Playing behind the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year might not be an easy task but it's one that can teach a player a lot of lessons if one is willing to listen and learn.
For senior to be defensive end Tim Starson, it's just part of the process that has seen the one year high school player to flourish into someone who can become something very special for the Red Wolves defensive unit.
Starson, a New York native, moved to Arkansas and played only his senior season at Fort Smith Northside for one year.
He lost his mother to cancer his senior season putting playing football in prospective for young man that was a lot more maturer than his young age indicated.
"That was a tough part of my life," Starson remembers. "I lost my mom, I didn't have my dad in my life. There were a lot of great people that stepped up and was there for me, to make sure I made something out of my life."
Starson, a skinny 6-foot-4, 200 pound senior at Northside, got an offer for an official visit to Arkansas State. He thought he was going to play football at the University of Central Arkansas, but after a visit to Jonesboro he knew he had found his future home.
"One trip to Jonesboro and I knew I found my future home," Starson remembers. "They offered me while I was on my trip and committed on the spot. It just felt right."
Now four years later he finds himself a little bigger, actually a lot bigger than he was when he first started playing at ASU. He now is 6-foot-5 and weighs 265-pounds.
"I remember when I first got here and was having to go up against some of the big boys," Starson said. "Everyone asked me if I was a wide receiver, he laughed and told them no, I'm a defensive lineman, some of the guys chuckled when I told them that."
A lot of offensive linemen aren't chuckling anymore.
Starson has developed into a physical specimen, playing a lot as a junior but didn't start due to Brandon Joiner (Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year) playing in front of him at his position.
"I learned a lot from Brandon," Starson said. "He is a great player, he has taught me a lot about the game and a lot about life in general. He is a great competitor."
Make no mistake about it, Starson is ready for his time to be the starter for the Red Wolves this fall.
"I have worked hard to get here," Starson said. "I'm not stopping now. I'm going to work my tail off this summer, this is my year to shine. I want to finish my senior season off on a great note."
Could the starting defensive end for the Red Wolves win back to back Defensive Player of the Year honors?
"Tim is a fierce competitor," John Thompson ASU Defensive Coordinator said after the spring game. "He has a chance to be really, really good. He works hard and he is very physical. We are looking for great things from him this fall."
Starson will be the first to tell you that things haven't come easy to him in his life, but he doesn't fault anyone or anything and is pleased to have a loving caring family at Arkansas State surrounding him.
"These guys on my team are my brothers," Starson said. "I have a lot of great friends on this team, they have been here for me during difficult times. We are a family here."
I don't know about you, but I have a feeling that all of AStateNation will take Starson as one of their own this fall, as they root for Starson to follow in Joiner's footsteps.