Berkeley Timberland Football (copy)

Berkeley senior running back Keshawn Wicks has already committed to Old Dominion University. Brad Nettles/Staff

Changing high schools can be a gamble. Athletes who transfer in search of better opportunities and more success sometimes discover they might have been better off at their original school.

For Berkeley senior football player Keshawn Wicks, transferring from Stall after his sophomore season has proven to be the right call.

Wicks gained about 800 yards rushing during his sophomore season at Stall, but the 6-0, 185-pound running back felt he would benefit from playing at a higher profile program. He and his family opted to make the move to Moncks Corner so he could attend Berkeley.

“Basically, I came here seeking a better opportunity to get to the next level,” Wicks said. “I knew Berkeley had a good program and if I played well, the right people would notice me. I want to play college football and we felt like Berkeley was a better place to showcase my skills.”

Wicks immediately became an integral part of the balanced Berkeley offense. He rushed for 2,133 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2017, helping the Stags to a 12-2 record.

Berkeley head coach Randy Robinson says the running back needed very little time to blend in with his new team.

“I was told we had a transfer running back but you never really know what you’re getting until you see him on the field,” Robinson said. “We got a look at him during the spring and it didn’t take but a few minutes to see he was a special player.

“He’s a really good running back. He also has great hands and can catch the ball out of the backfield, which makes him a double threat for a defense to account for. He can run inside, has great feet. He’s a dang good player.”

His success last season drew the interest of colleges, but Wicks made short work of his recruitment. A visit to Old Dominion (Norfolk, Va.) early in the summer sealed the deal. It was the only college visit he made.

“They were really the only school I considered,” he said. “I loved everything. The coaching staff, the visit to campus. I felt very comfortable, like I had been there all of my life."

With his first goal of earning a college scholarship achieved, Wicks and his teammates turn their attention to a much bigger goal this season. The Stags have moved up to Class AAAAA, a bigger challenge for sure, but Wicks feels this could be a special year.

“I want to win a state championship with my team,” he said. “We feel we have everything in place but we have to play to our potential. We know it won’t be easy but we are going to do all we can to make it happen. Winning games, that’s the top goal now.”

Berkeley opened the season Friday night with a 69-12 win over Wicks’ former team. He rushed for 143 yards and four touchdowns against Stall.

Lowcountry Football Top 10

1. Fort Dorchester

2. Berkeley

3. Summerville

4. First Baptist

5. Ashley Ridge

6. West Ashley

7. Stratford

8. Porter-Gaud

9. Oceanside Collegiate

10. Timberland