"He's a good athlete," Willis said. "He has a vertical [jump] above 38 inches – I can't even measure what it is how we have it set up because we can't measure that high. He runs well. And he's learning, plus he's just 16 years old."
And who is recruiting the Salem linebacker according to Coach White? "All the ACC and Big East are looking at him, plus interest from Nebraska," Willis said. "He's only played one year at linebacker but he moves well and is a good tough player. Word's getting around."
Willis, who has coached current college players including Nic Schmitt (VT) and Dennis Haley (UVa), says knows that he has something special in Austin Casey. "We get a lot of Old Dominion Conference players from here at Salem, but that's not Austin. When we get a real good one here, he's recognized."
And several colleges have recognized Casey's abilities early on. Although Casey has no early offers, he has received interest from many of the top teams in the region. What is Casey's current top five? "I'm really interested in UVa, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Nebraska, and Tennessee," Casey said.
Casey, whose father played college football at Virginia Tech, notes that distance will not be a major factor in his decision. This summer, Casey will attend camps at Virginia Tech and Virginia and will attend basketball camps at N.C. State and James Madison.
Although Casey injured his knee recently running track, he still plans to attend the Nike Camp in Blacksburg on May 17th as well. "It's just a bruise," Casey said of his injury. "I went to the doctor and they saw blood on it and they did an MRI but I hadn't torn anything or anything. So I'll probably go to the [Nike] Camp but I've got to go to another doctor on Friday."
Notes: Coach Willis noted that two rising juniors have a chance to be Division-1 players as well. "I think we have at least two more (D-1 players) but they're sophomores," Willis said. "One is Andre Hairston, a 5'9, 185-pound running back. The schools around the area are putting out feelers with these guys right now," Willis said.
We asked Casey to talk about each player as well. "Andre is getting really strong and is a strong tailback," Casey said. And Andre has speed. Webb has speed too. He's tall and plays safety. He comes up strong every time we need him to."