College signing: So to Wingate
By Ronnie Gallagher
Joe So walked into Salisbury High School as a ninth-grader having never played football.
That would soon change.
“I came to freshman orientation and saw Coach Pinyan,” So recalled. “I was like, ‘Football coach.’ ”
Pinyan saw So and thought, “Football player.”
Pinyan laughs about the first impressions.
“He was one of the biggest kids on campus,” he said. “We begged and pleaded. Begged and pleaded.”
So decided to play. After all of Pinyan’s begging, it was the least he could do.
The decision paid off as Pinyan nurtured him into a college prospect. The 6-foot-1, 260-pound offensive lineman signed with Wingate recently.
Wingate put So through some drills on a visit, and Bulldog coaches obviously liked what they saw.
“Coach (Joe) Reich is a real nice guy,” So said. “I like how everything’s set up. I like the system.”
With a grin, he added, “I’ll have to do more pass blocking since all we did here was run.”
Not that So is complaining about the running game. It helped him be a part of four straight CCC titles.
“With our running backs, speed gets them a lot of yardage,” Pinyan explained, “but if it weren’t for those big guys knocking a hole here or there, it would be kinda tough for them. Joe was a big part of that. He did a good job for us.”
So hopes to take that winning mentality with him to Wingate.
“It makes you confident when you go to college,” he said. “But you’re going up against people a lot bigger. It’s going to be like starting over.”
He hopes to match his success at Salisbury.
“I think I can handle it after what we’ve been through here,” So said. “I’m going to be all about winning since we’ve always won. When they throw me in there, I’m going to work my hardest.”
Pinyan has no doubt about that.
“Not only is he an athletic, big kid, he’s a good kid,” he said. “He’s going to make good grades. He’s going to say, ‘Yes sir, no sir,’ and he’s going to give all he’s got. A lot of linemen who are not quite 6-3, 6-4 and are undersized get overlooked. Joe’s probably going to be a late bloomer.”
So is already looking forward to playing SAC neighbor Catawba in Salisbury.
“It’s going to be fun coming home,” So said. “I’ll send Coach Pinyan a ticket.”
It’s the least he could do.
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.