With Dean Legge; Video, photos and production by Dean Legge
STORY: Chad Simmons, Scout.com
2008 Junior College All-American Jakar Hamilton announced his decision on Saturday and he is now committed to the University of Georgia. He chose the Bulldogs over Alabama and he goes into depth why right here. “Both Alabama and Georgia are great schools, they both have great tradition, they both send guys to the NFL, both have great coaches, and both are strong in academics, but I just had a little better connection with the coaches at Georgia than I did Alabama’s,” said Jakar Hamilton.
“I liked the coaches at Alabama too and talking to Nick Saban was great, but Mark Richt and Coach [Willie] Martinez were guys I just got along with great. I grew up without a father in my life and those two seemed like they could be that guy for me at Georgia. They made me feel like family when I was there, I connected with them immediately, my mom loves them, and I know Georgia is the right place for me.”
The 6-foot-2, 195 pound safety visited Athens and Tuscaloosa in June and it was after that visit to Alabama that he started to feel UGA was the school for him.
“I really liked the Georgia visit the week before I visited Alabama, so I was high on Georgia already, but after I got back from Alabama and talked with my family about each school, you could say I really started leaning towards Georgia.”
“My family lives in Johnston, S.C., so they will be able to see me play at Georgia easily and that put Georgia high on my list too. That played into it some, but in my heart after talking about both visits with those close to me, I felt in my heart that Georgia was the perfect fit for me.”
As you can see, family is very important to Hamilton. He wants his love ones to b near him and be able to share in his experience, so that feeling he got from Coach Richt and Coach Martinez went a long way.
“The coaches are Georgia are great people,” he said. “Coach Richt is a Christian man and it is great to be playing for a coach that goes to church, that prays, that cares about his players, and that believes the way I believe. We both thank God for everything we have and we know God puts us into these positions to do good things. Coach Richt is just like a regular guy, he is easy to talk to, and he is a great man.”
“I feel the same way about Coach Martinez too. He is the coach I will b playing for in the secondary and I like how he is a straight shooter. Whatever he tells his players is what they will get. He is honest, he does not tell people what they want to hear, and I know he is going to push me. I really like how energetic he is, I like he is about getting to know me and my family personally and not as a football player, and I think he can do some good things with me.”
Hamilton also knows playing immediately for Coach Martinez will not be easy. The Milledgeville, Ga. – Georgia Military College star is ready for the challenge.
“Georgia has made it clear to me that they will not be giving me or any other players anything. Just because I have played junior college football and others are out of high school does not mean I will be given the job. I am ready to go to work there, learn the position they want me to play, and make a difference on the field. I think playing against these great players in JUCO will help me, but I am going to go into Athens and earn a starting spot.”
The Dawgs have a couple of other safeties on their commitment list including Marc Deas out of Florida and Alec Ogletree out of Georgia. Ogletree is the number two safety in the country and the highest rated commitment on UGA’s list, but that does not scare Hamilton.
“I am excited about Ogletree coming in with me,” the Hitman said with excitement. “Georgia coaches talked with me about him as soon as he committed and I think it is great. They could out me at free safety and him at strong safety and we could be a great pair. I look forward to playing with him and I think we will have a very strong secondary.”
As a freshman at GMC, Hamilton racked up 86 tackles and 8 interceptions for head coach Bert Williams. He has been timed in the 40 yard dash below 4.3 seconds in the past and that speed is just one thing he will take with him to Athens.
“I have a lot of speed back there and I think the coaches saw that when they first saw me. I can run good, I love to hit, and I am still getting better at safety every day. I really like to watch Sean Taylor on film before games and practices because I loved how he played the game. I try to learn what I can from his film. I watch how he reads plays, how he hits, how he covers, and things like that. He was in the spotlight at Miami before the NFL and I am ready for that spotlight at Georgia. I have been in the spotlight my whole life when playing football and I am ready to be there on the next level now.”
He will get that chance to be in the spotlight come January 2010. Hamilton is scheduled to graduate GMC in December 2009 and then enroll at Georgia that next month.
Even though he is excited about being part of Coach Richt’s program, he has not forgotten about the school he is at now. He has some unfinished business there before his life in Athens begins.
“I am really looking forward to UGA, but I want to win a ring at GMC first. I have already pictured myself playing at Georgia many times, but I am focused on GMC football, taking care of my academics here, and doing whatever I can to make people around me here better first.”
“I am taking things one step at a time and I have recruiting behind me, so I am now focused on Georgia Military College. One we win the championship at GMC and I graduate in December, then I will be all Georgia Bulldog.”