Whether it be on the football fields or the basketball courts, it’s hard to miss Carroll Academy’s Reese Fulton.
The rising junior, who stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 240 pounds, is a star for the Rebels on both the gridiron and the hardwood, making him the third player selected to The Winona Times/The Conservative Top 10 Players to Watch.
This is the third of 10 installments of the Top 10 Players to Watch for 2018. Each area high school head football coach was asked to nominate players for the honor. The players were chosen by the Winona Times/Conservative sports staff and will be revealed one week at a time. Jakob Welch of Winona High School was the first player to be announced, followed by Holland Ingram of Winona Christian.
Fulton draws praise from his coaches.
“He is 6-4 and not through growing,” Carroll football coach Bo Milton said. “He is as hard of a worker as you are going to find. He doesn’t mind sweat and playing in pain. He is very fiery. Sometimes you have to put that in check. But I would rather have a kid that is fiery that I have to reign in every now and then. Because he’s somebody that is emotional and he’s a kid that somebody should look at.”
Not only is Fulton tall and fierce, he also has a high tolerance for pain.
“He’s a hard-nosed kid, he won’t tell you if something is hurting,” Milton said. “He plays through pain. He got his bell rung pretty good at Centreville, and we had to take him out. He didn’t want to come out, and that’s the type of kid he is. He is going to play through pain. He’s just one of those good ones.”
Fulton has also played through two different knee injuries.
“I tore my MCL in my left knee in basketball, and the year before I tore my patella tendon in my right knee,” Fulton said. “I played through both of them in football and basketball because I didn’t want to miss out. I just got released from my left one so we are taking it easy, doing some knee exercises. There is a little pain but they are both feeling good.”
Milton said Fulton was forced to play offensive tackle last year but hopes to move him to tight end this season.
"He has got good hands and played tight end all of junior high,” Milton said. “I think he is going to be a weapon for us when we get down around the goal line. You get him coming across the field on bootlegs and things like that. I’m excited to have him back at tight end and being able to do some things with him because he is so athletic. You won’t have to teach him how to block down. That’s going to help. I feel good about running behind him and the line over there.”
Milton also believes that Fulton isn’t done growing yet.
“He has grown another inch since last year and has put on about 15 pounds,” Milton said. “He is not really going to fill out until he quits growing. A few years after he graduates high school, we’ll look at him and wish he could still play. His size and frame, you don’t know. I hope he continues to put on the weight. You would like to have a whole team full of kids like him.”
While the Rebels have struggled on the football field the last few years, Fulton hopes to lead Carroll back to the playoffs.
“I think we are going to do really well this year,” Fulton said. “I think we have players who really want to play and put their hand in the dirt and just try hard. We’ve got guys who want to show up and work hard in the weight room and not complain about it or talk about how hot it is. We have got to practice like we play and take pride in what we do. If you go against somebody who goes 50 percent, it’s going to be tougher when you play somebody that goes 100 percent.”
Despite playing on two bad knees, Fulton averaged a double-double in basketball, scoring 18 points a game and pulling down 14 rebounds a game.
“He’s the type of kid that he is going to give you everything he’s got,” Carroll boys basketball coach Tommy Acy said. “He led us as a sophomore and led us in points, averaged a double double and led us in blocked shot. He had one bad game and he had the flu that game. He was barely getting up and down the floor. He doesn’t want to come out of the game ever. He just always want to be on the floor or on the field, whatever he is playing.”
Acy said Fulton, who also works at the school during the summer, is finally starting to look healthy.
“He averaged a double-double with two bad knees,” Acy said. “I’m anxious to see what he offers with two good knees. He could dunk a little bit this past year on two bad knees. Once he gets healthy, he’s going to be hard to deal with. He’s the type of kid you want playing for you.”