Rudiger Yearick was a fourth-grader when started working with then Blue Ridge High assistant coach, Thomas Langley, and his high school quarterbacks two to three days a week after school.
Langley said he could tell Yearick (nicknamed “Rud”) had an attention to detail well beyond his years.
Yearick benefited from Langley’s tutelage and found inspiration as he worked alongside former Blue Ridge quarterback Caleb Rowe, who is now the starting quarterback at the University of Maryland.
“Getting to work with Coach Langley and Caleb Rowe when I was just 9 years old was a big deal for me, and it helped me develop a lot as a quarterback early on,” Yearick said. “I looked at the success they had, and it motivated me.”
After playing his freshman year at Blue Ridge, Yearick and his father, David, reunited with Langley at Metrolina Christian Academy in Union County.
While it was tough at times to leave his hometown, Greenville, S.C., Yearick said he was excited about his new opportunity.
“I remember when his dad called me and said ‘Do you need a quarterback?’ ” Langley said. “I immediately said ‘Bring it.’ I felt like Rud had the potential to be a great player for us.”
Yearick has passed for more than 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns, and rushed 600 yards and nine more scores. He has earned NCISAA Division III, all-state honors, led the Warriors to a 6-5 record and a state semifinal berth where they lost 54-0 to Victory Christian.
That was his sophomore season.
Yearick had a breakout junior season. He threw for 2,950 yards and 41 touchdowns, while running for another 480 yards and six scores. The Warriors set a school record with eight wins and again made it to the NCISAA Division III state semifinals. This time they lost a 28-24 heartbreaker to Rabun Gap-Nacoochee from Georgia.
“I expected Rud to have a good junior year, but honestly I didn’t see 46 touchdowns coming,” said Langley, who has been the only Metrolina Christian football head coach in the six-year history of the program.
It’s no surprise that Yearick has been at his best in his senior year. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior has passed for 1,051 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also has run for another 726 yards and 11 scores in the first six games.
Yearick has passed for 200-plus yards in two games and run for 100-plus yards and at least three scores in four contests.
“Any time we need a big play this season, Rud has made it,” Langley said. “Whether it’s a play we call or a play he makes after it breaks down, you know he’s going to make something happen.”
Yearick is the clear leader of an offense that is averaging 48 points per game, while the Warriors defense is yielding less than eight points. That combination has resulted in a 6-0 record, the best start in school history.
“It feels great to be undefeated at this point in the season,” Yearick said. “But we want to get to the state championship game more than anything.”
The Warriors’ offense has a chance to become even more potent as players like senior running back, Christian Yarborough and Jacob Titherington recover from injuries. They will join Andy Austin (27 catches for 395 yards and six touchdowns) and Braxton McClendon (15 catches for 251 yards and four scores).
Yearick committed to Liberty University and Coach Turner Gill in July, becoming the first Metrolina Christian football player to receive a Division I scholarship.
“It’s a big accomplishment for Rud and for our entire football program,” Langley said. “It shows all of the younger guys, that if you work hard, you can get a chance to play college football and get a free education.
“Rud is definitely very special to me, because he’s worked with me since he was 9 years old and I’ve seen all the work he’s put into it. I’ve never had a player more deserving.”
Yearick said “It’s awesome to be the first Division I football player at Metrolina, because I know this is about much more than just me. Coach Langley and Caleb Rowe made me feel like this was possible. To think that I could be doing the same thing for my teammates and the younger kids at Metrolina is a great feeling.”
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.