The Union Recorder

Local Sports

October 11, 2012

Older players bring real-life experiences to ACC

RALEIGH, N.C. — Older players who have taken different routes to college football have become mentors in Atlantic Coast Conference locker rooms that are filled with teenagers who have known only football.

The value of players like Clemson's Daniel Rodriguez or North Carolina's Sylvester Williams is about more than what they do on the field.

They're the kind of players coaches want for their maturity and leadership regardless of whether they start every game or play sparingly.

Rodriguez served in Iraq and Afghanistan before walking on for the Tigers. Williams worked a factory job after graduation before deciding to give college football a try and becoming a starter for the Tar Heels.

"They understand the real-life experiences," North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien said. "Some of these guys right out of high school have no clue about what's out there or what's waiting for them if they don't get their degree or do what they're supposed to do. You have somebody that can say, 'Hey, listen, you don't know how lucky you have it being here.'"

O'Brien has one in reserve defensive end McKay Frandsen, a married 24-year-old who went on a 2-year Mormon mission to Alaska before walking on at BYU then going to junior college to earn his way to N.C. State.

Wake Forest's Alex Kinal, a 22-year-old redshirt freshman, spent three years working a construction job in his native Australia before getting a shot to play for the Demon Deacons. He's now their starting punter.

At Florida State, there's offensive lineman Menelik Watson. The 23-year-old junior graduated from high school in England in 2006, played basketball in Spain and played a year of basketball at Marist. But with his 6-foot-7 frame, he grew interested in football, played at Saddleback College (Calif.) and transferred to be a starting lineman for the Seminoles.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 04-10 GMC Prep Baseball 1.JPG GMC bats stale after break

    Coming off a brief hiatus from live competitions, Georgia Military Prep School baseball blew off some rust in their first game since spring break against First Presbyterian Day School at home Wednesday night.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lady Dogs notch two conference wins

    Winning seven of their last eight games, the Georgia Military College Lady Dogs softball team appears to be on a roll as they reach the final stretch of their regular season.

    April 4, 2014

  • 04-02 JMA Baseball 1.JPG JMA baseball still hot

    The John Milledge Academy baseball team earned its fifth consecutive victory Tuesday afternoon with a 6-0 home shutout of Augusta Prep.

    April 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • JMA logo NEW 2011.jpg JMA baseball heating up

    Westminster didn't put up much of a fight on Tuesday, as the John Milledge Academy varsity baseball team cruised to a 12-5 blowout win in Augusta.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 03-28 AOW_James Bell.jpg UR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Senior carries Braves offense

    In a sport known for its low scoring games, it is unusual for a soccer player to earn more than one goal in a single contest.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lee Hannah.JPG Hannah brings ‘Be Great’ attitude to BHS

    What will you do to be great?
    What legacy will you leave?

    March 26, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 03-26 JMA baseball_Zach Meeks.jpg JMA baseball team solid over Trinity Christian

    The John Milledge Academy baseball team returned from its school spring break looking impressive in a 7-1 win over visiting Trinity Christian School Monday afternoon in a non-region contest at Trojan Field.

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baldwin takes two against Greene Co.

    Strong performances were had by both the girls' and boys' soccer teams at Baldwin High Friday night as each earned a win over Greene County at home.

    March 25, 2014

  • 03-22 Tykeasia Williams 1.jpg All-County Basketball: Girls

    Missing the state playoffs this year due to a loss in the region tournament, Baldwin High girls’ basketball finished 11-14 on the 2013-14 season.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 03-20 GMC Prep Soccer 2.JPG Bulldogs soccer fall to FPD

    Taking the field against quality teams, Georgia Military Prep School boys’ and girls’ soccer dropped home matches to First Presbyterian Day School on Tuesday at the Baldwin County Recreation Department soccer complex.

    March 20, 2014 1 Photo