Garrett Walston joked that he had to make his money in the new home of his brother, Arizona Diamondbacks promising baseball player Blake Walston.
Now he will try to do it outside the yard.
Last weekend, the two brothers got good news in their search for professional athletes.
Garrett, who finished high school in New Hanover in 2016 and the UNC bench, was selected as a free agent without a draft by the San Francisco 49ers after the 2022 NFL Draft. Blake, chosen by Arizona in the first round of New Hanover 2019, was promoted to Double-A Amarillo and started first over the weekend.
“It was great to just follow each other’s paths,” Garrett said. “This is what we dreamed of when we were younger and what we worked hard for.”
After Blake bought a house in Wilmington, Garrett said he stayed there, clearing trees and maintaining it while his younger brother headed west. They almost always talk on the phone after every Blake start, and Saturday was no different.
Only this time both brothers had big news.
From the StarNews archive:
He said, ‘Did you see what I did?’ And he was in my house cutting down trees for me. So I thought, ‘No, man, what happened, did you get hurt or something?’ Blake said. ‘He says,’ No, I was signed by the 49ers. ‘
“It was super exciting, I screamed. I was happier for him than for myself. ”
For Blake, returning to High-A Hillsboro (Ore.) For early 2022 was not what he wanted, but it may have been what he needed. After using spring training to fix some throwing mechanics, he returned to the West Coast, but only with a handful of clothes.
Internal motivation succeeded and he left Oregon for Texas after his best start to the season: 5 substitutions, 2 conceded goals and 10 rebounds.
“I didn’t even take out my truck,” he said. “I just went to work, I felt like. And it paid off. ”
After 47 career receptions, 534 yards and five touchdowns with Tar Heels, Garrett was marked as a possible pick in the late round of the NFL and was contacted by several teams leading the weekend. When the draft was almost over, his agent called him and said, “Are you ready to be a 49er?”
“I had a feeling I was going to go there,” he said.
Garrett leaves for the Bay Area on Thursday, followed by a rookie camp. He has an iPad full of books from San Francisco and the knowledge of former teammates from UNC about what to expect.
Both brothers said their frequent phone calls were not just about sports; share an interest in hunting and fishing and life here in Wilmington. But they will talk about their dreams for as long as they can.
“I think part of that is what we are as human beings, and for him he always kept his head up and he was always a really good brother,” Blake said. “It’s motivation, and his work ethic has proven that he deserves this opportunity. I don’t think he will go there and let it fail. ”
Dan Spears is sports editor for Wilmington StarNews, and Southeast Regional sports editor for USA TODAY Network. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @DanSpears.