Qwenton Spellman signs to Gardner-Webb


Courtesy of Gardner-Webb Photographer

Qwenton Spellman poses for a media day with Gardner Webb’s East vs West Barbecue Bowl trophy.

Arianna Taylor, Editor-in-Chief

Senior Qwenton Spellman, has signed to play Division 1 football at Gardner-Webb University, NC, where he received a full scholarship. Spellman decommitted from Towson Jan. 30 and signed with Gardner-Webb Feb. 1. 

Richmond University, Norfolk State University, Saint Francis University, Towson University and Old Dominion University offered Spellman scholarships, but Spellman felt the Bulldogs were the best program for him to excel.

“Gardner-Webb won their Conference championship last year which is the Big South,” Spellman said. “They are losing two senior defensive linemen, so I have a chance to start as a freshman.”

Finding a mentor through a coach is a vital part of feeling supported as an athlete. Spellman feels the coaches are a better fit for him than other university’s coaching staffs. 

“The coaching staff is younger, so I feel that I have a better connection with them,” Spellman said. 

Gardner-Webb is in a rural area, with a twenty-minute drive to Charlotte, NC. The location is similar to Louisa, making Spellman feel comfortable moving six hours away. 

“Between living in Fluvanna and Louisa I’ve always lived in the country, this is what I’m used to,” Spellman said. “It’s not far from the city of Charlotte, but it isn’t in a big city, so I feel i’m getting the best of both worlds”

Playing at the collegiate level is the goal for most high school athletes, but not everyone makes it that far. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) posted statistics from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) “about 2 percent of high school athletes are awarded some form of athletics scholarship to compete in college”

“I’m just grateful I have the opportunity to play,” Spellman said. 

Spellman’s attitude toward the game allows him to stand as a role model for younger athletes, they can learn what it takes to play after high school. 

“Younger athletes can look up to Qwenton because he has a great work ethic; he takes football seriously and he pays attention to the little details,” quarterback Landon Wilson said. “These qualities are how he is making it to the next level.”

Spellman also has the physical characteristics that make him a desirable prospect for the team. At 295 pounds and 6-foot-3, Spellman plays defensive end, defensive tackle, and nose guard.

“Not many 300lbs kids are as fast and athletic as Qwenton,” Head Football Coach, Will Patrick said. “He is a very strong young man” 

College athletics are more intense and the stakes are higher than in high school. “College football is different, it’s a business, it’s still pretty pure in high school, you’re playing with the people you grew up with, you’re playing with your best friends,” Patrick said. 

One of the biggest challenges for student-athletes is splitting attention between both academics and sports. Finding a school that assists with academics can be hard, but Spellman feels he found that at Gardner-Webb. 

“Despite being Division 1, Gardner-Webb is still a smaller university with a class size between 20-30,” Spellman said. “This will create a better connection between my professors and I”

Spellman will major in sports medicine to become an athletic trainer if he can no longer play football. As an athletic trainer, Spellman will repay football for the opportunities it has given him.

“If football doesn’t work out, I would like to be an athletic trainer so I could stay around the game of football,” Spellman said. “I want to help athletes keep their body healthy, like my athletic trainers have done for me”

The pressure of planning his future has gone away because of the signing. Now he can make the most out of his senior year and the time he has left in Louisa.

“It takes a weight off my shoulders, I know I will be home at Gardner-Webb,” Spellman said.