Quarterback Synjyn Days was already motivated about showing up at Georgia Tech this summer and starting his college football career. Then news broke that backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw was leaving the Yellow Jackets to transfer to Georgia Southern.
Days immediately knew what that meant.
“I’m working out twice as hard because I know chances are I could be competing for second string or possibly even starting,” said Days, a 2010 signee from Hillgrove High in Powder Springs. “I’m going to try to get the No. 1 spot; that’s my goal. So the sky’s the limit right now.”
Days is not delusional. He knows rising senior Josh Nesbitt is the undisputed starter and leader of the Yellow Jackets’ offense. He’s aware that there are capable, more experienced backups are already on the roster. Redshirt freshmen Jordan Luallen and David Sims and sophomore Tevin Washington have been anxiously awaiting their chances to show their stuff.
But the mere possibility that he could be an injury or two from playing time has stoked Days’ competitive fires.
“It’s very exciting,” said Days, who chose the Jackets over Oklahoma State. “It’s all God’s will, but it’s pretty exciting. All I can do is be ready and I’m doing everything I can so I can be.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Days ran the triple option at Hillgrove, accounting for 105 touchdowns, 75 rushing and 30 passing. He works with his quarterbacks coach at Hillgrove, Ron Zeal, several times a week. Zeal played quarterback for Arizona in college.
Meanwhile, Days continues to work out in the weight room with the Hillgrove football team in the mornings and runs track in the afternoons.
Days is one of the Hawks’ leading sprinters. He competes in the 100, 200, 400, 4×100, 4×400 and long jump. That’s a tremendous workload for even the most highly-conditioned athletes.
“I usually don’t even cramp up,” Days said. “It just feels like a normal day of work for me.”
Throw on top of that the fact that Days also has a part-time job — he works at a local Publix as a bagger — and it’s evident that Days is not cruising through his last semester in high school.
“It can be pretty interesting trying to manage a job, school, track and doing the football thing on the side,” Days said. “It’s just life. It will help me out in the long run in college. I’m going to be out on my own pretty soon and be able to do what I want. It’s helping me become discipline and become a man pretty much.”
Days is also spending time as a recruiter for the Yellow Jackets. His younger brother Jabari Hunt-Days, a rising senior for the Hawks, is a fast-rising college prospect as a linebacker. And teammate Kadetrix Marcus is also a Division I prospect as a defensive back.
Days really likes to talk up his “little” brother.
“He’s 6-3, 230, a big guy, a strong guy,” Days said. “He squats over 500 pounds, benches well over 300. He’s fast; runs like a 4.6 40. He’s actually on our 4×100 team. That just shows his athleticism.”
Of course, Days wants his brother to follow him to The Flats. But so far the Jackets have not offered.
“He’s got to find out what’s best for him; I’ve already found out what’s best for me,” Days said. “It doesn’t matter what college he goes to because I’m going to support him no matter what”
Even Georgia, which is starting to show Hunt-Days some interest?
“Well, I wouldn’t want him to,” Days said with a laugh, “but he’s my brother so I’d have to support him.”