By Thomas Sellers Jr.
In early August 2016, the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels arrived to Media Day with new Head Coach Colin Pinner and few underclassmen looking to contribute over the next few years.
Names like Zach McCranie, Mac Fullen and Donald Crowe were ready to prove themselves. While those players eventually emerged a vital parts of Pinner’s system, one student recently reenrolled at TRA was experiencing peer pressure.
“They were like, ‘Carter we know you want to wait to play until your senior year,’” TRA senior Carter Weakley said. “‘But we would like for you to come out this year.’ I originally came out for quarterback.
“Looking at colleges, a point guard playing quarterback helps because of your vision and decision making,” the two-sport standout added. “But they put me at running back and kick return. And I excelled at kick return. Running back I did pretty well.”
The name Carter Weakley was not only heard around the TRA campus but on national website like MaxPreps. Weakley’s more than 30 yards per return had him ranked in the top 5 in America.
“Most plays I made it across the 50,” he recalled. “That’s major. Basketball definitely increased my vision on the field.”
When Weakley returned back to Millington from his stay at Christian Brothers in Memphis, he was primed for a spot on the Rebel Basketball roster. He had earned a name in hoops from AAU and making the Purple Wave varsity team.
As the man who normally runs the show on the hardwood, Weakley originally had his sights on being the signal caller for Pinner. But Crowe earned that spot.
“Our quarterback is very smart with the ball,” Weakley said. “He give it to Mac and Mac basically does the rest. But when he throws it, Donald normally goes 6 of 8 or 8 of 9 for the game. He’s very smart when he throws it. He goes 100 yards. He’s a good decision maker.”
The Mac Attack Weakley referenced was courtesy of Mac Fullen. As a freshman he rushed for a school record of more than 1,200 yards.
Weakley said teammates like Crowe and Fullen have motivated him to improve his gridiron skills. He is ready to step up his play as a returner, running back and cornerback.
“I’ve been in the weight room a lot this offseason hoping my strength and conditioning have improved a lot more than it was last year,” he noted. “Hopefully I can break some tackles and make it the end zone more this season.”
More touchdowns would mean more team success and individual recognitions. But it was having a well-known name in basketball that paved an avenue for Weakley to reach a point of humbleness.
“I’m a popular face in Memphis and at Memphis schools,” he said. “They know who I am. But seeing all the other talent at these other schools and seeing some kids who are better than me helped me step back and put myself in a proper place. Coming from a small private school, it made me humble and become a leader.
Weakley said he is grateful for his time at CBHS and is even more in a spirit of gratitude being back home.
“That exposure helped me step back and find a better direction,” he said. “I’m happy I returned. I feel great and I’m so happy I returned. I love the school.
“Everybody here knows me,” Weakley concluded. “At CBHS, it’s such a big school that not everybody knows you although I was a varsity basketball player over there as well. But in these hallways, everybody knows everything. It’s like a family.”