This is the fourth and final installment of a multi-part series on 2012 Ohio running back Will Mahone and his mother, Celia. Click HERE to read Part I, HERE to read Part II and HERE to read Part III.
Austintown, Ohio running back Will Mahone has not made a final decision on his college destination, but he's getting close and that's just fine with his mother, Celia.
Mahone and his mother made a round of visits last month, capped with a stop at Notre Dame and that could be the final visit they take before announcing a commitment.
“At the moment, we don’t have any plans on going anywhere,” she said. “It gets to a point where everyone is in your ear; everyone is telling you what you should do. I just don’t want William to be overwhelmed. I am starting to be overwhelmed. I think he’s starting to understand the importance of him knowing what God wants for him and to go with it.
“It would not bother me one bit if he made a commitment and that was it. I don’t know what he’s going to decide or when. I would welcome the decision like yesterday.”
There are plenty of important people in William’s life with ideas about where he should go.
“He can’t be trying to please everyone else,” his mother said. “I just want him to keep that in mind. At the end of the day, I realize football is the avenue by which you’re getting your education, but your education is the most important thing. I don’t want him to go somewhere the degree doesn’t mean a whole lot. That’s what I want, but I also know that he has to make the final decision and if it’s a mistake, we all make them.”
Even if William doesn’t have the kind of success he hopes for on the gridiron, that won’t be how his mother evaluates his decision in the long run.
“Maybe that’s what God wanted,” she said. “Maybe He wanted you to learn something. I just know we have our ideas of how we want things to go and God has His.”
But Celia is confident that her son will make a good decision.
“I know that he’s listening to me,” she said. “He’s hearing what I’m saying and I know that he loves football, but we see kids graduating every day that can’t find work, so it seems to me you’d want to go somewhere the degree means something. I’m sure he listens and thinks things over.”
She encourages her son to go over her head if he needs to as well.
“I always tell William when he’s not sure or if he has questions, God will answer him,” she said. “‘Go in your room and talk to Him. He does talk. He answers.’”
But she also knows, from her own experiences, that mistakes can make you stronger.
“William knows all of my stories,” she said. “My biggest thing right now is that he understands his talents and abilities are from God and he needs to make sure he uses them for God.”
Celia has been extremely proud of the man her son is growing into, but added, “Trust me, he’s not a perfect kid. He’s done a lot of things normal teen-agers do.”
But William is still that same kid who looks out for others. At his mother’s request, he recently helped a fellow student out by getting others to stop bullying his classmate.
“William says, ‘Don’t worry about it,’” Celia said. “He didn’t want to discuss it with me, but apparently he said something.”
William doesn’t believe any attention is warranted.
“To be honest, when I did that kind of stuff, those kids were my friends,” he said. “It’s not fun to be bullied or anything like that. It’s not a good thing to see and that’s just the kind of person I am.”
Celia told her son about the arrogance of the athletes when she was at Fitch High School and made it clear she never wanted hear that about him.
“I don’t hear,” Celia said. “The teachers say William is pretty humble. They say he’s just a nice kid, really respectful and I’m like, ‘Yeah, he better be. I raised him to be that way.’”
Celia knows her son has learned from her mistakes, but that, together, their faith has been the biggest factor.
“I think the most important thing has been the importance of God, depending on Him and having faith in Him,” she said. “I think God has been the major difference in his life and I know He has been in mine.”
William gives the credit to God, but also to his mom.
“She’s meant everything,” he said. “She’s always been around, making sure I was doing the right thing. She’s pretty much everything.”
Celia has trouble expressing the feelings she has for her son and the position he’s put himself in.
“I can’t even tell you how proud I am,” she said. “I guess I’m kind of stunned.”
While he certainly feels blessed, William’s far from stunned.
“I always expected for something like this to happen,” he said. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but I always expected to play Division I football or basketball. I couldn’t imagine it going any other way.”
Now he just needs to figure out which way it’ll go next.