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ST. PETERSBURG — Cortavious Givens had good reason for looking forward to the first day of fall practice.
The rising junior running back sat out most of last season, missing Admiral Farragut’s run to the Class 2A state final, and all of the spring with torn ligaments in his right knee.
“I’ve been thinking about this since right after the Canterbury game (Sept. 16) when I first injured my knee,” Givens said. “All I could think about after surgery was getting right to rehab and working hard so I could get to this day.”
Givens, who will also play middle linebacker, spent rehab working hard on his lower body and has bulked up from 197 to 207 pounds. After recently impressing University of Florida coaches at the Friday Night Lights camp, his next task is impressing critics who doubt his ability to play running back again.
“All that did was motivate me,” he said. “It’s going to make me a better running back this season.”
Givens isn’t the only Blue Jacket back from injury. Senior quarterback Colby Robinson broke his right wrist in the spring game against Berkeley Prep, but was throwing with zip Monday.
That’s a relief to coach Chris Miller, who doesn’t have a proven backup for Robinson. Last year’s reserve, Dontae McGee, transferred to Brandon, leaving receiver Jestin Green as the current backup.
Aside from offensive lineman Blake Johnson, who will arrive next week, seven other players are missing and won't join the Blue Jackets until school starts on Aug. 20. All of the players live out of the area and board at the school.
There were 22 players practicing Monday. Miller expects the varsity roster to have between 25-30 players.
“That’s just the way it is here,” Miller said. “Last year we went through all of training camp with 15 players.”