Over the last 12 months, Carver’s Brian Sessoms Jr. has clearly established himself as a genuine blue-chip college prospect in football and track and field.
It’s no surprise then, that Sessoms has attracted attention from college scouts in both sports. There was some speculation about his plans for the next level. Would he play one sport or two? With last Saturday’s announcement that he has verbally committed to play football at N.C. State, Sessoms has laid all speculation to rest.
“I’ve been told by the (N.C. State) coaches that I can do both if I want to,” said Sessoms, a junior who runs 4.25 seconds in the 40-yard dash. “But for now, it’s football. Even though I’ve done well in both sports, I’ve always viewed myself as a football player who just happens to run track.”
Choosing a college wasn’t a difficult decision for Sessoms, who also had an offer from Wake Forest. He likes the school’s academic offerings and is confident that he’ll get his opportunity to earn playing time as a slot receiver in Coach Dave Doeren’s spread offense. With the exception of rising senior Bryan Underwood, the team’s most productive pass-catcher, N.C. State is very young and inexperienced at receiver.
“I feel like I’m a good fit for that system,” he said. “I’m the only wide receiver in the Class of 2015 to get a scholarship offer from State.”
Sessoms showcased undeniable game-breaking skills as a wide receiver and kick return specialist for the Yellowjackets last fall. Two months ago, he overcame a wobbly start to place second in the 55-meter dash at the Class 2-A state indoor track and field championships (6.52 seconds). A year ago, he burst onto the scene as a track newcomer who ran a personal best of 21.64 seconds to finish second in the 200 at the Class 2-A state outdoor championships.
“Things have really changed for me since last year,” said Sessoms, who won the 100 and 200 at the Scott Brent Invitational last week. “Back then, I was like a stranger. Now people are recognizing me as soon as I get off the bus. As for this season, things are coming along. My focus now is to keep working, keep competing and have some fun while doing so.”
Sessoms admits that the bittersweet results he had at last year’s state outdoor championships provide added motivation for 2014. He posted a personal best time of 10.69 seconds in the 100 to win the 2-A regionals last year. Entering the state meet, he was considered one of the prime contenders. That race, however, produced unexpected disappointment. Sessoms false started in the preliminary rounds and never advanced to the finals.
“I don’t think about what happened last year all the time,” he said. “But I am working my starts a lot. I don’t want what happened last year to happen again. In practice, all the sprinters go hard at it against each other all the time and that really helps everybody.”
Compared to this time last year, Coach Wesley Chapman acknowledged that Sessoms is a bit behind schedule. Sessoms has participated in several football camps so he hasn’t spent as much time on the track. Chapman, though, isn’t overly concerned. All that matters, he explained, is that Sessoms is ready and healthy for the big meets on Carver’s calendar.
“There are still a few weeks left before the conference championships,” said Chapman. “The regionals and the state come after that. So, I have no doubts that Brian will be ready by that time. The main emphasis is that he peaks at the right time.”