Posted Jun 15, 2017
Philip Pierre-Louis' college football career nearly ended before it began. On the opening kickoff of Auburn's first game of the 2008 season, the speedy receiver tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while returning the ball upfield. "All I remember is hobbling off to the sideline," Pierre-Louis said. "They checked my leg out and (I remember) them whispering in my ear that I tore my ACL. Being that young, I didn't know the injury time or if I could ever even come back. So I remember sobbing on the sidelines looking up at my parents." Following an excruciating year in rehab, Pierre-Louis returned to action in 2009. He appeared in six games for the Tigers, returning 11 punts for 49 yards and seven kickoffs for 140 yards. A few months later, Pierre-Louis went down again. During an impressive performance at an April 2010 scrimmage, his knee buckled underneath him."I automatically knew then that I tore my ACL," he said. "After that I was physically and mentally drained." Pierre-Louis managed to recover from his second injury and played on the scout team that fall, but never saw the field again at Jordan-Hare Stadium and finished his career without a single catch. "It hurt a lot knowing I couldn't help my team, my friends and the city itself out," he said. "But I did what I needed to I guess you could say, because we ended up winning a national championship." Pierre-Louis was academically suspended twice and was in and out of school in the years that followed. He ultimately decided to buckle down, and graduated from Auburn last month with a degree in economics."That piece of paper is very powerful," he said. "I always knew I was going to finish school, but I didn't have a timeline when. I just had to."