Farley Ready For Receiver
After playing soccer his entire life, Farley decided to trade in his Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) soccer uniform for Charlotte Christian football gear before his junior season.
Farley suffered through a pair of losing seasons as a freshman and sophomore soccer player while he watched the football team go to a pair of state title games, winning one.
“The football team was up-and-coming and having a lot of success and the soccer team, you’d be lucky if both of your parents came to the game,” he said. “There were a lot of variables.”
The football coaches at Charlotte Christian had always been in his ear about giving the sport a try, especially former NFL defensive back Eugene Robinson.
“That was a huge thing, being able to work under him and learn from a guy who played in the league for 16 years and has so much more knowledge than the average high school football coach,” Farley said of Robinson.
Farley decided to go out for football as a junior with the option of returning to the soccer pitch for his final season of high school. Success didn’t come immediately, but Farley never got back on the high school pitch.
“Around this time my junior year, I was absolutely terrible,” Farley admitted. “I thought I was going to walk in there and pick it up really fast.”
A natural athlete, who had picked up baseball, basketball and soccer quickly, Farley almost turned in his football helmet before being convinced by his family and teammates to stick with the game. “There was so much help behind me that it made the transition a lot easier,” he said.
Success may not have been immediate, but it did come relatively quickly. After struggling through summer workouts, Farley finally found some success during a 7-on-7 tournament at South Carolina and by the time the season rolled around, he was ready to break out for real.
“The first play of the first game, the first snap I ever played in, I caught a 65-yard touchdown,” he said. “If that hadn’t happened, I don’t know if I’d be having this conversation. That gave me so much confidence.
“I ended up having three touchdowns that game, a pick and a couple of big hits. That got everything going. The encouragement from my teammates and coaches made everything a lot easier.”
Farley ended up with offers from a host of BCS football programs before committing to Notre Dame as a defensive back. He was all set to line up in the defensive huddle at South Bend until a call from his recruiter, Mike Elston, a couple weeks ago.
“They reevaluated after spring ball and decided I would be more valuable to the team if I played slot receiver or receiver period,” Farley said. “I don’t know if it’s in the slot or outside yet for sure. Being so young to the game still, it’s not like I’m so set at one position. Whatever they feel I can contribute the most to. I’m real excited about it.
“I’m still doing the same workout stuff. I started doing a lot more running routes and catching to get back acclimated with that. I play both sides with the same mindset, so it’s not like I have to change a whole bunch of stuff.”
Farley believes some of the secondary drills, like jamming receivers will benefit him on offense as he tries to beat jams. “The only difference is I’ll be coming from the other side of the ball,” he said.
He actually believes his instincts will serve him better on offense than defense.
“I’m still going to have a learning curve, but I feel like I understand the game pretty well,” he said. “On offense, you know where you’re supposed to go. I’m naturally better at offense, seeing the field and knowing when to break a route off or make it a little longer.”
He’s also excited about the little things he’ll be asked to do on offense.
“Blocking is my favorite thing,” he said. “I would much rather take somebody’s head off on a peel-back block than hitting somebody on defense. I like hitting people on defense too, but you’re supposed to hit somebody hard on defense. On offense, when you come back and make that block to hold the corner off or whatever it is, that gets the crowd going crazy.
“On top of that, you get to score touchdowns, which nobody is opposed to. I feel like if you play college football at Notre Dame, you’re going to be in the spotlight regardless. It’s a fun position. There’s never really a dull moment and you get to be involved in every play whether it’s blocking or being a decoy route. I love the mental aspect of it.”
Farley believes his lack of experience in the sport will actually make the move easier.
“I’m kind of like a blank slate and I feel like the coaches are excited about it too because they know I can be molded into whatever they need me to be molded into,” he said.
Now, he’ll be molded into a receiver.