Lake Norman & Mooresville

Track star makes a name on football field

Anthony Bynum is fast.

Whether the Hopewell senior is playing football or running track, he always gets to where he wants to go in an instant.

Bynum, who can run a 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds, was a high school All-American in track after running his way into both the Hopewell and state record books this past season.

The defensive back, an all I-Meck and All-Observer selection on the track, won 100- and 200-meter dashes at the 4A Midwest Regional and finished fourth and second, respectively, at states.

But Bynum is also making a name for himself on the football field.

"Speed is something you can't teach," said Hopewell football coach Chris Rust. "Bynum is one of the fastest players we've ever had. You have to take advantage of players who have that kind of ability."

Rust and Bynum hope that they can take full advantage of that speed, as the senior starts at both cornerback and kick returner, and should see time in most games at wide receiver.

Bynum relishes the chance to have an effect on all three phases of the Titan team - offense, defense and special teams.

"Every time I touch the ball, I'm thinking touchdown," said Bynum.

"I look for the open space and I want to take it to the house as fast as I can."

Playing football wasn't always so easy for Bynum. As a freshman, he was cut from the team, more because of his size than his ability.

"I think he came to us as a freshman about 90 pounds, dripping wet," said Rust, who noted 40 players were trying out for defensive back positions that year.

"He was so small that we didn't think he could play football at this level at the time."

But Rust and company quickly noticed Bynum's ability and work ethic on the track and knew they had to give him a second chance. Bynum, who is now 5-foot-6, 140 pounds, worked tirelessly in the weight room to get bigger and stronger.

"His work ethic is really second to none," said Hopewell track coach Michelle LaPointe this summer.

"He has really made himself into a better athlete and sprinter."

Bynum has done the same on the football field, working to become one of the senior leaders on a Hopewell squad that expects to challenge Mallard Creek and West Charlotte for the I-Meck title.

While Bynum is focused on his future track career at Hopewell and in college, he hopes to go out in style on the football field as well.

"I just want to keep getting better and keep helping my football team win," he said.

"We want to win conference, and go as far as we can in the playoffs."

Bynum has even more lofty goals on the track this season, as he hopes to repeat last season's conference and regional marks while winning a state championship in the 100- and 200-meter races.

The Hopewell senior, who is being recruited for track by the University of North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, LSU, Notre Dame, Auburn and Texas A&M, among others, hopes that one day he can take his running career to the highest level.

"I hope to be in the Olympics," said Bynum, naming Texas A&M as his favorite school right now.

"That is my ultimate goal and something that I have always dreamed about."