Seven days ago from today a young man said goodbye to his former teammate and prepared himself for the next step in his football career.
Last Friday at 3:45 p.m. veteran Northwestern High School Head Coach Jimmy Wallace decided to honor and send out one of his favorite players out in style.
Worley led Northwestern to an undefeated season and a state championship this past fall and has re-written the South Carolina record books in the process.
"I knew he was going to be special when he was a tall lanky freshman," Wallace remembered. "You didn't know for sure how good he was going to be, but you knew he had all the potential in the world, I knew the sky was the limit for this young man."
Worley was named National Gatorade Player of the Year and according to his coach was the lifeblood of his high school program the last three years.
He was a three year starter for Northwestern and capped off a brilliant career with the state championship.
So Wallace tried to figure out the proper send off for this special athlete.
"We knew we had to do something," Wallace told InsideTennessee.com in a special one on one interview. "So we lined up all 100 members of our football team in the gym to say one last goodbye to someone who mean't so much to our program."
Wallace couldn't have imagined what happened next.
"Justin went crazy, he ran around the gym twice before coming up and shaking each of his teammates and coaches hands. There were a lot of hugs and it ended up being very emotional. There wasn't a dry eye in the building. This young man has mean't so much to us, as a player, as a young man and as a friend."
Wallace just felt like was the right thing to do.
According to Wallace, Worley's decision to enroll early to Tennessee this week wasn't an easy one.
"His mother wasn't sure at first," Wallace recalls. "Justin told her, Mom I'm going to be leaving home, either in January or in May, but I will still be leaving. She then realized she had to let him go."
Worley and his family loaded up his stuff and headed to Knoxville on Saturday instead of Sunday due to the incoming bad weather. He enrolled and attended classes at UT on Wednesday.
Wallace feels that Worley's enrolling early will be a good thing for the talented signal caller.
"He will get to learn their offense, he will get to go through a college off season program, it will be good for him," Wallace said. "He will also get to compete for playing time in spring ball. Tennessee is getting a great quarterback but even better person."
Wallace plans on spending a lot of his future time in Knoxville.
"You bet I will," Wallace said. "I"m a Vol now. I will be going to a lot of their spring practices and can't wait to go to a game there. Go Vols."
Editors Note: This is the first of a two part series with Jimmy Wallace, Justin Worley's Head Football Coach.