Scholar athlete: Trae Melton, Tate High School

School, practice, games, all student athletes have a lot on their plates, but not all of those athletes realize what they want to become in life after suffering a major setback.

Every high school football team has an identity.

This year, head Coach Jay Lindsey hopes the Tate Aggies bring it, without the brag.

"We're not a talkative group, we're not going to tell you how good we are," said Lindsey. "We hope we're going to show you that whenever we play."

Lindsey feels confident in his team's ability, especially with senior Trae Melton playing offensive tackle.

"He's a hard worker, he's very committed in what he does. His character is outstanding, and of course, he's a very smart kid," Lindsey said.

With a 3.9 GPA, smart can be an understatement.

Trae is taking on three AP classes this semester and four the next.

"It's pretty difficult, but I get through it," he said. "It'll all be worth it in the end, so it's good to put forth a little effort now for the accomplishments later."

Juggling class, homework, practice, and games isn't easy; plus, he's still recovering from an injury.

During a game last year, Trae tore his labrum and was given two options:

"He had the option that you can have surgery now or if you can play through the pain, we'll just have it in the off-season," said Lindsey. "And he did, he played 12 games for us with something torn in his shoulder so that speaks to his toughness."

Ironically, getting injured and playing through that pain was a good thing for Trae.

Now he knows he wants to pursue a career in physical therapy.

"This summer, I volunteered down there at the same physical therapy rehabilitation center I was at with my shoulder, so seeing all those guys working with other people, helping them rebuild themselves, getting them back to where they were, just bettering themselves, really sparked the interest," Trae said.

Lindsey knows that spark, and he's not surprised Trae wants to turn his love for football into a career.

"Being around athletics, people that have been around it their whole lives, it's hard to get away from it," Lindsey said. "Even when you become an adult, you always want to be involved."

In order to stay involved, bringing back the irony, Trae will hang up his jersey forever at the end of this season.

"I really want to keep bettering myself with working out and exercising and things like that," Trae said. "But I'd really like to focus on school and just make that my first priority."

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