By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Chad Wyrick managed to play just three games last season for the Princeton football team.
He made quite an impression in a short time.
“His senior year he was plagued with injuries and he had good numbers in the three games he played,” Princeton head coach Randy Peek said. “He had a highlight film just in three games so he came along.
“We would probably have been more successful if he would have been out there on the field.”
Concord must feel the same way.
Wyrick signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to continue his education and football career for the Mountain Lions.
“I have been there (to see games) a few times,” Wyrick said. “You are always look for something bigger, everybody always does, but I got hurt and I am lucky to have this opportunity.”
It was a decision Wyrick finally made late on Tuesday night, just a few hours before National Signing Day was held across the country.
“It was a long process and I am just glad it is finally over,” said Wyrick, who chose Concord over the University of Charleston. “It is a good school, a good football program and I am glad I am going to be able to be part of it.”
A wide receiver and defensive back for Princeton, Wyrick knows must happen now to get on the field at Concord in the fall.
“Insane work ethic,” Wyrick said. “I have just got to work hard and hope for the best. This has been my dream so now I have to make it happen.”
His dream nearly got sidetracked by minor knee surgery that limited the 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior to just three games for the Tigers. Yet, Peek estimates that Wyrick had between 15 and 20 catches for 200 yards, and also played big on the other side of the ball.
“He had a big catch against Oak Hill, he went over top of a receiver and caught it on his back,” Peek said. “That was a highlight, and he played corner for us also and came up and made some big stops for us.”
College football has always been a dream for Wyrick, who attended an all-American football camp after last season came to an end for the Tigers.
“That was OK,” Wyrick said. “There was a lot of talented guys there so playing time was limited, but it was a very good experience and I had a great time.”
The same can be said for his four seasons at Princeton, three playing for head coach Ted Spadaro, followed in 2012 with Peek. Both helped to mold Wyrick’s dream of playing at the next level.
“I have had two great coaches with Coach Spadaro and Coach Peek and great position coaches,” Wyrick said. “I have just learned to work hard and just chase your dreams and you can achieve anything really.”
While other schools were involved in the recruiting efforts, Wyrick just felt a pull toward Concord, which has won 28 games, including a West Virginia Conference championship over the last four years, not bad for a program that won a total of 26 games in the previous 10 seasons.
“I was just really fit in with the coaches that are there, I just feel like I can come in and make an impact my freshman year and maybe even something bigger later on,” Wyrick said.
“Peek added, “Even if it is on special teams, until he gets more size on him and a little more speed, I am sure they will put him through it.”
While Wyrick can play on both sides of the ball, he expects to play on offense for the Mountain Lions.
“They are looking at me as a wide receiver, I was recruited as an athlete, which I can play both sides of the ball, but I will be playing receiver,” Wyrick said. “They are going to send a workout and I am just going to start working on it and try to make myself ready for the next level.”
Princeton has been churning out college-level players for several years, and Peek is glad to see that trend continue.
“I see a lot of younger players here and it is motivation for those guys and it is good to see them come out and support him,” Peek said. “For him to go to Concord, that is where I played, it is a local school, coach (Garin) Justice does a great job over there, we are proud of him.”
Football has always been a passion for Wyrick, and he’s excited to get the chance to continue playing for the Mountain Lions.
“Absolutely, ever since I was a little kid,” said Wyrick, who plans to major in Criminal Justice, and possibly Sports Marketing, if offered by the school. “The excitement around it, the atmosphere, everybody is always there screaming, it is just a great atmosphere and something I have always wanted to do.”
He was surrounded by family and friends during the ceremony in the school library, many of whom are also football players, some with the same dreams.
“I think the kids that are in here, it is motivation for them, and to play at the next level and get a free education, that means a lot to the parents too,” Peek said. “If football can get them a free education, then I am all for it.”
While Wyrick is excited about playing for Concord, he is also holding out hope that another opportunity might arise in the future, possibly at the Division I level.
“I am not certain if I am going to be there all four years or not, but if something bigger opens up I will definitely be apt to take it,” Wyrick said. “It is my dream to be a college football all-American or something like that, all conference at least.”
Peek can see it happening.
“He has got good speed and good size and if he works hard I am sure he will step in there in a couple of years,” Peek said. “I think he will play right off.”
—Contact Brian Woodson