Pelham to play at Wayne State University

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Preston Pelham (seated center) was joined by his parents, Pat and Amie Pelham, brother Landon Pelham, (standing, l-r) TJ Thieken, Tecumseh head football coach Al Romano, assistant coach Todd Thieken and Athletic Director Greg Lewis for a photo opportunity. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

Working as hard off the field as he does while on the gridiron has given Tecumseh High School’s Preston Pelham an opportunity to continue playing a sport that he is most passionate about — football.

Pelham has committed to attend Wayne State University after graduation to join the Warriors football team.

“It just felt right as soon as I got there,” said Pelham of selecting Wayne State University. “It was different than everywhere else that I’d been. It felt like a family atmosphere.

“They have law school there which is something that I’m kind of interested in, so it all made sense,” he added.

Great kid. Great leadership. Led by example — Tecumseh head football coach Al Romano spoke very highly of Pelham, saying that watching him mature into the player he is now has been extremely rewarding as a coach.

“He never cared about Preston Pelham. He just wanted to win,” said Romano. “Kids like that make coaching very rewarding.”

Romano said that Pelham was a huge part of the Indians program and that he will carry that on the next four or five years at Wayne State and “continue to make us proud.”

Even as sophomore on the varsity team, Pelham stepped up when needed, according to Romano. The coach could tell even then that this tall skinny kid had a lot of potential.

“Jared Powell got injured and he kind of ran the show,” said Romano. “And Preston started taking over right then a little bit.”

Coach Romano added that it was all the hard work Pelham put in during the off-season that really made him such a great player.

Defensive coordinator Todd Thieken said he thought Pelham played approximately 35 percent of the time on offense and that he never left the field on defense his senior year.

“As the season went on and we started running the ball a lot more he was in there a lot,” said Thieken. “Certainly he was a vital part of our offense and obviously he was a big part of our defense, too.”

Thieken completely agreed with Romano about Pelham’s work ethic saying, “What he did in practice and what he did watching film and stuff like that he was able to do that. A lot of times in practice he might have only gotten five minutes of practice with the offense but he still had to know all that stuff. And he was able to do that.”

Pelham is the only player to ever receive consecutive defensive player of the year honors from the Daily Telegram.

The big question mark for Romano was, “Are they going to use him as a tight end H back or linebacker?”

Pelham said that he thinks he will be a tight end and will be red-shirted as a freshman. He said the Warriors’ offense is kind of unique where they use a lot of tight ends. Wayne State University participates in the NCAA Division II and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).

“They use two tight ends. You could be playing a slot, or a wing, or a H, and they motion a lot,” said Pelham. “That’s something they said they really could see me doing for them.

“That actually intrigued me a lot because everybody saw me for linebacker and they said no, that’s not where we want you.”

Pelham is just as talented as a wrestler and may have even been courted for a collegiate career had he wanted. He has only lost one match this year and is interested in attaining a state title as a heavyweight.

“My mind set right now is no one can beat me,” he said. “And I believe that.”




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