BUTLER — Like most men his age, Trey Staley has matured in four years at Eastside.
Now, he’ll take those lessons to Anderson University and into the world after that.
Thursday, he signed a letter of intent to play football and run track for the Ravens.
“I am extremely proud of Trey. As he’s matured, he has grown into a fine young man,” said Eastside football coach Todd Mason. “Athletics, you can throw those away. Part of our mission, (we want them) to become good human beings, and he’s one of those. I’m extremely proud about that.”
One lesson that Staley said he learned in high school was, “Always be a leader, not a follower. That’s one thing that coach Mason always put into me.
“My freshman and sophomore years, I was kind of an arrogant guy, and coach Mason got that out of me.
“Always work hard and always believe in you, and I do,” Staley added.
Attending a smaller school like Anderson was appealing to Staley. It also helped that he made immediate connections with the coaching staff there.
“Their football team is pretty good, and I really like the coach. Their coaching staff is amazing,” Staley said. “It’s a small school, and I like smaller schools.
“I used to go to Carroll (through junior high), which is a 6A school,” he said. “I like smaller schools better.”
At Anderson, Staley plans to major in sports management. He hopes to get into coaching after college.
When it’s time to hang up the football pads in the fall, Staley will shift gears for Anderson’s indoor track season that begins in December.
That transition will be made easier as he said coaches of both programs seem to work well together.
Staley was Eastside’s leading receiver, catching 45 passes for 610 yards and eight touchdowns. On the ground, he carried 17 times for 185 yards and two more scores.
He returned 14 kicks for 319 yards, an average of nearly 23 yards, and returned four punts for 49 yards.
In track, Staley was a two-time Northeast Corner Conference champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. He won the NECC title in long jump as a junior and finished third this season.
At sectionals, he was second in the 200 and third in the 100, qualifying for the regional meet in both events. At regionals, he placed fourth in the 100 and ninth in the 200.
Last year, he was sectional champion in the 100 and 200, and placed eighth in the 100 at regionals.
“Trey’s always been gifted athletically. There’s never been an issue with his talent,” Mason said. “I have no question in my mind that he’s going to be a talent for Anderson University.
“The thing I’m most proud about is his mental approach to the game and his work ethic. Those are things he’s going to be able to keep throughout his life,” the Blazer coach said. “Football’s going to go away and track’s going to go away, but the understanding of how to go to work and when you’re at work, you work, and being a good human being, those things never go away.
“He’s going to be just fine at Anderson, and Anderson’s a great place for him to continue to mature as a young man.”