Miquel Haywood has ran the steps at historic Trentini Stadium — his home field — for the past four years.
The star running back is coming off his second ACL tear suffered seven games into his senior season. An injury that may have cost his Wake Forest squad a fourth straight state championship.
“I would love to say if we were a healthy team we would have won four but who knows right?” said Haywood.
One thing we do know though before the injury Haywood had more than a dozen college offers. But after being sidelined, nearly every one of those schools was nowhere to be found.
“Every school that offered me and every school I was talking to except the Naval Academy every one of those schools bailed,” said Haywood shaking his head. “They didn’t respond to me they didn’t get back to me after I told them about my knee. “Every school just left except for the Naval Academy.”
It’s amazing Haywood is playing football. Not because of the two ACL injuries, but rather, at first he wanted nothing to do with the game.
Just a few practices after his mom convinced him to give it a try, Haywood beat out the starting running back who didn’t take too kindly to it.
“After practice, he came up behind me and he pushed me down and stomped his cleat on my face and I used to have this big scar right up under my eye,” Haywood explained. “So after that, I was like mom, I’m never touching the field again no I don’t want to play football again. She was like no you’re going to finish out the season and I guarantee you won’t regret it.”
She was right. Haywood went on to become one of the school’s best running back’s, rushing for close to 1,300 yards and 19 touchdowns his junior year in leading the Cougars to their 3rd straight title.
Now it’s off to Navy for Haywood an institution known for discipline. Something he’s used to.
“From the day you walk on this campus as a Wake Forest football player to the day you leave coach Lucas and that coaching staff is going to make sure you have the absolute best work ethic because that’s the only way you’re going to get better,” said Haywood.
“When you come through this school and this football program you’re going to become a better athlete but they also make you a better man.”
And being able to overcome adversity certainly helps as well.
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