Wesley Scott had an easy senior year ahead of him.
After three years at Concord High, he had just four credits to complete before graduating, possibly a semester early.
"I could have taken two classes each semester," said Scott. "I could have slept in, worked as an office assistant ... and had an easy day."
Not to mention, as a junior defensive end for the Spiders last year, Scott led the team in sacks and earned All-South Piedmont Conference honors. His senior season was poised to be another good one.
But Scott decided against that, instead spending his senior year at Cannon.
The decision was not a quick one - not because he was indecisive, but because his family wanted him to think about his choice.
"I was dumbfounded," said Tony Scott, Wesley's father. "When he was invited with a friend to visit Cannon, I thought it was a waste of time."
Scott, who played varsity football for two seasons for the Spiders, would have been the third sibling in a family of Concord graduates. His brother Jaime, the all-time leading rusher in the school's history, graduated in 1998 and still holds the Cabarrus County rushing record (5,565 yards). His sister, Tonisha, graduated in 2004.
Their family had established their own Concord tradition, not to mention one in football. Tony Scott, a former Wake Forest standout at linebacker/defensive back, played briefly in the NFL as a free agent for the Kansas City Chiefs in the late 1980s.
Cannon, on the other hand, had a football program just three years in existence, with this season being its first year of varsity football.
"No one in their right mind would choose Cannon because of the football program," said head coach Donnie Hayes, who is in his second round of starting a varsity program from scratch. He knows new programs aren't expected to win.
"You always end up someone's homecoming or senior night game."
That's why Wesley's father was so concerned. Though the senior year is not quite as important as the junior year for football recruits, it still holds some weight in determining what kind of opportunity a player obtains to be suited up on Saturday afternoons.
"I tried to show him every possible scenario," said the elder Scott. "With this being their first year at varsity, he could get lost in the shuffle. It was completely possible that they wouldn't win any games. I didn't want his skills to get diminished, playing with less experienced teammates."
Wesley did not change his mind. He made the decision to further his academic, not athletic, future. Scott is taking six honors-level courses.
"I have more responsibility coming here," he said. "I'll be more prepared for the college experience."
His mother, Jacqueline, said she's proud of her son's decision.
"We just wanted to make sure he would be happy," she said. "He was set up to win, we didn't want him to get here and regret it."
The elder Scott admits his son's decision has worked out much better than he or anybody expected.
"The talent level was much better than I thought it would be," he said of the 5-4 Cougars.
Wesley, one of only two seniors on the team, has been one of the most talented defensive players for the Cougars, leading the team with 68 tackles before Friday's game). In his first home game of the season, he racked up 17 tackles.
"Teams didn't know about him then," said Hayes. "He has great speed for his size and his first step is crushing."
Scott is described as having a constantly running motor on the field, which serves him well in all the players he has to run down now. But it also helps that he loves to tackle.
The smile Scott has walking the halls at Cannon is the same one that flashes in competition, happy about the challenge he's tackling.
"It's great," he said. "All that matters is that I'm happy and I'm good. Still, we'd like to be the first first-year team to make the playoffs."
Always a new challenge.