NCAA grants ex-Westover star Savage 6th year

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Alphonso Savage confirmed to The Herald on Thursday that his son -- Auburn defensive back Aairon Savage -- found out he will receive a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after missing the past two seasons due to injury.

Savage missed the 2008 campaign due to a torn ACL and last season due to an Achilles injury. Since Savage was redshirted in 2005, he had to apply for the medical waiver to the NCAA to give him this chance to play his senior season.

The normal time frame for college athletes to use their eligibility is five seasons to complete four.

"He's excited and can't wait to get back on the field," Alphonso said. "I'm just as happy as he is. He has the opportunity to get back on the field and play again and fulfill his dream of possibly making it to the NFL. He has the chance to go at it again."

Aairon was not available for an interview, but Alphonso said his son would address his return soon.

And according to his Alphonso Savage, his son already has his bachelor's degree in exercise science and will earn his masters in biomedicine this spring in hopes of one day being a chiropractor possibly for an NFL team.

Aairon made 61 tackles and had three interceptions his senior year at Westover High School while being recruited by former Auburn assistant Hugh Nall. Now that Nall knows that Savage has a chance to play one more season at Auburn, he's just as happy as Alphonso is.

"I think his biggest impact is what he brings to the team as far as his character," said Nall, who is the chief operating officer at Albany's Southern AG Carriers, Inc. "He's just such a good person (and) has great leadership on and off the field. He has great experience and knowledge of the game and that will be a big deal next season."

After Savage was redshirted, he earned a starting job at safety the next season. During the 2006 campaign, he was named the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Week after tying for the team lead with six tackles in a 23-17 win against Mississippi. He also made his first collegiate interception during that game.

In 2007, he missed six games due to injury and had 26 tackles in seven contests.

Going into 2008, Savage was tied atop the preseason depth chart at right cornerback with Walter McFadden before injuring his ACL.

Nowadays, Alphonso feels his son's bad luck has run its course.

"We definitely believe all the bad luck is behind us," Aairon's father said. "Whatever happened, we took it in a positive way and always hoped for the best. He's 100 percent now and good to go."