By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A lifetime dream coming true.
That is what it was Thursday afternoon when Princeton High School senior Brett Carroll signed a letter-of-intent to attend and play football at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Before a library packed with family, friends and members of the Tigers’ football team, Carroll made his intentions official to attend the college in Buckhannon.
“I feel good,” Carroll said. “I am just looking forward to becoming a college athlete and my next four years as a Bobcat. It’s a blessing. I thank God every day for everything He has given me and I’m just looking forward to it.”
A running back and linebacker, Carroll gained more than 500 all-purpose yards and scored five touchdowns for the 2012 Tigers. Defensively his playing time at linebacker was limited due to a midseason injury, but he still managed to make more than 20 tackles.
Asked why he selected West Virginia Wesleyan, Carroll said, “Because I felt like they offered me the best services and I love the environment.
“The coaching staff is all young and I could just feel compatible with them and felt like I was at home.”
Ted Spadaro, who retired as PSHS head football coach last spring, coached Carroll his first three seasons of high school.
“He made a good selection,” Spadaro said. “West Virginia Wesleyan is a great institution and Brett’s got good grades and he’s got the football knowledge to play there. He’s got the ability to be a running back, or a linebacker, that’s what he played for me and I think he will enjoy it at Wesleyan.”
Carroll is not the first Tiger to continue his football career for the Bobcats. Both T.J. Benners and Tanner Grose played at Wesleyan and it is not a coincidence that Carroll is going to don the black and orange of the Bobcats.
“I actually got off the phone with T.J. last night,” Carroll said. “He’s my boy and I just wanted to walk in his shoes. We’ve run the same paths from Glenwood, to Princeton, to Wesleyan.”
Carroll’s mother, Angela Carroll-Underwood also noted the friendship between her son and Benners.
“There is an influence there, I think he (Carroll) really looks up to him (Benners),” Carroll-Underwood said.
Spadaro spoke of the “pipeline” between the two schools.
“T.J. Benners and Tanner Grose went there and like I always told these kids when I was coaching, the ones that go to these colleges, they have to stay to set the morals for the school they’re from, so that all the boys that want to go there, they have to be leaders and when these coaches see the Princeton Tigers have good football players and good kids, then they recruit them,” Spadaro said.
“It’s recruiting. They set the mold for all that and it just helps both sides, Princeton High School and the college that they’re going to.”
Carroll said his family has been 100 percent supportive of his football efforts. While his father, Kevin Underwood, was unable to attend due to work commitments, his mother beamed with pride and talked of her son’s opportunity.
“As a mom I am very blessed that he’s getting the opportunity to do that,” Carroll-Underwood said. “He’s played football since third grade and it has always been a dream of his to play college football. I’m glad he’s getting the chance to do that.
“He has grown, as a football player and has played just about every position since third grade. He’s been on every side of the ball, I think.
“He’s been a good football player and I am proud of him.”