For Tremel States-Jones, football was always about one thing: getting an education.
Now, after being awarded an athletic scholarship to a division one school in the U.S., the former Lord Tweedsmuir Panther can check that box.
Tremel was offered 10 football scholarships in total and the 6’0, 190 lb senior ultimately decided to verbally commit to the South Alabama Jaguars.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Marla States, Tremel’s mom, told the Cloverdale Reporter from her home in Surrey. “I’m so happy for him. He’s worked so hard in his football career and has overcome many obstacles to get to where he is now.”
One of those obstacles included a terrible coach when he was just starting out in football.
“A coach turned on him once,” said Marla. “The coach was pretty bitter and it had a negative impact on Tremel.”
She said Tremel was able to eventually turn that negativity around and use it for motivation. In turn, it enabled him to enhance his play as he bettered himself both on and off the field.
“He’s not a natural athlete, so he works harder than others,” explained Marla.
Tremel was a standout running back, and all-round player, in his time with Tweedy.
As a Grade 11, he tore up local football fields in 2019, racking up 679 yards on 96 carries, and scoring eight TDs. He averaged 7.07 yards per carry, which was only 0.02 average yards per carry behind the Panthers’ team leader, senior Noah Anderson ( 7.09), now a Manitoba Bison.
Tremel’s other 2019 stats were impressive too. As a star Panther, he played both sides of the ball and special teams. He had 59 tackles over 13 games, third most on the team. He also led the 2019 Panthers in interceptions (3 for 95 yards) and fumble recoveries (3). And he led the team in kick off returns (9), scoring two TDs.
Kurt Thornton was Tremel’s head coach in 2019. He said he’s not surprised Tremel landed a div-1 football scholarship.
“It’s great for him,” Thornton said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete and he had a real solid Grade 11 season for us.”
Thornton said Tremel made some unbelievable, highlight-reel plays for Tweedy in 2019. He added Tremel consistently delivered in all three phases of the game.
“He was a solid running back, he was great on defense—one of our best players, and he returned kicks. He’s a really good football player and he’s a really good student.”
Thornton said he’ll be paying a little more attention to South Alabama next year.
“I pay attention to what he’s doing. He’s a good kid. Respectful. He trains hard. I have a lot of respect for that kid and how he plays the game. I’m glad he’s successful. He’ll enjoy success wherever he goes.”
After Tremel’s incredible 2019 season, Marla said they made a decision to enroll at Clearwater Academy International, a high school in Florida. But before Tremel arrived there, it was decided that he’d repeat Grade 11 in the U.S.
“We wanted him to have two years of football in the U.S. high school system,” Marla said. “They call it reclassifying and we wanted to do it to improve his chances of getting a scholarship.”
So that means Tremel will play with the Clearwater Knights again this fall, this time as a senior, before joining South Alabama in 2022. It also means after his verbal commitment, he will sign with South Alabama Dec. 15 to make it official.
“It’s an early commitment, but it’s not abnormal,” added Marla.
South Alabama, located in Mobile, plays in the 12-member Sun Belt Conference and competes in NCAA Division I (FBS), the highest level of college football in the U.S.
Marla said Tremel thought long and hard about choosing South Alabama.
“We had a good conversation about it,” she said. “He felt that was where he was meant to be.”
Tremel committed to the Jags one day after Kelowna’s Caeleb Schlachter, a fellow Clearwater Knight, also committed to play for the team in 2022.
“Out of all the schools that gave offers, he feels the most comfortable with South Alabama. He got a great feeling from the coach and he said, ‘Mom, I trust him.’”
Marla, a massive football fan herself, has been instrumental in helping Tremel along his career path. In addition to encouraging him as his love for football grew, she drove him to Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue, Wash., every weekend for three years so Tremel could play on a travelling 7v7 football team to improve his play and increase his exposure in the U.S.
And so it was no surprise that when Tremel said he was leaning toward South ‘Bama, Marla called coach Kane Wommack to talk about her son and the Jags’ program.
“He told me they loved his character and his personality and that he’d be a great fit with the team.”
After their conversation Marla called Tremel and he great about making the commitment.
“He was so excited. He couldn’t contain himself and he couldn’t sleep at all the night before,” she recalled.
That commitment was announced via Twitter.
— Tremel Tremel (@mel2fast_5) August 10, 2021
Now Marla hopes the scholarship will allow Tremel to continue to grow as a person, a student, and as a football player.
“He knows education comes first,” explained Marla. “His goal was to use his talents to get his education paid for. Goal one: done. Goal two: he wants to play football as best as he can and try to make it to the next level. But it’s all a bonus from here.”
Tremel’s Panthers made the Subway Bowl playoffs in 2019 after a great season, ultimately losing to Vancouver College in the final. Marla said she sometimes thinks about what might have been, had Tremel and Tweedy been able to tear up the turf again in 2020. “It would’ve been a great season for sure,” she said. “If that team would have stayed together, I think they would have won it all.”
She said even though Tremel was in Grade 11 at the time, he was still a team leader on the Panthers. “Everyone looked up to him on that team [in 2019], even the older kids looked up to him. He rallies people. He encourages them.”
After finally settling in Florida, and after the 2020 season finally kicked off, Marla said Tremel had a great season at Clearwater. He had to get over some early culture shock and a slight shoulder injury, which sidelined him for one game early in the season. But after recovery, he played well enough for the Clearwater Knights to garner 10 scholarship offers.
She said this year he’s a team captain for the Knights. He’s also playing both sides of the ball—getting some reps at running back and playing cornerback.
“He’s a very mature and dedicated kid, so I’m not surprised he’s a captain there too,” Marla said. “His work ethic has always spoken for itself.”
Marla said she’s looking forward to football this fall and, of course, the 2022 college football season.
“I’m excited for him. I look forward to seeing him play and to seeing what his future holds.”