Next Level: Former Patriots Playing on Saturdays
When 170-pound Spencer Bishop was converted by first-year Pinecrest football coach Chris Metzger from a quarterback into a tight end in 2007, he couldn’t have foreseen what was ahead for him.
Look for No. 89 at tight end when the Wake Forest offense takes the field for the first time in Saturday’s season opener against Liberty (6:30 p.m., ESPN 3). That’s the now 6-foot-2, 240-pound Bishop who earned the starting job at the position, and a scholarship, after beginning his college career as a walk-on.
Mostly a special team player his first two years as a Demon Deacon, Bishop will be looking for quarterback Tanner Price to provide him with his first catch as a collegian.
“I put in the time and effort,” the redshirt junior said by phone from the college on Wednesday. “I think it’s my time and I’m ready. We’re really confident at the skilled positions, and the offensive line has come a long way.”
Bishop attributes the time he spent in the weight room at Pinecrest and Wake Forest as a big factor in earning this opportunity. He thinks he’ll be able to shake off any pre-game jitters once the first offensive series gets under way.
“He was a workaholic,” Metzger says of Bishop’s weight room regimen. “He’s got two years left and you never know about him because of the skills he’s got in blocking, catching and running.”
An interesting schedule includes a key second week game at home against UNC. Road games include a November date at Notre Dame.
Two of the current Pinecrest assistant coaches will have more than a passing interest in the outcome of Saturday’s game at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem. David Sundheim played football at Liberty, and his father, Pete Sundheim, was an assistant coach at Liberty for 23 years before joining the Patriot staff this year.
Former Patriots will also be making their 2012 debuts in Greenville and Durham on Saturday.
Sophomore Brett Heimrich began specializing as a long snapper way back in middle school. He will fulfill that role for Appalachian State when it meets East Carolina for the 30th time in Greenville. His brother, Danny, who finished his college football career as a punter and place kicker at Elizabeth City State two years ago, is also at App State, completing studies for his college degree.
Another Mountaineer sophomore, Tucker Lee, will be in the offensive line mix when he recovers from a hand injury. Darian Harris, a tight end at Pinecrest, is a sophomore outside linebacker for East Carolina.
Former Patriot Josh Scales will be one of the defensive leaders for Fayetteville State when the Broncos travel to Durham to meet North Carolina Central. The junior cornerback is an All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association preseason selection.
He earned CIAA honors a year ago when he led all NCAA Division II players in interceptions per game.
The Bronco roster includes four other former Patriots. Junior Blade Shoop is a returning starter on a veteran offensive line that should be one of the team’s strengths. Newcomers are 2012 Pinecrest graduates in defensive backs D.J. Simpson and Travis Scales, the brother of Josh, and wide receiver Traivon Williams.
A first semester graduate at Pinecrest, Travis Scales took classes at Lenoir-Rhyne and attended spring football practice before deciding to join his brother at FSU.
Steven Pollard, another member of the 2011 Pinecrest team, and an early graduate, attended spring classes at FSU on a football scholarship. The three-year Patriot center has opted to join the U.S. Army.
Metzger has received good reports from N.C. State about freshman offensive lineman Bryce Kennedy, who will be redshirted by the Wolfpack. A Shrine Bowl selection, he is another of the early graduates that began his college classroom career in January.
Among the other Patriots on college football rosters is senior running back Derek Wike (Greensboro College). Freshmen include tight end Jerod McKenzie (St. Augustine’s), linebacker Julius Steele (Rochester, Community and Technical College, Minn.), wide receiver David Alston and offensive lineman Octavious Rouse (Louisburg College).
Contact Charlie Bergmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story