ASHEVILLE – Reggie Battle was beginning to think that college football was no longer a possibility.
One of the most formidable backs in Asheville High history will in fact have a home at the next level. Battle and Mars Hill worked out the final details of a scholarship package just this week.
“I was really stressing out about it. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but God came through and gave me this chance to play,” Battle said.
“It’s a blessing.”
As a senior, Battle earned All-Mountain Athletic Conference and Citizen-Times All-WNC honors after rushing for 1,554 yards and 21 touchdowns. The four-year varsity star completed his career with 3,780 yards, the fifth-most in school history.
The deadline for athletes from the Class of 2016 to sign a national letter-of-intent is Aug. 1.
Battle needed to raise some of his test scores to gain college eligibility and has done so, making him the last college recruit for former Cougars coach Danny Wilkins. It’s a fitting bookend, according to Wilkins, who is the school record-holder for football-coaching wins (162) after his retirement in November.
“What a great kid,” Wilkins said.
“I was taking my morning walk (on Thursday) and it really set in that Reggie is my last one. Mars Hill is excited about having him, he’s excited about going and I’m excited about it, too. There is excitement all-around. I think he has the chance to be a really good player for them. He’s a good-sized running back who is going to bring the same kind of toughness to them that he gave to us. I know from talking with (Lions coach Tim Clifton) that they are a little thin at running back right now, and so that gives Reggie an opportunity to go in and compete right away.”
Battle stands 5 feet, 10 inches and weighs 210 pounds. The Cougars ran an I-formation offense throughout his career, and Battle often got double-digit carries in a single quarter.
“Playing on Friday nights meant a lot to me,” he said.
“The chemistry and teamwork around here is what made it like a brotherhood.”