Blockmon shares celebration as he signs with Campbell

Feb. 23, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

Southern Lee senior wide receiver Aaron Blockmon committed to attend and play football at Campbell University earlier this month on National Signing Day.

He waited until Friday for a signing ceremony in the high school’s library and it was well worth the wait as a big gathering of family, teammates, coaches and friends joined Blockmon for the occasion.

Of course some of the Cavalier football coaches spoke, congratulating their all-state receiver as he is taking the step to the college level.

Head coach Don Simon praised Blockmon. “When you get to see a kid taking the next step in his playing career, it’s always a great day, but it’s an especially great day when it’s for a kid like Aaron,” he said.

“Aaron’s a very deserving young man,” said Simon.

“Obviously Aaron’s an incredibly gifted, talented player,” said Nate Woodruff, the Cavalier receivers’ coach, “but more than that, Aaron’s a great kid who, any time you see him, he’s happy, joking, smiling.”

Coach Simon still had a little advice as a coach, even as he’s turning a standout player over to the Fighting Camels. The signing ceremony signals a beginning, and a lot more

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hard work to come, more than it does the end of a process for Blockmon and any other high school student-athlete with a collegiate goal in mind.

“Now Aaron goes from a big guy here for our program to a little fish again,” Simon said.

Following injuries to other Cavs early in the 2012 season, Blockmon moved from receiver to quarterback and led the Cavalier offense, largely with his speed carrying the ball, through the last nine games as a junior.

This season, back at his primary position, Blockmon was one of the most prolific receivers in the state. He totaled 71 catches for 1,700 yards and 23 receiving touchdowns with many big-gain catches and runs which put the Cavs on the board from practically out of nowhere.

“I feel (Campbell) is the right fit because it’s close to home and I think I’ll have the opportunity to play right away,” Blockmon said. “I wanted to go somewhere where I can make a difference.”

More important than being a playmaker for the Cavalier offense, and hopefully for the Camel offense over the next four years, another guest spoke about the difference Blockmon’s made within an organization which changes kids’ lives.

Bo Hedrick, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sanford/Lee County, said knowing Blockmon makes all of the club’s work more valuable.

Blockmon’s been in the Boys and Girls Club since he was 6. He earned the chance to take part in a public speaking contest in Baltimore, through Cal Ripken Baseball, and counts it as a great experience.

“Public speaking is a breeze,” he said. And about Hedrick and other Club mentors being on hand Friday, “it shows how much they have supported me all through the years,” he said.

“Thank you,” Hedrick said. “As someone who works with a lot of folks who put their heart and soul into their jobs and helping kids, it really makes our jobs worth it and keeps us going when we see a kid like Aaron succeed.”

Blockmon is part of a 19-player recruiting class by head coach Mike Minter as he’s entering his second season leading the Camels. Campbell went 3-9 overall last season.

Earlier in February, two Lee County seniors, defensive end Thomas Ferguson and defensive back Pressley Hales, signed with the Fighting Camels.

“Our coaches did another great job of recruiting with this class,” said Minter in a release on Feb. 5, which was National Signing Day.

“We touched nearly every state in the southeast with this group to find the best group possible. Our coaches did a great job filling the needs of this football team with dynamic offensive playmakers, as well as good defensive linemen. We also added depth to the offensive line,” Minter said.

Campbell opens its 2014 season hosting Charlotte on Thursday, Aug. 28.