FORSYTH — Jadareius Hamlin never saw this day coming when he was a youngster. A self-described "lazy, fat kid" who really did not take sports seriously until the ninth grade, he never would have seen himself signing a Division I scholarship to Middle Tennessee State.
What happened was simple. After growing up in Macon, Hamlin moved in with his aunt, who lived in Forsyth.
"That was pretty much it," Hamlin said. " When i moved in with my aunt, she pretty much told me that I wouldn't be laying around the house. She gave me a choice of getting in the school band or playing a sport. I chose football and with the help my coaches, I realized I could be good."
A growth spurt never hurts either. Hamlin is now 6-3 and weighs 250 pounds. He narrowed his choices to MTSU, Troy and UAB before making his choice to head north.
"I had a great visit there," Hamlin said of MTSU. "All of the players were really supportive and acted like they wanted me to be a part of their program. I think that's what sold me on MTSU."
Hamlin is projected as a defensive end in college and believes he will have the chance to play if he works hard enough.
"The coaches said it would be up to me," he said. "They told me if I worked hard enough I could get playing time early, and that I could always redshirt if I needed to. I am really looking foward to getting started."
For Chris Bowden, a wide receiver, the choice came down to what kind of offense he wanted to play in at the next level.
That's why Wingate won out. Bowden, also a basketball player who averages around 18 points per game, chose Wingate over Tuskegee and Tusculum.
"They run the spread, and I think that's a great fit for my skills,"
Bowden said. "I liked their campus when I visited, and I feel like I will have a chance to play quickly.
Devarick Jones, who will probably play defensive end in college, chose Tuskegee over Carson Newman and Fort Valley State.
"I liked my visit a lot, and I love their tradition of winning," he said. "They have won 30 games in a row. They offered me what I wanted, and I know that if I get there and work hard, I can play early. I just felt like it was the best fit for me, and it's close enough to home that my family can see me play.
Devin Chambliss did not decide where he was going to college until (Tuesday) night. Chambliss who played guard in high school, is projected as a center in college.
"I was torn between GMC and Shorter," he said. "In the end, I trusted the people close to me and chose GMC. I think I can benefit from the discipline and the academics their, and then see where I can go after my two years. I never thought I would have the chance to play in college so I am definitely excited."