Willie Cherry had just completed his first collegiate interview when he turned back to the track at Walter Fieldhouse. He was the last one off the practice field.
Cherry reached down, grabbed a sweatshirt and put it on before heading into the cold Ohio morning. The walk from the fieldhouse to the locker room was just a few minutes. The native Texan still has to get used to the cold.
But for Cherry, he's already made an impact on the national scale.
On Tuesday, the first day of Spring Practice and the first-ever practice for Cherry, he made a circus, one-handed catch along the right sideline. It was a catch that made everyone in the fieldhouse stop and yell.
“Honestly, I really don’t know what happened," Cherry said. "It was just instinct, reaction to the ball.”
Cherry's catch was featured on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays and picked up by Bleacher Report.
“I haven’t been on Twitter in four months, but I got on today because people kept calling me, telling me it was on there," Cherry said. "It felt pretty good.”
It's even more impressive when considered that Cherry should be a high schooler right now. He's an early enrollee at Ohio University, meaning he graduated high school in December and enrolled for the Spring Semester.
“He’s a true freshman, he’s supposed to be in senior English right now," offensive coordinator and running back's coach Tim Albin said. "His prom is coming up in three weeks. And he’s here, all the way from Texas. It’s an exciting time.”
The 6-foot-2, 195 pound 3-star recruit graduated from Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas. It was unknown where he'd play during his recruiting process. On the first day of Spring Practice, his first ever practice, he made it clear which position he'd be playing.
“We’ve had several guys, over 10, that have come in and enrolled early," Albin said. "We’ve got a very very structured plan. We know they’re going through homesickness stuff early. We’ve got a plan in place for that. Willie is a mature young man. He’s really mature for his age. He’s handled it very well.”
Cherry said he tries not to think about the distance between Athens and Wichita Falls, just a two-hour flight but a 16-hour drive. Instead, he's focused on developing into the best receiver he can. And if Tuesday was any indication, Ohio has a stud on its hands.
"It was great to see," Albin said. "We were hoopin' and hollerin' in the staff. I was putting it on my phone to send to his dad, all the way in Texas. Coach (Dwayne) Dixon said ‘I’ll get that, Flight School it on my Twitter.’ And it got picked up.”