Memphis coach helps student athletes practice for ACT

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis football coach is giving Mid-South students the chance to do their very best as they head into college.

Wednesday, Feb. 7 is National Signing Day for athletes across the nation, including several from Whitehaven.

"I'm super happy," Chris Witherspoon said. "I'm ready."

Witherspoon is a standout running back and said he's ready to commit to Bethel University.

But first, Witherspoon needs to improve his ACT score in order to sign.

"You get more money when you get a 21 or 23 and some guys just need it to even qualify for a scholarship," Fairley High coach Gene Robinson said.

A Whitehaven graduate now coaching at Fairley High School, Robinson has the heart to give back.

He has mentored Witherspoon over the past few years at his "Make The Right Call" football summer camp.

This year, Robinson offered the 10 top athletes from the camp free ACT prep tutoring.

"Kids who come from a background and know they have to keep their grades up and get the ACT and people who never even heard of the ACT or don't think they have to take it until their senior year," Robinson said.

"Everything these coaches are doing in Memphis is trying to better us," Witherspoon said.

Whitehaven coach Rodney Saulsberry said he's proud of the work Robinson is doing to inspire students.

"The greatest thing is having a village around these kids and we say once a tiger, always a tiger," Saulsberry said.

Robinson said that he wants to instill in his students that's it's what they do off the field and in the classroom that will propel them in their athletic careers.

Witherspoon is confident he'll get the score he needs, and Robinson hopes he can get more community support to expand this opportunity.

"We need more partners to come aboard and really give back to our youth and really give them something passionate and something to look forward to," Robinson said.

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