Texas Wesleyan football players are eager to begin building the program up and taking advantage of their redshirt season this year.
Wesleyan has attracted more than 100 athletes to the new football program, in spite of the team not playing until the fall of 2017.
“It’s going to be tough at first because we’re all football players,” said linebacker Elijah Meyer, a freshman exercise science major. “We definitely want to be out on the field.”
Many players said they chose Wesleyan because they liked that the coaches were helpful and interested in them as people not just as football players.
“He actually really cares about his players,” said running back Brandon Greene sophomore athletic training major of head coach Joe Prud’homme. “I mean each and every one of us. He has a spot for us.”
The coaches’ excitement and dedication to the team is obvious, Meyer said.
“You could tell just by the way they were acting and talking about it that they were ready to get the show on the road,” Meyer said.
A redshirt year has its advantages and disadvantages just like everything else, Meyer said.
“It’s going to be a good chance for us to get well acquainted and definitely get bigger, faster and stronger off the field first,” Meyer said, “so that when springtime comes we can hit it hard.”
A long year of practices but no games can be used to create a program that will benefit Wesleyan, said quarterback Erik Richards.
“I think a redshirt year is great because it gives everybody a year to develop and get a chance to meet the team and get well acquainted,” said Richards, a sophomore business management major.
Older programs allow the players to grow as a team before they are expected to play in games together, Richards said.
“A redshirt season gives us a chance to build as a program together before we actually get into a season,” Richards said.
Several players said that creating an image they can be proud of is important, since Wesleyan has not had football in 75 years.
“We are able to start over, start from the ground up and start a good tradition,” said linebacker Otis McMillan.
It is obvious that the coaches care about more than just their football abilities; they also care about the character of their athletes, said McMillan, a freshman exercise major.
“Coach Prud’homme is just trying to keep us out of trouble and mold us into great men,” McMillan said.
The players said classes are going well and they are all excited to be working in a great environment on and off the field.
“They have a great education department in my field,” Meyer said. “I’m excited to get something started.”
Wesleyan’s coaching staff really makes a difference in the overall experience that the players have at school, Green said.
“Coach Prud’homme tries to help us out as much as he can,” Greene said. “Financially he does everything he can to get scholarships to make [paying for] school easier.”
It is important to the team that they can give back to the community around Wesleyan; they hope that bringing the football team back will help do that, Greene said.
“We’re really hoping that bringing the team here can help build the community around this part of Fort Worth,” Greene said.
Wesleyan’s football team practices 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday.