Central New York , Community , Feature , Sports , Spring 2017

Football Recruit Found Success Despite Continued Moving Around

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Eric Coley said he wants to work hard in the classroom and get a high GPA to prove to himself that he can do anything he sets his mind to and to be more than just a football player. (c) 2017 Anthony Mazzini

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Family Values In Football Recruit Are Deeply Embedded

Eric Coley is set to be a Division 1 football player at Syracuse, but his family is just as important as the game he plays.

By Anthony Mazzini, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Imagine moving multiple times in a four-year span while trying to compete at a high level on the football field in order to impress college football programs. For some, it would be a challenge, but for one senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, just like his breakaway speed in the open field, he took it in stride.

Eric Coley is committed to play football at Syracuse University this coming season. However, despite playing for a local high school, and soon a local university, Coley is not a local kid.

Coley’s stepfather, Vinson Reynolds, is a coach for the Syracuse University football team. Coley and his family have followed Reynolds to whichever school his coaching career has required them to go. Starting in Oklahoma, Coley moved to Michigan his freshman year of high school and then to New York his junior year.

Coley, however, does not think moving twice in the last four years hindered his performance.

“I feel like at the end of the day, yeah systems are going to change, different coaching styles, but at the end of the day, ball is going to stay ball,” said Coley. “It’s always going to be football. I’m a football player so it’s easy to adjust to anything.”

Coley certainly turned heads when he stepped on the field upon his arrival at F-M. In one game, he rushed for seven touchdowns, proving his point that moving around did not impact his play.

Coley’s high school coach, Paul Muench, agrees.

“[The transition to F-M] was so smooth, especially, you know, our system is very different than other people’s systems,” Muench said. “Obviously you need to learn the language, but football is football, and he’s able to pick that up very quickly.”

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Eric Coley said he and his fellow recruits have already built some bonds from their official visits and said he looks forward to having his teammates as friends for the rest of his life. An official visit is taken by athletes being recruited by the school and its any visit by and athlete and his/her family that is paid for by the school, according to the NCAA website. (c) 2017 Anthony Mazzini

Muench was even more impressed with Coley’s dedication to his senior season at F-M. Coley had offers before playing a game for F-M, according to Muench. However, rather than sit out and possibly struggle on the field while trying to adjust to a new system, Coley wanted to go out and compete.

“He was on board to win at F-M,” Muench said. “He wanted his impact on F-M, and I’ll always be grateful for that. I think his teammates really appreciate that.”

If Coley had stayed in Oklahoma, he would have won three state championships with what would have been his high school team, Coley said. When asked if he thinks he could have received more recruiting attention in Oklahoma, and maybe better offers, from winning those state championships, Coley said he is happy with how things worked out.

“I don’t know what would’ve happened,” Coley said. “Things happen for a reason. I know I wish I could’ve been there, but I mean, who knows? I could’ve been into some bad stuff down there or anything could’ve happened. So I’m glad I’m on the path that I am right now because it’s the right path to be on.”