Chauncey Scissum wasn’t running from his fears when he announced last week that he was leaving the Syracuse football team to transfer to UNLV.
Scissum already faced them when he decided to return to Syracuse for his redshirt junior season after surviving a horrific attack at an on-campus party nearly 13 months ago. He was repeatedly stabbed by his former Syracuse teammate Naesean Howard.
Howard stabbed Scissum in the right side of his neck, right upper chest, left shoulder and bottom lip, according to Syracuse.com. Howard also stabbed a second former Syracuse player, Corey Winfield.
“I’m not leaving because of the incident,” Scissum said Monday while finishing up his final week of school at Syracuse. “But if you sit back and look at it from afar, that could be one of the reasons, but it’s just another opportunity to play football at the level that I want and hopefully get to the NFL.”
Scissum, who started seven games at safety for the Orange, hasn’t officially joined the Rebels. They are waiting for Scissum to complete his bachelor’s degree and enroll into the graduate program at UNLV to be eligible this fall.
“They wanted me to hang my head, give up, sit down. Never did any of that. The vision is still clear. The destination never changed,” Scissum said on his social media accounts after reveling his commitment to UNLV. “Thankful for the opportunity to be a UNLV Rebel, and call Vegas my new home.”
Scissum, who was in the hospital for two one-week stints after the attack, said it took time to return to his normal life.
“There were a lot of things on my mind, and dealing with that whole thing there was a lot going on, and it was hard to focus back on my regular routine,” Scissum said. “It took a little bit of adjustment to focus on school and football again.”
They Wanted Me To Hang My Head, Give Up, Sit Down. Never Did Any Of… https://t.co/hTzdLCNcmS
— Chauncey Scissum (@Proto_21) May 2, 2017
Scissum didn’t play the first six games of the 2016 season, but he said it wasn’t because of injuries from the attack. He made a full recovery before the first day of fall camp.
“It was more of a coaching decision and what schemes they wanted to run,” Scissum said. “UNLV gave me the opportunity to play right away, and they told me I could make an early impact.”
If Scissum is cleared to play in 2017, he would help at a position of need for the Rebels, who struggled in the secondary last season.
Scissum’s most productive season during his four years with the Orange was in 2015 when he started seven games in 2015 and recorded 43 tackles.
“I’m a physical player who can play at both safety positions,” said Scissum, who is from Rochester, New York. “I can also go after the ball in pass defense. I want to bring that East Coast toughness.”
Scissum and Winfield made UNLV visits in January after former running backs coach DeAndre Smith introduced them to the Rebels’ coaching staff. Smith left in February for the same position at North Carolina, and Winfield transferred to West Virginia.
Howard pleaded guilty to stabbing his former teammates and faces 10 years in prison.
Scissum’s mother asked the judge to consider a harsher punishment for Howard, and said if it wasn’t for a Syracuse player driving Scissum immediately to the hospital, her son might have lost his life, according to a Syracuse.com story.
“I stayed away from what was going on,” Scissum said. “Whatever the judge gave him that’s fair. There are repercussions and consequences to everything that you do, and you just have to accept it.”
According to Syracuse.com, Howard walked into the outdoor party with the intention to harm Scissum and Winfield because of a grudge he held from his recruiting visit in 2014. Howard blamed them for getting drunk during his visit and said that poisoned his relationship with the Syracuse coaching staff.
“My team was great,” Scissum said. “Most of the team came to visit me in the hospital every day. That piece of my life will be hard to forget, but it made me stronger today.”
Contact Gilbert Manzano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.