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Despite injury, Hebron WR
setting records

DACULA - It's impressive enough that Hebron Christian's Will Treadwell ranks among the county's top receivers in just his second season playing football.

It speaks to a natural ability and an excellent work ethic.

That he's done it with a shoulder in need of surgery is well beyond impressive. That speaks to his determination and a newly found love for the game.

"He is a football player," said Hebron coach Brian Smith, who has taken the Lions' fledgling program to new heights in his first year at the helm. "He can play at any high school around. There's no doubt about it."

Treadwell barely played football before last season.

"I played when I was, like, 7," Treadwell said. "I was terrible. They made me play line. I decided I would never play again."

But last year, with tiny Hebron embarking on its first varsity campaign, Treadwell's best friend, Tim Gordon, convinced him to come out for the team.

"I didn't think I was going be any good at it," Treadwell said. "Actually, they didn't let me play until halfway through the season last year. Then, I don't know, it's just what I'm gifted with I guess."

Treadwell set a new school record for receptions Friday night and has racked up nearly 800 yards this season.

That total, also a school record, puts him in Gwinnett's top five, and he has one more game to improve on that mark.

It's probably going to be his last game, but then, every game this season could have been his last game.

Treadwell dislocated his shoulder - twice - in the first practice this fall. He did two months of therapy and was given the OK to come back.

"The first day of practice I did back with full pads, I dislocated it again," Treadwell said.

An MRI revealed a major tear in his labrum and Treadwell had a choice.

"I could not play and have surgery immediately or I could just try to tough it out and wear a brace," he said. "With the brace, I can only lift my arm to 90 degrees. Then get the surgery after the season's over. But I will have to have the surgery."

Sure, he's a senior. But he didn't even want to play football before last year. Did he have to think about the decision for long?

"It was an easy choice," Treadwell said. "Any way I could play was fine."

So he practices every week without contact. He runs his routes, does the offensive drills and even goes through the defensive back workouts.

"He's taken a few snaps on defense and it's hard because he's had to practice as a backup on defense for us without having contact," Smith said. "He would have started the year as a starter on defense. We made the decision, based on his injury, knowing that as soon as it goes out again he's probably done, we were just going to play him on offense.

"He probably hates me for that, but it's something that's allowed him to play this far."

Treadwell admits he'd have liked to play defense. But if a choice has to be made, he said he'd rather be out there on offense. And certainly some football is better than none.

"He's a tough kid," Smith said. "Knowing him, I know it hurts him and he never complains about it. He never says a word to me about it. Because he just wants to compete and play. That's huge.

"He's very blessed with a good work ethic, a good sense of the game and he's just able to do some things. I don't know how he does it because there's times I look at it and say, 'Well, how does he get open? How does he make them miss him?' But he finds a way to do it."