Prep Football: East Rowan's LeRoy to Methodist
By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan assistant principal Rick Vanhoy tells students his own story of growing up with the dream of playing hoops for Dean Smith at UNC.
Vanhoy scored a school-record 42 for East one night, but Smith was a bit more excited about Mike O’Koren and the three 6-foot-10 guys he signed in the spring of 1976.
Vanhoy became a tight end for the Tar Heels’ football team instead, and that led to a notable career in teaching, coaching and administration.
The moral of the tale is when a door closes, another opportunity arises, and the latest example is East senior DB Wesley LeRoy.
LeRoy, you may recall, was the young right fielder who caught the flyball for the final out in East’s baseball state championship run in the spring of 2010. The diamond appeared to be his future then, but he’s now football fulltime and has signed with Division III Methodist.
LeRoy didn’t play baseball as a senior, but that may fall into the blessing-in-disguise category.
“It’s allowed me to really hit the weights, and I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been,” said LeRoy, a sturdy, 6-foot, 180-pounder. “If someone threw a fastball at me right now, I’d catch it barehanded and throw it back.”
LeRoy was a three-year fixture for the Mustangs in the secondary and on special teams, and it was no secret among coaches that he was one of East’s best.
East always matched him up, one-on-one, with the opposing team’s top receiver, which meant he had to defend Concord’s 240-pound tight end Terrance Knox, West Rowan jumping jack Jarvis Morgan and Carson strider K.J. Pressley.
LeRoy had varying degrees of success.
“When I was younger, I’d beat myself up if I had a bad play, but as I got more experienced, I realized I had to keep a good head on my shoulders and keep going my hardest,” LeRoy said.
In the Concord game, LeRoy suffered heat exhaustion. It says something about his intensity that he got after it that hard in a game East lost 58-0.
“He’s one of the hardest-playing kids I’ve ever seen,” said new East head coach Danny Misenheimer, who worked with LeRoy when he was defensive coordinator. “We asked a lot of Wesley because he can run with anybody and he’s always aggressive. Even when his man caught a pass, Wesley was going to try to separate him from the ball on the tackle.”
LeRoy played on a surprising 9-4 team as a sophomore, but East was 2-9 and 1-9 the last two years under coach Chad Tedder.
“Coach Tedder set up visits and sent out film for us, but you don’t get looked at by a lot of schools when you’re 1-9,” LeRoy said.
Methodist did look — and liked what it saw.
LeRoy will major in criminal justice because he “likes to argue,” and he could be a force in D-III.
“I want to be on that field my first college game,” he said. “I’m not accepting anything less.”