Eastern Wayne standout C.J. Battle was all smiles on Wednesday inside the Eastern Wayne gymnasium as he announced to his teammates, coaches, and family that he signed a national letter of intent with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Battle, who mostly played receiver during his senior season at Eastern Wayne, is a versatile player who took snaps at cornerback, quarterback, running back, and even punter and kicker during his time at Eastern Wayne.
He said his days of playing multiple positions are likely over as he will focus on improving his skills at the receiver position in college.
“It’s going to be a tough move only playing one position because I’m used to playing many positions with coach (Leander) Oates behind me,” Battle said. “(Oates) trusted me with whatever he told me to do. I thank him for giving me the opportunity to show my talent.”
Battle has already shown he can put up numbers as a receiver.
This season while lining up primarily at receiver, he caught 22 passes for 540 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games, which is up from the nine catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns he caught in 11 games last season when he spent time at quarterback and running back positions.
Eastern Wayne head coach Leander Oates said he trusted Battle to play multiple positions because of his strong mindset.
“It was a lot of determination from him (to play multiple positions),” Oates said.
“He represented us in many ways, stepped up for us, and also made us one of the most dangerous teams here in the East.”
Oates ultimately decided that receiver was the best position for Battle because of his ability to catch almost any ball thrown his way.
“He’s a ball hawk,” Oates said. “He’s not going to settle for just the ball that’s … high, he’s going to go for the low (balls), he going to dive, and he is going to try to make sure that every possession counts.”
Oates added that he is proud to have another Eastern Wayne player sign a letter of intent to play sports in a college, which is one of his main goals as a head coach.
“As always, that’s pretty much (something) that I feel like I’m destined to be here to do, is to help kids reach another level,” Oates said.
“Not all (players) can go (to college). You are just thankful that you can get one out of the many that we have (go to college).”
At UNC Pembroke, Battle said he plans to study engineering and design.