ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Mission accomplished, with a lot of accolades along the way.
On Tuesday at Meigs High School, Marauders’ multi-sport standout Kaileb Sheets signed his letter of intent to join the University of North Carolina at Charlotte football team next season.
“It’s a great opportunity, especially to go to Division I and Conference USA,” Sheets said. “It’s big time, so I know that I’ll have to go down there and work my butt off to play. When I got the chance to go (to Charlotte), I just couldn’t turn it down.”
Sheets will be joining a 49ers team that went 2-10 in 2015, which was their first season in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and Conference USA.
“Athletic-wise Kaileb is defiantly one of the top ones we’ve coached in the four years that I’ve been here” Marauders head coach Mike Bartrum said. “Kaileb always wanted to prove to himself and everybody that he could do it. He’s a likeable kid, I always want what’s best for him and I’m so proud of him. The opportunity to go to a D-1 football program is just awesome.”
As a senior on the gridiron for Meigs, Sheets ran for 665 yards and six touchdowns, while catching 56 passes for 720 yards and six more scores. Kaileb helped the Marauders to a 6-4 overall record and a 4-2 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division record this past fall. Sheets was named an All-Ohio Special Mention, first team All-Southeast District as an all-purpose player and first team All-TVC Ohio.
Sheets’ also had a successful senior campaign on the basketball court and the baseball field. In basketball, Sheets was an All-Ohio Special Mention, an All-Southeast District first team selection, an All-District 13 first teamer and a first team All-TVC Ohio selection for the 18-5 Marauders. On the diamond, Kaileb helped Meigs to a 21-7 overall record and a share of the TVC Ohio championship. Sheets was named All-District Special Mention for the Maroon and Gold baseball team.
Even with his success in the other sports and offers to continue both his baseball and basketball careers in college, the decision to choose football was an easy one for Kaileb.
“(Football) is a different kind of game,” Sheets said. “You really have to love it to play it.”
As a freshman at Meigs, Sheets helped the Maroon and Gold to a 3-7 season on the gridiron and a 10-12 season on the hardwood. The Marauders basketball team won its fifth-ever sectional title in Sheets’ freshman campaign, and Kaileb earned All-Southeast District third team honors. Sheets also excelled on the varsity track and field for Meigs, as a freshman.
In his sophomore season, Sheets helped Meigs claim a 7-3 mark on the gridiron, while passing for 991 yards and 11 touchdowns, rushing for 417 yards and three TDs, and catching passes for 279 yards and three scores. Kaileb was an All-Southeast District all-purpose first teamer and an All-Ohio Special Mention as a sophomore.
Kaileb helped the MHS baseball team to a 14-7 record in his sophomore season. Following his sophomore campaign, Sheets transferred to Wahama, where he spent his junior season before returning to Meigs.
“When Kaileb left there were no hard feelings,” Bartrum said. “He and his father made that decision and I supported it. There were no guarantees when he came back, he had to earn his spot like everybody else, and he did real quick.
“I feel that the adversity he dealt with between Wahama and Meigs, he dealt with the right way,” Bartrum added. “He was very professional and very up front about everything. (MHS Principal) Steve Ohlinger was in on the process of Kaileb coming back and I really appreciate his help. He covered all of our bases and made sure everything was good with the OHSAA.”
While at Wahama, Sheets quarterbacked the White Falcons to a 6-5 record and a postseason appearance. In the regular season, Kaileb threw for 742 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing for 1,052 yards and 11 scores. Sheets also returned two kickoffs for scores as a junior.
In a first round playoff loss to top-ranked St. Mary’s, Sheets completed 12-of-25 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Kaileb’s efforts on the gridiron as a junior earned him a spot on the All-TVC Hocking first team and the Class A All-West Virginia second team.
As a junior on the basketball court, Sheets helped the Red and White to a 12-11 record and earned a first team All-TVC Hocking spot. Sheets’ helped lead the White Falcon baseball team to a 25-7 record, a share of the TVC Hocking title and the 2015 WVSSAC Class A Championship. Sheets was named the the all-state second team as a pitcher, while earning first team all-league honors.
“It helped me a lot coming back (to Meigs), because I knew I had to step it up a level,” Sheets said. “I knew everyone was probably going to doubt me. I’d like to thank my coaches and my family for always supporting me.”
Sheets — who holds a 3.57 grade point average — plans on majoring in pre-med, while playing slot receiver at Charlotte.
When asked where signing to play in college ranked among his athletic accomplishments, Kaileb didn’t hesitate.
“This is number one,” Sheets said. “The reason I play like I do, is so I can go to the next level. This is what it was about.”
In his high school career, teams that Sheets has played for have gone a combined 60-21 in baseball, 22-19 in football and 40-28 in basketball.
The 49ers will begin their 2016 season on September 1, at Louisville.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.