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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Deshazor Everett didn't really celebrate winning Southeastern Conference defensive player of the week honors after piling up a career-high 16 tackles in No. 6 Texas A&M's overtime win against Arkansas.
"It means people are going to start challenging me more," he said. "No one is going to think: 'Hey he's a great player just because he got SEC player of the week.' It will be like: 'Hey, let's see what he can really do.'"
Another reason the cornerback wasn't overly excited about the honor is because, quite frankly, he's aiming for much bigger goals.
"If you're going to be the best player you can be then getting this honor should push me to want to get a higher honor," he said. "Like why can't I win the Jim Thorpe Award?"
Everett wasn't on the preseason watch list for that award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate defensive back. But that's OK with him; he's used to being an underdog. Growing up in DeRidder, Louisiana, Everett barely saw the field in his two junior high football seasons before finally getting a shot as a freshman and blossoming into a top defender.
He amassed 130 tackles including 10 for losses as a senior before signing with A&M, but still carries his junior high struggles with him to this day.
"You could say that made me just want to prove that I'm the best all the time," Everett said.
The senior has put together a nice resume at A&M. He had a career-high 73 tackles last season and scored two touchdowns, with one coming on a fumble recovery and a second one on an interception return.
But that wasn't his first solid season for the Aggies. He had 56 tackles as a sophomore with two interceptions, including one of A.J. McCarron on the goal line to end Alabama's rally attempt in Texas A&M's win over the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
"He's a guy who's played a lot of football ... (and) there's a lot expected of him," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "He's the most experienced corner we have with a bunch of young guys and is the leader and he puts a lot of pressure on himself to excel."
Everett's performance against the Razorbacks was made even more impressive by the fact that he injured his shoulder late in the game before returning to help seal the victory.
"I went to the sideline and took a minute and gathered my thoughts and decided ... I can't sit out the rest of the game," he said. "I was like: Hey I'm fine, just let me get back in.'"
He did, and helped bring down Alex Collins for no gain on fourth-and-1 in overtime to give the Aggies the win. His 16 tackles were the most by and Aggie this season and he also had 1 1/2 for losses. Everett is third on the team with 29 tackles this season and also has an interception.
Everett split time between cornerback and safety in his first three seasons at A&M but is lining up solely at cornerback this year, something he says has helped him improve at the position. Because of his experience, he's counted on as a leader of the defense, but he admits he'll never be a vocal leader because he's just not that much of a talker.
"I just do what I need to do and try to teach the younger guys to just follow in my footsteps," he said. "And with things I don't do right, to learn from my mistakes, so when guys get out there they won't mess up on things that I messed up on."
This week he'll try to help the Aggies improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1994 when they visit No. 12 Mississippi State on Saturday. The Bulldogs are led by dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott, who has thrown for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns and ran for 378 yards and three more scores.
"We're going to have to come prepared to play," Everett said. "(Prescott) is a great player. He can run the ball; he can throw to ball, so it's going to be another challenge for us."