College signing: Fox to Wingate
By Ronnie Gallagher
It was back in middle school. David Fox didn’t realize it at the time, but his college career began before he ever hit the campus at East Rowan.
Mustang coach Brian Hinson can take it from here:
“His grandfather said, ‘You’ve got to have a skill. A lot of kids are looking to go to college, and some might be better than you. But if you have a skill, that will set you apart.’ ”
Fox found that skill, and if it continues to improve, college football should be a snap.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is headed to Wingate as a long snapper.
“I think they got a real good one,” Hinson said. “They like him a lot. And he’s going to do a very good job.”
With former Catawba players Hinson and Gary Bass on the East staff, Fox has received some basic training (Bass was a long snapper) and some inspiring stories about a former Catawba long snapper named Donnie Vernon, who has since passed away.
“I played with Donnie,” said Hinson, a former Catawba All-American offensive lineman. “He got looked at by the NFL. Coach Bass got looked at by some NFL teams.”
That’s because Vernon and Bass had a special skill, just like Fox.
“In middle school, they needed a long snapper and I gave it a shot,” Fox said. “I was pretty good at it.”
Fox said by his sophomore season at East, a college scholarship was on his mind. Wingate came through.
When East converted field goals, Fox was the least noticed as Kenny Barnes’ kicks sailed through the uprights. And that was OK with him.
“Pressure depends on the game,” he said. “With (Barnes), it made things a lot easier.”
Livingstone offered Fox a full ride, and Catawba showed some early interest before backing off. He heard of a Wingate tryout and attended.
“I guess they liked what they saw,” Fox said.
Hinson refused to take much credit for Fox’s emergence as a college recruit.
“Fox didn’t need much help,” Hinson chuckled. “We just said, ‘Get the ball back there.’ Bass coached him up a little, but we didn’t want to mess him up any.”
Fox attended the spring game on Saturday and got a feel for the Bulldog family. He was asked how it felt knowing his career was prolonged.
“By the time I get there it will set in,” Fox said.
Until then, East’s long snapper should keep doing two things.
Work hard ó and listen to Grandpa.
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.