Malcolm Summers was just starting to feel closer to 100 percent healthy when it happened again.
During the last 10 yards of a 59-yard touchdown run against James Madison, the Elon running back felt the same right hamstring he completely tore off the bone a year prior give out again. It was déjà vu, but this hamstring tear wasn't as severe and Summers warmed up the next week against Delaware after taking the week off from practice.
But when he lacked any burst and comfort with the hamstring, he knew his career at Elon was done after playing in only five games his senior year. At the time, he led the FCS with 591 yards off of 97 carries and added three touchdowns.
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In his last three games played, Summers ran for 150 yards against Charleston Southern, 124 yards against New Hampshire and 185 yards in a huge win at No. 2 JMU.
— Elon University (@elonuniversity) October 6, 2018
Summers had to get surgery again on the hamstring, something he's currently rehabbing.
“It was a really big blow mentally," Summers told HERO Sports last week. "No one prepares to get hurt, especially twice. I’m very spiritual and I see the good in a lot of things. For a while, it did take its toll on me. I was down real bad, but I reminded myself that I did it one time and I came back. I had the same stats that I had my junior year and my senior year and I was only at 80 percent.”
As a junior, Summers played in six games before he got hurt, running for 755 yards. Between his 11 games played in his last two seasons for the Phoenix, Summers averaged 122.4 rushing yards per game. Although he only played half the seasons, Summers was still respected enough to earn 2017 Second Team and 2018 Third Team All-CAA honors.
Now, he's hoping to fully recover once again and get a shot at professional football.
“All I need is an opportunity," Summers said. "Honestly, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be in the Reese's (Senior) Bowl and all that. But it’s because I’m hurt. I know when I get healthy and I get back to 100 percent I’m going to make it happen.”
He'll take an unconventional route. While Pro Days are the one shot to impress scouts for a majority of FCS prospects, all Summers will be able to do is the bench press because he isn't cleared to run. He should be fully cleared by May.
There is definitely a chance that Summers' film and bench press earns him a shot at an NFL rookie minicamp. Either way, Summers said the plan he and his agent have established is to send tape to scouts of him running the 40-yard dash and the other agility drills done at Pro Days to gain more interest from teams.
Summers is still training and doing physical therapy at Elon. He can work his upper body as he continues to regain full strength in his right leg. He's also studying a lot of film to improve the mental side of his game.
Spirits are high for Summers. He realizes his journey to playing professional football faces more roadblocks than other prospects. But it's also a fact that he was a top running back in the FCS up until his injuries. All he needs is one team to recognize that and give him a chance.
“Everybody looks at it as a hinder, but I look at it as motivation," Summers said. "Because while everybody else is in Cali and Florida and on beaches having fun, I’m underground working. I’m looking at these people like I should be there. It’s that hunger. I love it because I’ll appreciate it more when I get there. That way it’s not just a job, I’ve proven myself."
“It’s all about perspective," he continued. "If you look at it in a negative way, then of course you're going to be depressed. But if you look at it in a way like the man upstairs is showing you something, then make it happen.”
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