FORSYTH -- It only took G.J. Howland one trip to Colorado Springs, Col., to figure out where he wanted to go to college.
And when the Air Force Academy made him an offer, the recruiting experience was all but over.
Howland made it official Wednesday morning when he signed with the Falcons, and then he got to sit and watch teammates Taylor Williams (Wingate) and Jay Beckham (Fort Valley State).
“It’s really a dream come true,” said Howland, a 6-foot-8 tight end. “I didn’t really think I could play college football until about a year ago and to end up at Air Force Academy makes it even better. I went to a football camp there and was just amazed by the landscape and the tradition of the school.”
Howland, who is known as a blocking tight end, knows that he has a lot of work to do to be a quality college football player.
“I am sure I am going to have to get a lot stronger and bigger,” said Howland, who weighs in at 225 pounds. “I didn’t run a whole lot of routes my senior year because we had so many good running backs, but I am going to work hard and try to be someone who can catch the ball also. It’s just a great opportunity for me, and I plan on making the most of it.”
For Williams it has been a busy few days. He visited Wingate for the first time only last week.
“I went on a visit and loved the coaches,” said Williams a quarterback, who missed much of his senior season due to a broken collarbone. “They made an offer while I was on campus ... but they called Monday night with a better offer, so my family, and I felt it was too good to turn down. I am very excited because Wingate is a great academic school as well as a football school. They run the spread offense, and the coach told me they were recruiting me to be a thrower. That just really made my decision a lot easier because I think that fits my strengths. “
Beckham, a 320-pound guard, says he chose Fort Valley State for many reasons.
“I loved my visit, and the coaches let me know that I would have a chance to play early, which is something I want to do,” Beckham said. “The chance to play so close to home where all my friends and family can come see me play was also a big reason. I have been looking forward to this day for a long time, and I am very pleased with how things worked out.”
Mary Persons head coach Rodney Walker said signing day is always special .
“It’s one of my favorite days of the year, said Walker, who says he has seen more than 100 of his players sign scholarships in his 43 years of coaching. “Out of all the players I have coached, I think I have had only four make it to the NFL, so the day they make their choice where to attend college is the most important day of their lives. They get to play a game they love and get an education. “