Followers of the North Paulding High School Wolfpack likely know that the school’s football team posted this past fall an overall record that was over the .500 mark, going 6-4 (2-4 in Region 5-AAAA North). While those numbers might seem impressive considering that the young school just this year had its first seniors playing on the team, one stat might be even more remarkable—the number of students committing to play college ball.
The school on Wednesday held signing ceremonies for five of its players, with offensive lineman James Brisson and wide receiver Joey Eliezer heading to the University of West Georgia, wide receiver Chris Conley pursuing a spot at the University of Georgia, and defensive back Mason Dumas and quarterback Cain Campbell getting ready to head northeast—Dumas to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Campbell to Dean College in Franklin, Mass.
“Five guys out of our first senior class is very exciting, and I think we have the potential of two to three more guys sign scholarships before everything is said and done,” said Heath Webb, the school’s head football coach. “Five is great, but if we can get a few more in there, that would be outstanding for our first class.”
Campbell, who helmed the team at quarterback all four years, said being a part of the young team was tough, but ultimately rewarding.
“At the beginning, it was kind of rough, because we were all young, playing against older people that had done it before,” Campbell said. “We never really had anybody to show us what to do, so we had to kind of just make our own path. But it was fun, though.”
Campbell says he is looking at pursuing a major in business, adding that he hopes to make a solid move after two years at the junior college. “I want to go to [Division I] hopefully, so if there’s a D-I college that’s up there that wants me, I’ll be glad to do that,” he said.
Webb said he believes Campbell will make an impact early on in his college career.
“He’s a very strong-armed quarterback that has a great understanding of the game,” he said. “He’ll probably go into Dean and compete for the job right now—I would not be surprised if he didn’t start for those guys as a freshman.”
Dumas said his decision to head to Carnegie Mellon was based mostly on academics. He said he hopes to study engineering with a minor in business to pursue his goal of starting his own engineering firm.
“They’re a high-academic school, and they’ve got a good football team, so I looked into it and that’s where I wanted to go,” Dumas said, adding that he did not see leaving the South as a downside. “Sometimes it’s good to just get away, be by yourself and see what you can do alone.”
“Mason Dumas is a great kid who academically took care of business,” Webb said. “He’s a kid that’s academically and athletically going to give everything that he’s got, and his work ethic in both areas will make him successful.”
Conley is already enrolled at Georgia after graduating in December. Webb said he believes Conley, like Campbell, show promise of filling a team role soon after stepping foot on campus. “He has a great opportunity to hopefully contribute as a freshman as well—very athletic kid and just a good all-around person,” he said.
Brisson and Eliezer both said they “felt at home” during their visits to West Georgia. They also said they were looking forward to having a familiar face on campus and on the team.
“We’re going to hang around a lot, basically just be real good friends, stay close, work out together, build a special bond,” Eliezer said of Brisson, his high school and potential college teammate. He added that he hopes to major in sports medicine.
“It’s very important to me to know that one of my teammates was going there that I’ve been playing with for four years now, and to continue that tradition and playing with him in college is going to be a lot greater,” Brisson said. He added that the short driving distance to the school was one factor he considered in his decision-making process, as was the fact that the school had what he believed to be a top-of-the-line sports medicine program, which he plans to enter.
Webb said the Carrollton-based college will benefit from the school’s two signees.
“James Brisson is a very athletic offensive lineman,” he said. “West Georgia really loved his athleticism, and he played tackle for us but he will play center at the college level, but his athleticism was the thing they really liked out of a big man.
“Joey Eliezer, in my opinion, he’s a steal for West Georgia,” Webb added. “He’s a kid that was being recruited heavily by a bunch of Division I schools, and fell in love with West Georgia and the coaching staff there. They did a great job of recruiting him, and I think it’s going to be a great fit for them.”