There must be something in the water at SouthLake Christian in Huntersville. The young school, with an even younger athletic program, has many strong athletes that are forming the cornerstone of the school's athletic tradition.
The latest, and youngest one of these kids is Will Grier, a 6-foot-2 middle school quarterback who is slated to start at the high school level for the Eagles next year as a freshman.
But before the fall of 2010 comes around, Grier, 14, will try to help himself and his school garner some national attention as he heads to San Antonio, Texas for the Football University Youth All-American Bowl on Jan. 10.
Twenty-two players from the East, along with 22 from the West, have been selected to play in this game. Grier proved to be one of the top talents for his age level in the country. Sixty Football University regional directors and scouts attend games and talk to coaches and local media to select players for the game.
"They liked him and thought he was the top quarterback out of the rising ninth-graders," said Will's Dad, Chad Greir. "I think he's got a chance to turn into a really solid football player and have some good opportunities come his way."
Will, who is a bit soft-spoken, says he started playing football because he enjoyed the contact. Since then, his love for the game has grown.
"I'm definitely pretty passionate and very competitive," Will said. "I want to do everything right. I know I can't be perfect, but I want to be so that I can continue to get better."
There may be no one more excited than SouthLake's head varsity football coach, Rich Landis, who says he plans to make Grier the starting quarterback heading into summer practices.
"Even though he's a ninth-grader, with his size and ability he will definitely be slated as our starter," Landis said. "Wouldn't know at this point if we plan on starting him on defense, but he's definitely got the experience at defensive back and we would want that help."
With so many expectations surrounding such a young kid, some might think he has a big head, but that is not the case.
His dad, who was his football coach back in the pee-wee days, says his son does a great job of concentrating on what's important in life and staying grounded.
"He's been blessed with all the ability in the world," Chad Grier said. "If he continues to work hard, stay humble and keep his head in the right place, he can be a pretty special player."
Will, however, is not worried about gridiron glory at this time of year. While he will not play baseball this spring to concentrate on working out for football, he will still play basketball for the high school varsity team.
"Personally, I love kids to be multisport athletes," Landis said. "I think it benefits the kid and with the skills he possesses, you would think that he would continue to grow at both sports pretty significantly over the next four years. (In football), I think he'll be a division one prospect by the time he hits 10th grade."
While nothing is ever set in stone when it comes to the world of sports, you might want to hold onto this newspaper clipping, folks. In a couple of years, we could be hearing big things from the Eagles and Will Grier, who just might be the next big thing.