Hamilton chooses UGA over 'Bama

Saturday, July 11, 2009 1:05 PM
Last updated 8:01 PM
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To further conceal a decision he had known for three weeks, Jakar Hamilton woke up Saturday morning and dressed in conservative black and white.

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Thurmond's Jakar Hamilton, right,  tries to elude Dillon's Damien Sowells during football action at Strom Thurmond High School Friday evening November 25, 2005.  Michael Holahan/staff
Michael Holahan/staff
Thurmond's Jakar Hamilton, right, tries to elude Dillon's Damien Sowells during football action at Strom Thurmond High School Friday evening November 25, 2005.

He arrived at Wild Wing Cafe on Washington Road for a ceremony to decide where he would play college football: Georgia or Alabama. With friends, family and onlookers focused on him in one corner of the restaurant, the former Strom Thurmond standout unbuttoned his vest to reveal a University of Georgia tie.

Someone handed him a red baseball cap, which he plopped on his head as a recording of the school’s fight song played in the background.

“I’m not going to let you down,” Hamilton said to a pocket of Bulldogs fans, who snapped cell-phone photos of the event and later asked him to sign autographs. “You won’t get another guy like me.”

Hamilton, 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, was an All-America defensive back last year at Georgia Military. He will play one more season at Georgia Military before enrolling in Athens in January and have two seasons of eligibility.

Hamilton played two seasons at Strom Thurmond, scoring 20 touchdowns during the school’s 2005 Class AAA championship year. He was hurt for most of 2006, which turned out to be his final season. He took enough credits to graduate from Strom Thurmond the following fall and enrolled at Georgia Military in the winter of 2008.

At Strom Thurmond he was known for his blazing speed, which the school’s coaching staff still talks about. The Rebels would line up for sprints after practice, and Hamilton would take off with incredible explosion.

“The spot he left behind, you could plant corn,” Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer said. “That’s explosion and power you don’t see every day.”

When he left Strom Thurmond, Hamilton was convinced he would matriculate to South Carolina after Georgia Military. But he said the Gamecocks offered him a scholarship this spring more than a week after Georgia and Alabama.

“They took time to offer,” Hamilton said in an interview earlier in the week. “Georgia is a bigger program that puts more players in the league. ... (Georgia) is not too close too home, but not too far away. My family needs to see me play.”

Tim Johnson, an Edgefield barber who mentors Hamilton through the area organization Choices LTD, organized Hamilton’s announcement at the restaurant. He said he wanted to use Hamilton as an example to at-risk kids in the area.

Hamilton said he told Georgia assistant coach Willie Martinez three weeks ago he would play for the Bulldogs, then kept the decision secret for nearly a month.

“He was so happy he wanted to kiss me,” Hamilton said, laughing.

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com.

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bone 07/11/09 - 07:14 pm
with jarrick williams

with jarrick williams commitment and keenan allen looming, hamilton saw the writing on the wall and realized the 'Tide would likely not need him. good choice and a timely decision on hamilton's part.

YellowHammer 07/11/09 - 07:53 pm
With only 2 years of

With only 2 years of eligibility, I really don't see any way he would have gotten to play any at Bama. Bama is L-O-A-D-E-D with DB's with more in the pipeline. I agree, he made the best choice for his circumstances. If he'd had all his eligibility, I'd be singing a different tune.

americafirst 07/11/09 - 08:46 pm
Your assumption is that he

Your assumption is that he otherwise would have chosen Bama. I see no reason for such an assumption.

bone 07/11/09 - 09:28 pm
actually, we're assuming he's

actually, we're assuming he's intelligent for not choosing Bama; are you arguing that he should gone with the option that would have forced him to grapple for playing time behind more skilled players with only 2 years of eligibility? he'll likely get some playing time next year with georgia, which is nothing to sneeze at.

justus4 07/12/09 - 05:09 am
If given the choice, the guy

If given the choice, the guy should've went to Bama. His skills need to be tested with the best DBs and not resigned to programs where he is comfortable. He gotta get with the best players and that will increase his game skills and posibly learn some life skills in the process.

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