take this to the next level and that’s why I try so hard; to make people proud and make people happy and give 100 percent.’’

That he won’t quit is no surprise to secondary coach Danny Verpaele.

“He’s going to compete at everything he does and he gets ticked when he loses,’’ Verpaele said. “That competitive edge of his is fiery.’’

Verpaele has been impressed with Addison’s move to safety where he is expected to be the quarterback of the defense.

“He’s doing a good job and continuing to grow and learn,’’ Verpaele said. “He’s understanding the defense more. He can’t talk as much trash now because he’s got to make the checks and all that but he is doing very good with it.’’

Addison admits the change hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been very difficult from the standpoint of having to know the whole defense. As corner you know your position, as safety you have to know the ins and outs of the entire defense and know on the fly you have to know the checks,’’ he said.

Hence, despite 19 tackles, a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown, quarterback hurries and a forced fumble, he’s not particularly happy with his season thus far.

“I am nowhere near where I’m supposed to be,’’ he said. “There is a lot I have to work on especially perfecting safety. I want to perfect safety to where I step out on the field there is no question that I know what I have to do.’’

Head coach Kerwin Bell said the move was a natural to try.

“He was physical corner that will hit you and make plays,’’ Bell said. “When you’ve got one of those kind of players and you might be able to blend him into the middle part of the field, the safety position, and see if he can do the same thing. We did that this spring and he was making plays. He’s got great instincts and is a smart football player and his move has been big for us.’’

So big, the team has that top rating in FCS.

“When I first heard it I was ecstatic and it made me want to work harder,’’ Addison said. “Then I sat and thought about it from standpoint of the coaches and I see where they are coming from in results don’t matter until after the season. I’m still happy, though. I walked up and down the campus with a smile from ear to ear … we have a lot more to do. I still don’t think the defense is nowhere near where it can be.’’

- Jim Nasella