LUCASVILLE – For Valley senior Tanner Spradlin, playing college football has been a dream of his since he can remember. After his signing with Wilmington College at his signing ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Spradlin’s dream became a reality.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Spradlin Wednesday afternoon. “It’s always something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid, to play college football. I want to thank the coaches and my parents who have helped me and supported me. I really can’t describe this feeling, it’s just a dream come true.”
Spradlin had a fantastic senior season with the Indians, and a big part of that was the talented receiver’s connection with quarterback Andrew Shope. Shope and Spradlin connected during their senior seasons for 27 catches for 423 yards and seven receiving touchdowns, not to mention Spradlin’s 99 yard punt return for a touchdown.
“I’ve known Andrew since we were in preschool,” said Spradlin, “We grew up together, played sports together since the beginning. We really clicked together this season, it was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Since Spradlin initially visited Wilmington College, he had little doubt that that would end up being where he would spend the next four years of his life.
“They have some great coaches, I loved it from the very beginning. It’s not too far, not too close. But their program is on the rise, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Spradlin said that upon enrolling at Wilmington this fall, he plans on majoring in sports management.
Despite receiving advice along the way from family members and coaches, Spradlin said that ultimately, those around him allowed him to decide where he would continue his playing career.
“It was completely up to me, but they told me whatever I wanted to do and wherever I wanted to be, that they would support me from there.”
As he moves on to the next phase of his life following graduation this May upon enrolling in Wilmington this fall, Spradlin noted how much his coaches at Valley have meant to him, and how he wouldn’t be in his position today if it weren’t for their influence and guidance.
“They’ve meant the world to me,” said Spradlin, “I’ve learned from Coach Crabtree that if you do something and if he says nothing at all, something’s wrong. But if he’s ripping into you, it’s a great thing he’s noticing you. That’s all you can ask for: the support, it’s been there all throughout high school. They’ve pushed me to be the better player, and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT