Wilmington teenager focused on football future

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 9:42 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Josiah Heyer stands out among his eighth grade football teammates. He stands 6′4″, weighs about 285 pounds, and has a 77 inch wingspan.

Any passerby may assume Josiah has been playing football since he was in diapers based on his skills alone, but he’s still pretty new to the game, having started play in the fall of 2020. His father, Perry, says Josiah has come a long way.

“Just in his life, on and off the field, he’s a great kid,” Perry said. “He’s had to overcome a lot from seizures to a lack of self-confidence. For him to find something that allows him to flourish and grow, it means a lot to me.”

Josiah has certainly flourished for someone of his size who started playing just over a year ago. Next week, he will head to Texas for the Bret Cooper Junior Academic All-American Bowl, a chance to play with some of the best players in his age group and attend a college football playoff football game.

“I think it’s unbelievable because Wilmington’s got a lot of talent,” said Josiah. “There’s a lot of people in Wilmington who play football and out of all those other people I got picked.”

While it took awhile to get his son to put on the pads, Perry is proud of Josiah’s success and hopes his son will learn more from the sport than just running routes or making tackles.

“Football is an amazing sport,” Perry said. “Not for the hitting, not for the offensive scores, it’s an amazing sport because it helps young men grow into adulthood and it teaches values. It just helps them all around to be a better person in this world even when they’re not caring [about] football.”

Josiah, however, is focused on his offseason work and building towards a future in high school, college, and, he hopes, the NFL.

Josiah plans to attend Hoggard High School next fall and hopes to play for the football team.

“I’m super proud of him, man, he came a long way in one year,” Perry said.

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