A surprise visitor had an important message for the B.C. Rain football team this week – concentrate on your academics and prepare yourself to get a qualifying score on the ACT.
The visitor was former University of Alabama and NFL running back Trent Richardson, who visited B.C. Rain on Wednesday as a guest of Nex-Move, an organization that encourages student-athletes to prepare for the ACT and start early in their pursuit of academic eligibility for college athletics.
“Anybody can be a good athlete. But I tell my kids all the time, you’re never going to be great if you don’t have your grades,” Richardson told the players in the school’s gymnasium. “Everybody’s not going to be able to play football.”
Richardson asked the players if there were any who wanted to be something other than a professional athlete. Several raised their hands. Two said they want to be engineers. One said he wants to join the military.
“There’s more than being an athlete,” Richardson said. “You’ve got to make sure you believe in your dream. If you’re not dreaming, if you can’t remember your dream, you need to go back to sleep.”
Richardson was a guest of Valencia Belle, a local ACT Prep and NCAA clearance academic coach and founder of the CLEARED and S.C.H.O.O.L.S. initiatives, and Huddlbox, which makes reinforced sideline monitors for football programs. Belle and Huddlbox have partnered to form Nex-Move and sponsor “Know Your Score” events to encourage student-athletes to prepare for and take the ACT early and often.
“We have D-I athletes here,” Belle said of Mobile. “We have national-quality athletes and we want our athletes in this area to have those opportunities.”
In recognition of B.C. Rain’s participation and the success of its student-athletes, Huddlbox donated one of its sideline monitors to the school on Wednesday.
“This is something the kids earned. Someone recognized something they did, and it helps out everybody,” B.C. Rain football coach Rick Cauley said. “This is big, for them to see you get something whenever you do the right thing.”
Richardson also presented T-shirts from his “TR3” line to Rain football team members who have a qualifying score on the ACT, and encouraged the rest of the team to follow their lead.
“My class, when I was in school, only two of us qualified,” Richardson said. “We didn’t have the knowledge you all have today, the classes you all have today, somebody to come mentor you, teach you how to take the ACT.
“If you’re not qualified, shame on yourself. Get this knowledge and learn.”