Last week Clarksburg High School held a collegiate signing ceremony for five members of the football team who will be playing at the next level.
The players, seniors Bryant Evans, Tim Lehr, Elijah Maith, Tyler Wilder, and Justice Williams will all play in college, but Coyote’s Head Coach Bob Plante said each earned the right to play based on their grades rather than football ability.
“They are all great students, and they are all great character kids,” said Plante, who finished his first season as head coach at Clarksburg. “That is why they are going to the next level; they are good people who play football. Each one of these kids has a great story. They are all good people. I can’t emphasize enough they are all just great students. If you are a decent coach, and you have a great student that plays ball, you can probably get him places. My job was easy.”
Plante said that tackle and defensive end Bryant Evans will be attending Frostburg State University in Frostburg, MD next year. “I refer to Bryant as Captain,” said Plante. “He was a real leader on our football team. Just a tremendous person, great character and great football player and student. I know Coach Fitzgerald is excited to have him. We are excited to see what he’s going to do at the next level.”
Clarksburg’s senior center, Tim Lehr, will attend and play football at Salisbury State University on the Eastern Shore. “Tim has some crazy 4.9 GPA,” joked Plante. “I didn’t know you could get higher than a 4. He is a tremendous student. He was our quarterback at center. I call him a quarterback because he called the fronts and blocking schemes for the offensive line. Extremely intelligent kid and joy to have around. He is a quality person and tremendous student.”
Elijah Maith, the Coyote’s main running back last season will be attending and play football at Stevenson University in Owings Mills. “I always get a little choked up about this guy,” Plante told the crowd gathered in the Coyote’s gymnasium for the event. “Had we had a little more time to work together it could have been amazing. He is a hard-working kid. He is a guy that shows up every day and is selfless. He would do anything for anybody. He brought the juice the practice every day. He is off to Stevenson University, and they stole him. This guy will play harder for his teammates than he will for himself, and when you have people like that in your program you are bound to be successful,” said Plante.
Plante said senior linebacker and fullback Tyler Wilder grew into one of the most important leaders on the team after a run-in with his new coach early in the season. Wilder will be playing for North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, NC next season.
“Young men make mistakes, and it is our job as educators, parents, and adults to get them on the right path. With Tyler, you talk about turning things around 180 degrees — he became a real leader on our football team. He is a mentor to our younger athletes. He is a leader in the community helping people and kids in the school. As a football coach, we want good players but, we really want our players to men. To be selfless, caring people. Tyler is a tremendous student. He is going to a great school.”
Senior cornerback and receiver Justice Williams will be playing at Fairmount State University in Fairmont, West Virginia next season. “Justice, unfortunately, had some injuries this year,” said Plante. “He was only able to compete in about four games for us. He is a tremendous athlete and a great student. He was one of the fastest — if not the fastest guy on the team. He earned himself a spot on at Fairmont State University by showing up and working out for them. He earned an opportunity to compete for them on a scholarship.”
All five students signed their letters of intent surrounded by their families.
Plante said that there could have one of two other students joining these five in continuing their football careers in college. He mentioned Cory Flemming was offered a scholarship to play, but, “what is really admirable about Cory is that he wants to be a doctor, so I don’t think he’s going to play football because he has, in my opinion, a loftier goal,” said Plante. “He is a kid that could be up here with us signing, but he’s got other plans besides football. He is a great student, great football player, and great leader.”
“It meant a lot to our program to have this be the first crew of guys to move on under my coaching,” said Plante. “They exemplify what we want in a Coyote Football Player. Hard working. Good character. Good grades.”
Top: Coyote seniors Bryant Evans will attend Frostburg State University, Tim Lehr will attend Salisbury State University, Justice Williams will attend Fairmont State University, Coach Plante, Elijah Maith will be attending Stevenson University, and Tyler Wilder who will play for North Carolina Wesleyan College next year.
Next: The five Clarksburg High School seniors and their families as they sign the letters of intent to play football in college.
Next: Bryant Evans (53) will attend Frostburg State University next year.
Next: Tim Lehr at center for Clarksburg. He will play at Salisbury State next year.
Next: Elijah Maith (2) will be attending Stevenson University.
Next: Tyler Wilder (41) will play for North Carolina Wesleyan College
Next: Justice Williams is “110% committed” to Fairmount State University, according to his Twitter account.
Next: Coach Bob Plante.
Photos by Germantown Pulse and Kim Grimes.