NC State redshirt freshman defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop was named the 2009 scout team defensive MVP. That's a strong accomplishment considering that Cato-Bishop is just beginning to dedicate himself to the sport of football.
Cato-Bishop's first love was basketball. He may have been better known for his exploits on the hardwood at Lawrence Academy in Dorchester, Mass., than the gridiron. Cato-Bishop played AAU hoops for
"I miss it a lot," Cato-Bishop, who said the last time he picked up a basketball was over Christmas break when he home, admitted. "It's different, seeing all my friends playing on ESPN, on television, playing in the spotlight, but I chose to play football so I am here to play football."
Cato-Bishop said that choice to play football came when NC State started noticing his potential.
"It must have been the end of my senior year when I started getting calls for football, a lot of calls from NC State," Cato-Bishop recalled. "That's when I made my decision that I'll play football instead of basketball."
Cato-Bishop has closed, at least for now, the door on basketball. He said that at 275 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame, he's about 40 pounds over what he would need to be to play basketball.
"I can't jump as high as I used to, and my lateral movement is not as good as it used to be, but I still jump and run well," Cato-Bishop said.
However, Cato-Bishop is also quickly discovering that he may have a bright future in football.
"I learned last year that I'm an athlete so that I can use my basketball abilities to make plays," Cato-Bishop said. "I learned a lot about using my hands, using my quickness off the ball, stuff like that. I just learned a lot from the older guys last year."
Redshirting was difficult for Cato-Bishop, but the MVP award for the defensive scout team brought him some gratification.
"It meant a lot," Cato-Bishop said. "It meant to me that coaches knew I was working hard and trying to do my best each and every day.
"It was hard because I am an athlete. I am a competitor. Everybody wants to play. You live and learn though, just like in life, so it was good for me."
If the first football scrimmage stats are an indication for anything, Cato-Bishop could be a force on the field this fall. He posted four tackles, all of them for losses, including a pair of sacks.
Cato-Bishop though has not set any lofty goals for himself on the field, instead preferring to focus on the big picture.
"I'm a team player," Cato-Bishop said. "I just want to win and go to a bowl game. I just want to be on the field and help the team, help us win."