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A dozen GMC JUCO football players put their name on the dotted line

A dozen GMC JUCO football players put their name on the dotted line
By Matthew Caldwell – The Union-Recorder

Georgia Military College\’s junior college football team may have finished the season at 5-5, but that didn\’t stop some big time college football programs from recruiting the Bulldogs.

GMC had 10 players sign national letters of intent Wednesday morning to play football for four-year colleges in Division I, Division I-AA and a Division II national championship team.

GMC had the third-ranked defense among junior colleges in 2004, and 10 defensive players signed to play with different four-year colleges.

Larry Brown, an NJCAA All-American defensive lineman, is heading for the Big-12 to play for Oklahoma State. Brown had 26 tackles and seven tackles for lost yards and three sacks.

\”It was everything I expected and more,\” he said. \”It is a big campus and friendly people with a homey environment. I always dreamed of being on TV playing in front of a huge crowd. I am living a dream.\”

Brandon Isaac, another NJCAA All-American, chose to go to a Southeastern Conference school – the University of South Carolina. Isaac is a South Carolina native and said getting the chance to play for Steve Spurrier is a great opportunity.

\”He is one of the best college coaches out there, and this gives me a chance to show my talent,\” Isaac said. \”I wanted to go there from the start since South Carolina is home, and this gives my family an opportunity to support me and watch me play.\”

Isaac had 35 tackles in the 2004 season with one interception and two quarterback sacks. In his freshman season, he had 30 tackles, eight sacks and six interceptions. He was also named MVP of the 2004 Golden Isles Bowl.

Linebacker J.K. Sabb, an NJCAA All-American, will continue his football career at Middle Tennessee State University and is not very concerned with making the jump from junior college to Division I.

\”Football is football, it doesn\’t make a difference. But the competition will be much tougher, which means I am going to have to work harder,\” Sabb said. \”The program is on the rise and it is close to home and my family, which is a plus.\”

Sabb led GMC with 55 tackles in 2004, 14 of them were for a loss of yards. He had four sacks.

MTSU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference, as is Troy State University, which is where full safety Derick Pendergrass is headed. MTSU and Troy State meet each other in the final regular season game in Troy, Ala., on Nov. 19. Troy State is coming off its first trip to a bowl game – a loss in the Silicon Valley Classic.

Two other Bulldogs will transfer to Division I schools. Defensive lineman Mike Hill will play for the University of Toledo and wide receiver Aundrae Allison has already left for East Carolina University, a member of Conference USA. Allison signed in December and enrolled at ECU in January for the spring semester.

When the Pirates begin spring practice, Allison will be playing for Skip Holtz, the son of former South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz. Skip was named head coach for the Pirates in December. Allison had 70 receptions for 865 yards in his two seasons at GMC. In 2004, he hauled in five touchdown passes.

Cornerback Waymon Ford and outside lineman Calvin Huggins each decided to continue to play football for Valdosta State University, the reigning NCAA Division II national champions.

\”I wanted to go there after high school,\” Huggins said. \”I like the environment and the university and I am looking forward to their education program. Plus it is always good to go to a winning program and to have an opportunity to play for a national championship.\”

Linebacker LaMarcus Nero signed with Division II school Benedict College.

Two players are headed for Boiling Springs, N.C., home of the Division I-AA Gardner-Webb University Bulldogs – running back Bryan Wallace and outside lineman Jeff Hardy. Michael Sturgis has already enrolled with Division I-AA school Murray State University.

\”We felt like we did a good job of not only making them good football players, but making them good students and good people,\” said GMC assistant coach and offensive coordinator Jeff Tatum. \”Everyone here today will graduate from GMC, which is our No. 1 goal – to help them get an education.\”

Although the Bulldogs are losing 12 players to four-year colleges, 22 high school players signed letters of intent on Wednesday to play for GMC in the fall, including Washington County defensive back and return specialist Tyree Burnette. Burnette helped lead Washington County to the AAA state title game.