An Atlanta sports publication is reporting today that Elijah Staley, Wheeler High School's starting quarterback, has been dismissed from the football team.
Staley, a senior who this summer pledged to play collegiately at Mississippi State University, was benched at halftime of Wheeler's 38-9 loss to Milton on Friday, according to Score Atlanta.
The story said Staley was benched after playing poorly in the first half, and that he had an argument with coach Mike Collins.
After starting the season 2-0, Wheeler has lost three games in a row, and will play at home this Friday against Roswell.
Score Atlanta also reported that Staley's family members had been critical of Collins on social media.
Staley, an active user of Twitter, hasn't taken to the platform to comment on his dismissal. But around 9 a.m. this morning he retweeted another Twitter user, @sharon0121, whose identity is not clear in her profile other than the handle MOM 1ST:
To everyone who is asking about @ES14_ not being on the Wheeler football team, it's true. Coach dismissed Elijah from the team.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger quoted Norman Campbell, Staley's father, as saying there's a "99 percent chance" his son would graduate early and enroll at Mississippi State in January.
Staley Tweeted this shortly after 5 p.m. today:
Once again S/o to #hailstate ! I love y'all! Can't wait to get down there hopefully in January and join my other family !
If that is the case, then that would be the end of Staley's successful two-sport career at Wheeler.
Last year Staley, a 6-foot-7 basketball forward, was an all-state performer as the Wildcats reached the Class 6A semifinals, where they lost to Cobb rival Hillgrove.
After committing to Vanderbilt to play football this spring, Staley changed his mind and chose Mississippi State, saying he would be able to play both sports there.
We're working to get reaction from Collins and Wheeler officials and will update this story with more information when it becomes available.