Central’s Wilcox goes from shy to leader
It wasn’t easy for Thaddeus Wilcox growing up.
Wilcox, now a senior at Central High School, would often get teased about being dyslexic.
“Because of my disability being dyslexic, I would get made fun of all the time,” said Wilcox, who was shy as a child, partly because of his dyslexia. “One teacher saw my potential and sent me to the People to People Student Ambassador program. I went to France, Italy and Greece and talked to a bunch of students there.”
That experience helped him overcome his shyness, and pretty soon, Wilcox was getting more involved in school, including student government.
“When you go to a (senate) camp and meet different people and talk to them, it broadens your horizons immensely,” he said. “I wouldn’t be the same person I am today if I didn’t go into student senate.”
Wilcox established connections with other students across the state, learning how to communicate and build friendships.
He contemplated going to college to study political science, but Wilcox, who has a 3.5 grade-point average, is now leaning toward radiology.
His experience in student senate helped the former wallflower blossom into a leader on the football field.
“We saw it as a sophomore,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “He stepped into that middle linebacker position, which calls the signals. He took charge of those JVs as a sophomore and ran the defense for us. He was good at it. He’s a good leader.”
Wilcox became a regular on the varsity team last fall, starting a couple of games and backing up all the linebackers.
“Linebackers pretty much run the defense,” Wilcox said. “It’s a big deal, communication. Student senate is all about communication.
“You cannot think, you react, you go. When I started playing varsity, everything is so much faster. I remember I hated going down to play JV after playing varsity because everything is so slow moving.”
Wilcox continued to improve on the football field, performing well in summer camps.
“He’s doing a great job,” McGee said. “He was one of our best players at camp. He was coming forward, making great tackles and good reads.
“I was expecting him to start, then he gets hurt. If he’s healthy, he’s definitely going to play and he might start.”
A sprained ankle in practice has caused him to miss the first three games of the season, but Wilcox returned to practice this week and is expected to play when the Warriors host Hinkley at 7 p.m. Friday at Stocker Stadium.
The Warriors (0-3) need him to help stop Hinkley’s rushing attack.
“I expected to be a pretty good team this year,” McGee said. “I thought we had a chance in all three games this year. Last year, I couldn’t say that. So to be in the same position as last year is frustrating.
“I still feel good about this group. We need to win five games (to make the playoffs), but we have our work cut out for us.”