In the same year a pioneer coach at Knightdale High School is moving on from the school’s football program, one of the top-50 football players in the country is expected to join the varsity Knights squad.
That’s the designation Offense-Defense Sports recently gave Corey Wiggins, 15, who played junior varsity football for Knightdale his freshman and sophomore seasons and will be a junior in the fall. Offense-Defense ranked the 5-foot-8, 215-pound defensive lineman at No. 42 out of all 15-18-year-olds in the country on Feb. 25.
The O-D organization runs youth and high school football camps and bowl games. It considers camp performances and awards, All-American Bowl nominations and performances, and highlight analysis when compiling its rankings, according to the O-D website.
“It’s one of the top-three camps in the nation and scouts look at those rankings and the videos they put out,” Wiggins said. “This means that I’ve shown I know how to play the game, and that I want to play at a higher level, and that I have the ability to be the best.
“I want to work hard to make my ranking better than 42. I want to strive to be No. 1.”
Wiggins’ ranking came after he competed on a 15-16 age group Team USA squad during the eighth annual Offense-Defense All-American Bowl week, held Dec. 30-Jan. 5 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
He earned a spot on that team after being named an All-American player at an O-D camp held at N.C. State University last summer. He also claimed defensive MVP at the camp.
“(The ranking) is all positions mixed in together,” Wiggins said. “Whoever performed the best in practice and on game days got the best rankings. I just tried my hardest.
“Every game and practice I just kept trying and didn’t slack off, no matter how tired I was, and used the skills I’d learned in O-D camps in the past.”
Wiggins plays defensive tackle and defensive end, but says the D-end spot better suits his skill set.
“At defensive end, I have a little more freedom and can use my speed and techniques more,” he said.
College football is on Wiggins’ radar. He hasn’t settled on a hard list of schools that interest him just yet, but said he intends to play somewhere that is fully interested in him.
“I’m just keeping all options open,” he said.
Operating under the team name JamRock Elite, the quartet of Marcell Johnson, Henry Kiedy, Corey Aikens and Marquavious Johnson posted a time of 3:20.55.
Two teams from New Jersey, and teams from Pennsylvania and New York claimed the top four spots, respectively.
In boys basketball, the Offense Award went to Messiah Harvin-Cleveland and the Defense Award was given to Jesus Calderon Martinez. Justice Burgess took home the Coaches Award and Brendan Hasbrouck was given the Sportsmanship Award.
In girls basketball, the Wolves Award went to Nuvia Maganda-Aguilar and Krystal Hodge won the Most Improved Award. Keytonia Watkins received the Leadership Award and Destanie Lee the Sportsmanship Award.
In cheerleading, Brianna Yarborough was presented the Coaches Award and Kylah Loftin the Most Improved Award. The Perseverance Award went to Jamara Ethridge and Delaney Cronin took home the Sportsmanship Award.