Jan 30, 2014 12:27 AM
CORPUS CHRISTI - During the Super Bowl this weekend, be sure to keep an eye out for Corpus Christi native Clint Gresham.
He's the long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks, and a graduate of Ray High School. But Gresham says his middle school coach is the man who helped shape his football career.
As a coach at Hamlin Middle School, Ronney Heslip says it didn't take long for him to notice that Clint Gresham was special.
Gresham moved from public to private school during his 7th grade year. Heslip recommended to the coach Gresham play at quarterback. He did, and let the team to a city championship.
Heslip would become Gresham's coach the following year, and the coach says his skills took off
"When he became an 8th grader, I looked at his dad and told him ... 'It's no doubt in my mind this guy's gonna go Division I football,'" Heslip says. "And his dad said, 'No, Coach.' And I said, ‘Yeah. I can look at his determination.' It was just in his eyes."
That determination led to Gresham walking on at the University of Oklahoma and then transferring to TCU before entering the NFL.
Since entering the pros, Gresham still calls Heslip his favorite coach and a mentor.
But Heslip says his former player has been just as big of an influence on him.
"I told him, I said, 'Clint, you taught me a lot.' And he said, ‘What do you mean?' ‘To never give up on a kid.'"
This kid turned NFL player makes sure Coach Heslip never forgets what his guidance and commitment means to his career.
Their bond has only grown stronger over the years. Heslip says no matter the final score on Super Bowl Sunday, he's proud that he was able to coach a winner.
"Regardless of the outcome, he's number one with the Hamlin Rebels and with Coach Heslip."