HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Darian Yancey stepped up for the Golden Eagles on Saturday at Tennessee, playing on the defensive line after spending most of the season at linebacker.
The junior's efforts helped Southern Miss limit the Volunteers to just 95 yards rushing and 2-for-13 on third down.
"I think he might have had his best game of the season Saturday," said USM head coach Jay Hopson. "I thought he played well. Darian's a smart football player. He's smart and he's a competitor and he's doing a great job for us."
"Honestly, I thought he played his best game of the season on Saturday," said USM defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro. "We talked as a staff, he was physical, he was flying around."
"The coaches have been telling me I had a pretty good game," Yancey said. "But, to me, I just want to win. We didn't pull that off but I just played as hard as I could."
Yancey's a beast on the field, racking up 24 tackles so far this season. The Auburn, Alabama native is also a collector of beasts.
"I've had three dogs, I've had a cat, I've had two rabbits," Yancey said. "Iguana, ball python, I've had three birds. Growing up, I kept pets. I love animals. I had a pet turtle too...and my bearded dragon."
When he's not in pads, one's likely to find Yancey's bearded dragon hanging on his shoulder.
Yancey bought his pet at a Petsmart about a year and a half ago and, naturally, named him Jeffrey.
"That was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw him," Yancey said. "I was like, 'You know what, I'm going to name you Jeffrey.' Just the first thing that popped into my head. He's good, he's at the crib right now. I'm probably going to go buy him some crickets in a little while."
For the second straight week, Jeffrey will have to watch Yancey on television as USM visits Rice on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. At 5-4 (3-2 Conference USA), Yancey and the Golden Eagles are looking toward the future, not the past.
"Finish strong," Yancey said. "As strong as we can for the senior class and send these boys out right. Don't want to lose another game at all. Keep going forward the best we can and continue to work hard."
Yancey has also mapped out some potential pets he'd like to add to his catalog.
"I want a pet wolf," Yancey said. "I want a big ole wolf or a cheetah."