Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gamecocks, Tigers…well, just about everyone will be watching this Columbia High sophomore

His name is Casey Gladney. And if the Columbia sophomore WR/DB continues to progress at his current pace, he should be on everyone’s radar next year and a national recruit by the time he’s a senior.

Gladney started at safety as a freshman, then began playing wide receiver when coach Kemper Amick noticed that he was the fastest player on the team in preseason practice this year.

“Eventually we kept him primarily at wide receiver,” Amick said today. “He has tremendous, tremendous hands. If you get it near him, he catches it. It’s like he has Velcro on his hands.”

Amick laughed.

“He made a couple of circus catches early this year—one a one-handed grab while falling down backwards—and that got him into a bad habit of using one hand to catch balls. We had to break him of that.”

Gladney finished the season with nine TD catches and two more rushing, but that barely scrapes the surface of this story.

Late in Columbia’s ninth game, its starting quarterback was injured. With the backup QB already hurt and the third-stringer an offensive lineman , the coaches consulted and put Gladney under center.

“He had never taken a snap in practice, but we were desperate,” Amick said.

Gladney led the team on two long fourth-quarter drives, and although Columbia didn’t score, he impressed everyone.

“He has the strongest arm on the team,” Amick said. “He can throw it as far as you want him to throw it.”

Gladney also is a shooting guard on the basketball team and pitches for the baseball team.

“Pitches, and plays wherever they need him,” Amick said.

Apparently, much like he does in football.

--Stan Olson

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