Originally created 03/09/06

Summers gets back on the correct path



COLUMBIA - Demetris Summers' world was unraveling fast.

A year ago, the South Carolina star learned he tested positive for marijuana a second time. Later that day he was gone, dismissed by coach Steve Spurrier.

The state's all-time prep rushing leader was stunned.

"At first it was kind of hard," Summers said. "But I had three strong women to help me out, my mother, my grandma and my aunt, who sat me down and talked to me to keep my head and 'Don't give up now.'"

After Summers gathered himself, he got a call from his Lexington High coach, Jimmy Satterfield, recommending he train for a pro career with Emery Williams, who helped former South Carolina star Derek Watson work himself into NFL shape.

A happier, stronger and chiseled 220-pound Summers will audition for at least 15 pro teams next week, according to his adviser Kevin Parker. The problems of the past, in Summers' mind, are just that - past.

He's written to all NFL teams, admitting he twice tested positive for marijuana. He offered no excuses, telling them, "Getting involved in marijuana was the worst mistake of my life."

Summers, 22, said his dismissal was the low point of his life.

"But I really brought this on myself, just making bad decisions and not doing the right things," he said. "You can't really blame anybody else."

Williams began working out with Summers last June. In the nine months since, Summers has been a model student, fulfilling all requirements and coming up drug free on several tests.

"Now that I look back at it, I see it wasn't really worth it," he said. "It ruined my life. Now that I've changed my life and am not doing it, I feel much better."

Summers undergoes another drug test later this week before working out for the NFL scouts.

He is on a nutrition program. His sleep patterns are tracked. He works out five or six days a week, but sessions are targeted for specific goals including strength, agility and stamina.

His world has gradually come together. He remembers watching South Carolina games, thinking "Man, I blew my chance," he says.

"But now it seems like I'm going to get a second chance, and I just have to make the best out of it."