Adrain Portlock wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he wants to take it a step further.
Portlock, a Williamson High School senior and a standout running back on the Lions football team, would like to play professional football one day, but he also wants to be a civil engineer.
“It was hard finding my second passion when I was younger, but I found out I like building,” Portlock said. “My dad does the same thing – a carpenter. I was like: I want to build; I want to do hands-on work. And people insisted on telling me to move it up a notch – you can be an engineer. You can be the one that designs (things) for them to build. I kind of hesitated with that, because sitting down is not me. I’m a mover; I’m a hands-on person. But doing more research on it, it’s kind of a good idea.”
The oldest of five children, Portlock said academics have always come first in his family, and he takes his role as an example for his younger siblings seriously. Portlock, who carries a 3.7 grade-point average at Williamson, is honored here as the Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union/MCPSS Scholar Student Athlete of the Week.
“Everything he does, he puts his heart into it, full-effort,” Williamson football coach Dedrick Sumpter said of Portlock. “He’s really the leader on our team. He sets the example that you want to the typical student-athlete to uphold. It’s been a joy coaching him.”
Williamson teacher April Bell-Bush said Portlock stood out quickly in her classes for his refusal to take breaks and his dogged pursuit of mastery of the subject.
“He’s going to be the one who goes the extra mile,” she said. “He’s going to stay after class. If tutoring is available, he’s going to come. If I’m up here on a Saturday: ‘Ms. Bell-Bush, are you coming to work Saturday? Can you help me with this? Can you give me extra problems?’ I’ve never had a student ask for extra work.
“Just the standard is not enough for him. He likes to be challenged.”
Portlock is considering football scholarship offers from North Carolina State and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Sumpter said Portlock’s acceptance into West Point is a feather in Williamson’s cap.
“We can produce a student-athlete that’s capable of going to West Point,” he said. “That just shows you the learning is here, the focus is here, the proper training is here.”
Portlock said success in the classroom and on the football field is a matter of desire, determination and hard work.
“You can do anything if you put your mind to it. All you’ve got to do is grind,” he said. “You’ve got to put in work in order for you to get what you want in life. And grades are the most important before sports.”