Next Level Talent

Wiley Signs with Lamar

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – He’s not just some kid who has great athletic talent. Oh, he’s got that by the bushel. He made All-State in Football and Basketball. He qualified for the Regional Track and Field Meet in the 100m dash. The awards he has won in the athletic arena could fill a room.

More importantly, however, he is a young man of high character.

On Friday afternoon, May 6 when Cadarian Wiley signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for the Lamar University Cardinals, coaches and faculty members at Grapeland High School spoke not about his prowess on the gridiron or hardwood but rather they talked about what a quality young man Lamar had recruited.

GHS Athletic Director Jordan Wood said, “We took him to Lamar and Lamar had a whole lot of great things to say about him. They had a uniform laid out for him. He picked it up and laid it back down the exact same way. They said we have never had someone like that who takes care of business.”

GHS Offensive Coordinator and Head Track Coach Dederick Dixon added, “To say it was an honor and a privilege to coach Cadarian would be an understatement. From the moment I walked through the door, he is one of the first people I met who stood out. Not just in the terms of athletic ability, but in the kind of man he is and the kind of man he is growing to be. That is the thing I was most impressed with when I got here. Cadarian is going to be one of the first ones in and one of the last ones out. He is living proof that you don’t have to be the fastest, you don’t have to be the strongest and you don’t have to be the toughest but at the end of the day, if you have the hear t for what you’re doing and put in the work, good things come to you.”

GISD Superintendent Don Jackson also spoke about Cadarian.

“I look up to Cadarian. I really do. I know I’m old and he’s young, but he tries to do things the right way. When I think about Cadarian, I think about how respectful he is. He is going to reach out and fist-bump you, shake your hand or speak to you. Those type of things take you a long way. He will say thank you. He might have 300 yards, but he stays humble. He may have 25 points in basketball but he stays humble. He has been a good example for Grapeland High School. I am excited for him and this next stage in his career. A couple of things he leaves with us are how respectful he is and his intensity. The kid tries hard and he gives you everything he’s got. Also, his integrity. Just being a good person. Is he perfect? No. I’m sure some of his friends know some stuff he’s done wrong, but guess what? That intensity and integrity always returns. It doesn’t go downhill and stay downhill,” the superintendent said.

After several more coaches and faculty members extolled his virtues and after all the photos had been taken. Cadarian sat down with The Messenger to discuss what this day meant.

“It means a lot. This whole process has been quite challenging, (signing) late in the recruiting process. To finally find a home, a place where I really like, it’s a great feeling,” he said.

Cadarian was also asked about what the coaches and faculty had to say about him, prior to inking his name to the Letter of Intent.

“To me, I’m the type of guy who always wants to be different. I want to make a difference not just to my teammates but to other students, as well,” he said.

The soon-to-be Cardinal went on to say he often spoke with his older brother Tyrin, who is a student at SFA, about what to expect in college.

“He told me at times you will face adversity but I feel like I have the heart, I have the pride and I have the passion to be successful. I know I will face adversity, but knowing the type person I am, I’m going to be alright,” Cadarian said. 

Among the schools he was recruited by, Cadarian said he spoke with the University of Oklahoma, Rice, Kansas State and SFA to name just a few.

“I spoke with the bigger D-I schools early in the Fall, but later in the season, I lost contact with them. I only had D-III schools calling like Southwestern and ETBU. Lamar came late in the process. They were a D-I school that gave me an opportunity. I think that why I’m sold on Lamar. It was hard at the time and Lamar reached out. They welcomed me and gave me the opportunity,” he said.  

As to what this says to his teammates, Cadarian said it was like what Coach Dixon said.   

“You don’t have to be the fastest, you don’t have to be the strongest and you don’t have to be the toughest to be successful. It’s not about that. It’s doing what you love and having the passion to be successful,” he said.

From all of us at The Messenger, congratulations on becoming a Lamar Cardinal and best of luck in your future endeavors.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].  

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