Pelham’s Christian Drake, Terrell Burton, Lorenzo Church, Greg Florence, Quenterrius Jasper and Tre’von White model shirts for their respective colleges after signing on Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)
PELHAM — Pelham High School Assistant Athletic Director and defensive coordinator Shane Wheeler doesn’t have a college degree in marketing or sales.
However, Wheeler was at the center of the Hornets’ National Signing Day ceremony Wednesday afternoon as six student-athletes signed letters-of-intent to play college football.
Wheeler is the coach who spends countless hours producing highlight clips, then uploads them to a website called Hudl where thousands of college recruiters visit to look for potential prospects.
For the six who signed on Wednesday, Wheeler was the one who helped make the sales pitches.
One of those players was defensive back Greg Florence, who signed with Merced (Calif.) Community College.
“Coach Wheeler went all out for me,” Florence said. “He puts in a lot of time (making videos) after practice. I can’t thank him enough.”
In addition to Florence, the Hornets had five more signees. Tre’Von White signed with The Citadel, while Christian Drake signed with Army. The two gave Pelham a pair of Division I football signees for what was believed to be the first time in school history.
In addition, Lorenzo Church and Terrell Burton signed with Dakota College at Bottineau, a junior college in North Dakota, while Quenterrius Jasper will join Florence at Merced College.
It was day where Wheeler sat back and smiled. Pelham coach Frankie Carroll praised his assistant’s hard work and said he needed to be nicknamed “Mr. AT&T” for the amount of time he spends on the phone trying to get players to the next level.
“This is a long time coming,” Wheeler said. “I’m proud of these young men. They are good students first and good athletes second. Then they have good parents behind them. When you have that combination, anything is possible.”
White said it was Wheeler’s work that helped him get noticed. South Carolina State had shown some interest while assistant coach Joel Taylor was there. When Taylor moved to The Citadel, he still had interest in White.
But it was the film that helped get White on the map, then he took an official visit to the Charleston, S.C., campus later.
“Coach Wheeler was the one who put my name out there,” White said. “He wants to win football games, but his dream is to help get us to college and make us better people.”
A large crowd of parents, friends and administrators filled the school’s Media Center on Wednesday afternoon. While witnessing six players continue their education and play football at the next level was rewarding for Wheeler, it was also rewarding for the student athletes.
“All my emotions came out (Wednesday),” White said. “I’m just blessed and really thankful.”