Honus Wagner is no stranger to overcoming obstacles.
He spent his first two years of athletic eligibility at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California, after being academically ineligible following his graduation from North Forsyth High School in 2019.
Wagner, a 6-foot linebacker, collected 59 tackles, nine tackles for loss and two sacks during his freshman season at AHC. His second season was cancelled because of COVID-19, which looked like it may have stunted his chance of playing Division I football.
However, Wagner continued to work hard in the classroom and graduated early from Allan Hancock with an associate degree so he could move onto a four-year program.
On Wednesday, Wagner officially took the next step in following his dream of becoming a professional athlete by signing with Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
Wagner said he was sitting in his brother’s garage when he found out that Gardner-Webb wanted to offer him a scholarship, but only if he could be at the school by January. Wagner met with his academic advisor and the two set a schedule that included 20 hours of classes in this most recent fall semester.
After two more classes in a winter session, his graduation in January 2021 from Allan Hancock will bring him straight to Gardner-Webb.
The drive from North Forsyth High School to the university is a little over three hours, a drive that Wagner said he is excited for his family and friends to make.
“Though it’s always been a dream to play Division 1 football,” Wagner said during his Zoom signing, “it’s always been a dream to be close to home and have my family come out to see a game whenever they want to. That was a big factor in my decision.”
Wagner said his new coaching staff has told him they want to continue his career on the field at middle linebacker, the position Wagner has always played. He said he wants to study sports management at Gardner-Webb.
Coaches and teachers from Allan Hancock had nothing but high regards for Wagner during his signing, saying his hard work in the weight room and the classroom is what has brought him to be the school's seventh Division I signing this season.
At North Forsyth, Wagner played four years of football and was named on the All-Region team and an honorable mention on the All-State team. He also played baseball and golf.
Wagner led the Raiders in rushing with 888 yards and six touchdowns on 131 carries his senior year. He also had 41 tackles and blocked three field goals.