Valdosta High’s Jay Rome, ranked as the nation’s No. 1 tight end by several recruiting services, signed a football scholarship with Georgia.
After Rome’s performance on the grand stage of the Class AAAAA semifinals at Gwinnett Arena on Thursday, one person suggested that Rome consider playing basketball at UGA, too.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Rome had 33 points in a 70-61 loss to Norcross after going scoreless in the first quarter.
Norcross coach Jesse McMillan told the AJC’s Todd Holcomb: “He’s one of the top five post players in the state, and not a lot of people know him except for football. He’s a rare big guy with size and ability. Mark Fox [Georgia’s basketball coach] should take a look at him.”
What about Rome? Is he interested in playing basketball at UGA? Maybe.
“Jay has given it some serious thought, but he has not made a concrete decision on that yet,” his mother, LaVerne Rome, told the AJC on Friday afternoon. She is the District Parent Involvement Coordinator for Lowndes County Schools.
Playing two sports in college did not factor into Rome’s decision to sign a football scholarship with UGA, according to his mother. However, he did float the idea with UGA tight ends coach John Lilly during the recruiting process.
“I know he mentioned it to Coach Lilly,” she said. “They didn’t talk about much in detail, other than Jay saying that he may like to try it. I’m not sure Jay ever mentioned it to [Mark Richt] or the rest of the Georgia coaches.”
What about now? After turning in a senior season of basketball worthy of All-State consideration, will Rome approach Georgia’s coaches now? “I have concerns about Jay playing both sports; I don’t want him to overdo it,” his mother said. “I know he has a love for football, and I know he has a love for basketball as well. It’s just that as a mother, I think that’s taking on a lot as a freshman in college.
“The first year of college can be a challenging transition for anyone. We don’t want to compromise his academics by overdoing it in athletics. What we will do is talk about it and pray about it as a family. Then if Jay wants to give basketball a try, we’d speak with Georgia’s football coaches to see how they feel about it and go from there.”
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