Terrance Butler takes it personal that more Grand Strand football players haven’t been pegged to play college ball.
The former Socastee running back and owner of Enhanced Speed & Agility (ESA) believes opportunities exist, and a day when 50-75 area players annually are signing scholarships – as opposed to the 10-15 average recently – is a real possibility. Using individual and small group training sessions, Butler’s stock has started to rise in recent months.
He’s worked guys like Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson and Coastal Carolina tailback Lorenzo Taliaferro. But it’s the top prep talent he’s working with that has helped him grow his business and his goal.
“That’s one of the main reasons I started this, other than training people for the NFL combine,” said Butler, who played at Presbyterian from 2005-2009. “Even when I went to college, I shouldn’t have been the only guy going. They were four other guys who could have gone on to play ball. … There aren’t a lot of coaches recruiting this area.”
Butler thinks he can help change that.
Although he started ESA in 2011, Butler went full-time with the project last year. He runs personal training sessions for adults in the mornings, but he estimates that 80 percent of his 30 or so clients every week are high school athletes.
That includes some of the best football players in the area. Socastee’s Hunter Renfrow, who has agreed to a preferred walk-on spot at Clemson, Myrtle Beach sophomores Drayton Arnold and Brandon Sinclair, Seahawks receiver Kyle Belack and future CCU walk-on running back Delano Walters are all part of the mix.
Athletes from those schools and others from Carolina Forest, St. James and Conway have looked to Butler for help. Butler’s certainly isn’t the only game in town; sport-specific facilities and individual trainers are relatively common. However, word-of-mouth is pushing more and more people to Butler. Outside of a small Internet presence and a banner on his truck, his advertising stands with the production of his athletes.
In both regards, he started with the connections he had from his playing days.
After graduating from Presbyterian and having a tryout in the Canadian Football League, Butler returned the Grand Strand and spent a season as an assistant at Socastee under then-coach Tim Renfrow. He immediately started working with Socastee players on the side.
“The best thing he did for me was my sophomore [year] going into my junior year before he really had his business up and going,” Hunter Renfrow said. “He would work out with about eight of us from the team and we would do crazy things like going to the pool and beach and doing workouts.”
Butler’s affiliation with Golson was slightly different.
Referred to each other by a parent, the two started working together during Golson’s semester suspension from Notre Dame. Butler helped Golson with speed and flexibility, often at Myrtle Beach’s Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in December.
The next month, Taliaferro and Butler went to work on the running back’s 40-yard dash time. Taliaferro clocked a personal best 4.58 at February’s NFL combine. Last week, he was mentioned by ESPN’s Mel Kiper as a late-round sleeper during a reporter teleconference in part because of his production at the combine.
Butler charges up to $25-$30 per person for a group session and upwards of $55 for an individual session. Still, more and more parents and players are finding the results worth the costs.
Coaches aren’t arguing about it, either.
“With Terrance, in the few times I’ve talked to him, you can really see his passion for kids getting better,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “He’s not in it for the money. I talked to him when he was working with Everett in the fall. He really wanted to see Everett get better. When you have a guy like that, it’s great. That’s the kind of guy you want working with young kids.”
The quest for five
St. James baseball will begin its quest for a fifth straight region title Tuesday against North Myrtle Beach at home.
But maybe for the first time since they won their first, the Sharks open their Region VII-AAA slate as something other than the favorite. Socastee, with a number of college commitments, has been the team most coaches reference first.
Still, St. James has won four straight for a reason.
“[With] the talent level we have coming in every year, we’ve got a great chance of doing that,” St. James coach Robbie Centracchio said. “It’s big to have 16-19 guys on a high school team who all want to win. They take on different roles. Over the years, we’ve had different role guys, that 10th, 11th, 12th guy who does something tremendous for us.”
Monday’s Region VI-AAAA opener between Carolina Forest and Conway was postponed for at least one day after steady rains fell Sunday and Monday.
The game was moved back to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, although the forecast isn’t exactly looking too promising. If necessary, the schools will move the series back another day. The teams are scheduled to play three games this week, with the first and third being played at Conway and the middle contest at Carolina Forest.
The Tigers and Panthers won’t be the only two teams anticipating better weather.
Region play was also set to take place for most area teams across the lower three classes in baseball, softball, soccer, boys tennis, boys golf and track and field.
MB football State House ceremony
In December, the Myrtle Beach football team won the Class AAA state title in Columbia with a victory over Daniel.
On Thursday, the team will return to the capital city to be honored for its championship run. The Seahawks will take part in a 9:45 a.m. ceremony at the South Carolina State House as guests of area representative Alan Clemmons.
“As a team, once you leave that locker room in Columbia, it’s the last time as a group together,” Wilson said. “You’re going to lose some guys here and there. To go for one day and have everyone back together, you can look back at that state championship game and enjoy it.”
This will be the third such trip for Myrtle Beach since 2008. The Seahawks were also honored on the State House floor following title runs in 2008 and 2010.
Myrtle Beach coaches and players will leave the school at 6:30 a.m. Thursday for the ride to Columbia.
“It’s just a big honor,” Wilson said. “They’ve been asking me about it. They seemed really excited about it. First of all, there are a lot of kids who haven’t seen [the State House] before. In 2008, that was the first time I’ve ever been.”