The Carolina Panthers Community Captain program recognizes outstanding high school student-athletes in North and South Carolina who excel on the football field, in the classroom, and in the community. The Panthers encourage their future development as role models while they continue their personal growth in college and in their professional careers.
Breitenstein (5-10, 210) not only is a spectacular running back, but he also thrives at defensive back. In 2006 as a junior, he gained 2,625 yards, scored 26 rushing touchdowns, and had five interceptions. So far in 2007, he has over 2,600 all-purpose yards, 30 touchdowns, and 170 tackles. Breitenstein also has eight career blocked kicks/punts, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He holds the Watauga season rushing record 2,625 yards, the tackling record with 170, and he broke Watauga's career rushing record after his junior year with 3,706 yards. Over his career, he has 6,003 rushing yards, 72 touchdowns, 626 tackles, 17 forced fumbles, and nine interceptions.
In Watauga's second-round playoff game this season, Breitenstein rushed for 319 yards, scored 6 rushing touchdowns, and had 18 tackles on defense in leading the Pioneers to a 52-36 win. The team has so far added another win to make it to the state semifinals.
In 2006, Breitenstein was named to the AP All-State Team as a defensive back, AP runner-up Player of the Year, and Charlotte Observer's All-Piedmont defensive player of the year. He has also been named to the All NW4A (Northwestern Conference) each season since his freshman year. On top of his extraordinary football credentials, Breitenstein was named to the 2006 All NW4A Team in baseball and was a 2006 member of the baseball State Games. He is currently being recruited by hometown Appalachian State, Elon, North Carolina, NC State, and Wofford.
When asked to describe Breitenstein, Watauga Head Coach Adrian Snow had a simple answer: "Phenomenal! That's really all I can say. He's so humble and will always point to the next guy that helped him succeed, whether it's the [offensive linemen] or the quarterback."
Off the field, Breitenstein posts an impressive 4.0 GPA and is currently ranked in the top ten percent of his class. He is on the school's honor roll, in the National Honor Society, and has received an academic letter. He has also been involved in several school organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the student council.
Breitenstein's efforts to serve his community are as committed as his efforts on the playing field. He has served as a camp counselor at local youth football and baseball camps. He was also invited to speak at a fifth and sixth grade football banquet. For each of the last four years, he has volunteered up for the High Country Youth Festival, which brings together the community to listen to Christian bands.
Perhaps the thing that Eric finds most important is his work with Samaritan's Purse and its program Operation Christmas Child. He has helped check, pack, and repack boxes that have been sent overseas. The boxes are sent to children in need so that they may be able to celebrate Christmas. "Many of these children don't even know their parents and are living on their own or in orphanages," says Breitenstein. "Each small box of presents can bring them a lot of joy."
Eric Breitenstein and the rest of the 2007 Carolina Panthers Community Captain class will be recognized at Bank of America Stadium during a special on-field ceremony prior to the Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers game on December 16th. Award recipients will receive an authentic Carolina Panthers Community Captain jersey and will have the opportunity to participate in select Panthers community outreach events with current Panthers players.