WH Tribune: Wicker to play at TN Tech

signees2013By Kris Freeman for The White House Tribune

WHITE HOUSE – The sixth member of the White House High School senior class will play college football in 2013 after Grant Wicker was accepted as a preferred walk-on player for the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Wicker, a tailback and safety for the Blue Devils, rushed 360 times for 1,984 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior season, and completed 19-of-43 for 196 yards passing. Wicker was primarily the tailback, but over the course of the final two years of his playing time at WHHS, also earned time as the starting quarterback and ran the Wildcat offense at signal caller.

Wicker also had 55 tackles, three interceptions and four fumbles caused on defense in his high school career. His offensive prowess earned him 3,529 career rushing yards and 572 passing yards as a Blue Devil, putting him over 4,000 yards of total offensive production. He was part of a backfield that rushed for 2,657 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2012, earning the team a District 9-AA championship and a spot in the Class 4-A quarterfinals for the third year in a row.

Wicker joins linemen Jarrison English (Bethel), Micah Kelly (Kentucky Christian), and Zack Escue (Austin Peay), along with linebacker Ethan Hoffman (Anderson, Ind.) and kicker Chase Dunlap (Austin Peay) to advance to the next level.

“This is just a credit to these young men and the contributions they made to our football program,” White House head coach Jeff Porter said. “They are able to achieve success at the next level because of what they represented in the community and to our school, in addition to their accomplishments on the football field.

“We have a goal here to not just coach football players, but to raise young men who will make a significant contribution to our community.”

Walk-on success is a challenge at the college level, but there is a great precedent set from players from White House. Twins Cody and Cory Sullins walked on at the University of Tennessee and earned scholarships and became starters on the offensive line. An award at the annual White House football banquet each year is named in their honor.

Wicker carries accolades from that banquet into his future college career. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player, selected as the two-time MVP of District 9-AA, and named to various media postseason teams in the local area.

“Grant was a leader by example, and he was a very quiet kid, and those are the best kind of leaders,” Porter said. “He’s the toughest kid I have ever known to play football at White House High School.

“You can tell how much he was respected by his teammates because they never complained once when he couldn’t practice at all through the week, because they knew he was going to lay it on the line every single Friday night. I have the utmost respect for him.”

His versatility as an offensive threat is a huge plus.

“He was very unselfish,” Porter said. “He did anything we asked him to do and that was a huge plus for our team the last two seasons.”

White House has a history of athletes successful at the next level. Players from WHHS have excelled at the University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, and a number of small colleges in Division II, III and NAIA. Rogers Gaines, an All-American lineman for Tennessee State University, was signed this offseason as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.

Wicker will play for former Vanderbilt and University of Alabama-Birmingham coach Watson Brown. The Golden Eagles were 3-8 in 2012 and finished 1-7 in the OVC. He will compete on the same field with former teammates on Nov. 23 when Tennessee Tech hosts Austin Peay.

As a preferred walk-on, Wicker will report to practice on the first day of classes at Tennessee Tech in August.

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