Wessli-Ann Hardee, Staff Writer
Around 35 student-athletes are expected to sign with the Wingate Football program on Wednesday, Feb. 7, according to Head Coach Joe Reich.
The Wingate football program has been searching for guys across the country throughout the year to, “Add quality depth at several positions,” said Reich.
In years’ past, the football program has heavily recruited and added quite a bit of numbers to their program. Last year, the recruiting class had about 60 guys. This year is a different story, with the number being nearly cut in half.
“We are trying to keep our numbers down a bit this year and be more selective,” said Reich.
The entire recruiting process weighs on several men’s shoulders. Different coaches on staff are assigned to certain regions to recruit future collegiate athletes.
“It’s fun and stressful and exciting and a grind and exhilarating and frustrating and all of the above,” Reich said. “But I think it is one of the things that keeps it fresh for us since every year is new and there are new sets of stories and challenges.”
Many recruits come on official visits where they tour the campus, and meet some of the current athletes. One of the best things they do is a “player panel,” where they have seven players or so, that meet as a group with the families without any coaches, according to Reich.
Players then have the opportunity to stay for the weekend with a few current players, to get an even better taste of the college life.
“Current players are the key to our success,” says Reich. “The current team sells the program by the kind of people they are and how they act around one another.”
With a large graduating class, Reich is hoping that many of the athletes that sign will be able to fill some big roles, on and off the field. Currently the football team is in their spring training season and will begin spring practice soon.
“Things are rockin’, so it’s a great time to be a Wingate Bulldog!” said Reich.
The first appearance of signees will be at the 2018 Spring Football Game at Irwin Belk Stadium.
Edited by Brendan Shriver