The rising junior could have stuck to his previously stated intent to not play football his senior year at Weaver. Who could blame him, what with college basketball prospects and just coming off a summer filled with AAU ball.
Yes, English could have spent the day indoors while his old teammates ran wind sprints and worked fundamentals in 90-degree heat.
He might have avoided the moments of sweaty regret he surely had on the practice field, but then the regrets of sitting out this promising season for the Bearcats proved to be too great.
“My mom had me thinking about, ‘Don’t close another door in the future, just in case basketball doesn’t work out,’” he said. “And I didn’t want to let me team down and leave them hanging, so I just decided to play.”
We live in a football state, and English joined thousands of other players around the state in answering the call Monday.
He was out there, along with other potential Weaver standouts like running back Brandell Massey and quarterback Timothy Hawkins. They were preparing for a season the Bearcats have eyed since their heartbreaking, 27-26 loss to eventual Class 3A runner-up Madison Academy in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
Weaver wants to break through for its first playoff victory since 2005, and English is a difference-maker player who can help.
“He’s an all-purpose kind of guy,” Weaver coach Daryl Hamby said. “In a game, he might get 90 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving, and who knows what he gets on kickoff returns or punt returns.
“His all-purpose yards are pretty much off the charts, and he can do so much. He can throw the ball. He can receive the ball. He’s a good running back. There’s not a lot that kid can’t do.”
English also plays safety on defense, and defense might be his ticket beyond high school, should he choose football.
For a time, it looked like he was done with football. He said so on Twitter on June 7.
“I’m 99.9 percent I’m not playing football this year, SMH (shaking my head),” he tweeted.
Followers replied, and his answers indicated that he “really don’t like” football. Mainly, he wanted to focus on basketball.
That one of the area’s top players sounded ready to give up football caused a minor stir, but Hamby said lots of players flirt with the idea during the offseason.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and they all have the same doubt,” he said. “He’s not the only one. There’s probably 10 or 12 others, because they know the drudgery of it.
“They know the summer workouts and how hot it’s going to be in August and the two-a-days that you go through and stuff like that, and he stays so busy.”
Within a month, English changed his mind.
“I’m sure he thought about Friday nights and how much fun that is,” Hamby said. “I don’t think there’s anything like a Friday night, playing football.”
English changed his mind while still playing AAU basketball, which started at the end of the school year and carried into mid-July. He would play in two-three tournaments a month.
“I used to have to go to AAU practice and tournaments but still have to come in and get my workouts done,” he said. “I had to work out with Brandell. Brandell has been getting me bigger and stronger.”
Basketball looks like the likeliest path for English, a second-team All-State pick as a sophomore. He averaged 21.8 points and five rebounds a game.
Still, Hamby said playing more than one sport will benefit English in recruiting because college coaches see plusses in multi-sport athletes. Too, football could be a college option for him.
English said he hasn’t looked too deeply into recruiting at this point. He’s more into the immediate future, with the football team.
“Our future is bright right now,” he said. “If everybody comes together, football season could last into November.”