"Michael is a thinker and just a highly poised quarterback that is very smart, throws the ball on the dime, has a great release, has great vision, big hands, and can really throw the football," Freedom head coach Michael Helms said. "He makes things happen and is very deceptive with his speed – he's much faster than he looks. He's a tall lanky kid. He throws a great corner route; he throws a great fade route; and he's not afraid to take the ball and move it up the field and run with it if he has to."
Helms had a junior season the likes of which Freedom High School hasn't seen in its 37-year history. He broke the school record for most total touchdowns (40), most pass attempts (320), and most completions (180).
In addition to putting his name in Freedom's record book, Helms was named the South Mountain Conference's Offensive Player-of-the-Year and Hickory Daily Record's Greater Hickory Offensive Player-of-the-Year.
"It's very unusual for a Burke County student-athlete to be named a Greater Hickory Offensive Player-of-the-Year," Coach Helms said. "But he's probably broken every passing record that has been set here."
Helms first became a starter as a sophomore where he completed 87-of-175 passes for 1,029 yards and seven touchdowns.
During his junior season, Helms exploded for 2,631 yards and 30 touchdowns with ten interceptions on 180-of-320 passing, and 352 yards and ten touchdowns on 90 rushes. More importantly, though, Freedom's record improved from 5-7 in 2009 to 10-3 in 2010.
"I'm more of a passer than a runner," Helms said. "I run when I have to. I try to take control of the team and be a leader. With my dad being the coach, it helps out a lot in knowing the offense."
"He's heard from a lot of the ACC schools," Coach Helms said.
Helms is receiving the most attention from Duke, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, and NC State.
The only school Helms has visited thus far is Duke.
"This summer I'm going to try to go to a lot of different camps," Helms said.
In particular, Helms is eyeing camps at Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest.
Coaching definitely runs in Helms' family. In addition to his father head coaching Freedom, his mother, who played basketball at Wake Forest, is the head girls' basketball coach at Hickory High School… Helms' cousin, Logan Buchanan, played football at UNC until a shoulder injury ended his career and forced him to take a medical hardship… Helms said he is a UNC fan… Helms also plays golf and basketball for Freedom, but decided to skip his junior basketball season to bulk up for football.