Some of Atlanta’s college football prospects will be writing a weekly diary for the AJC until February’s signing day. They will be sharing their thoughts, opinions, adventures and perspectives on the recruiting journey.
Rashard Fant is considered one of the state’s top sleeper prospects. He has been overlooked by many colleges because he attends the small private school of Our Lady of Mercy. However, he has impressed enough as an “athlete” to earn early college football scholarship offers from Florida State, Utah, Ole Miss and Kentucky, among others. Many other colleges will be evaluating him as a senior.
The year 2012 has been quite a rollercoaster for me with football. I came into the year with zero college football scholarship offers, and I went into the spring with zero offers as well. During spring practice, I had more than 50 college coaches come to my school to visit me. I left spring with one offer, from Western Kentucky. During this summer, I caught the eye of a few other colleges; Now I have 8 total college offers from the following schools: Utah, Kentucky, Florida State, Ole Miss, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky and Penn.
This summer, I took unofficial visits to a few different colleges, some of which I attended camp also. I started off the summer attending camps at Auburn, Clemson and Wake Forest. I was told I did really well at all three of them. Although I do not have an offer from any of the three, I know they are still keeping an eye on me. After those camps, I attended Florida State’s camp and I performed at a high level, which earned me a spot on the front of one of the FSU recruiting websites. The article title was “Fant Steals the Show.” I visited Florida State about a month before the camp, and I loved the Tallahassee area; the community is great and really supportive of the athletic teams and the school. Florida State was everything I thought it would be. In July, I went to South Carolina, Ole Miss, Western Kentucky and Kentucky. My visits this summer were all really great experiences. I had lots of fun at the camps and taking tours of the campuses. The best part about visiting schools is just being able to travel to places you might not have been to before, and just being able to get a great experience and get a feel for the environment.
The schools I wanted to visit but did not get the chance were Utah, Penn and Middle Tennessee State. I wanted to visit Utah because they are in my top five, and I want to see what the Salt Lake City area is like. I will be taking an official visit to Utah on Oct. 4 to see their game against Southern Cal. I wanted to visit Penn to be able to see what the area was like and what they could offer me athletically, since I already know their academics are top notch.
My parents feel that the recruiting process is really a blessing because not every football player gets to experience it. They realize that there will be ups and downs in this process, but they just always tell me to stay focused on school, get better every single time I step on a field or work out in the weight room, and that everything will fall in place. My parents are just real positive about the whole recruiting process. No matter what, they just want me to end up at a good college that I feel is right for me, and that they feel comfortable with. They believe God has already worked it out for me.
I decided to attend the private school Our Lady of Mercy mainly because of the academic advantage it would give me over a lot of high school athletes around the U.S., and also, because of the challenge and benefits it would provide for me in the long run. Coming from a small school, recruiting is a little bit harder, especially coming from one that did not become big on football until my sophomore year. Coming from a smaller school, college coaches always question the competition, not always understanding that just because I play in a lower classification, there are still plenty of talented football players I compete against. Before my recruiting process began, the most colleges we had come to our school was two. This past spring, we had over 55 different college coaches to visit Our Lady of Mercy. Being from a smaller school, I really had to make sure I sent emails to the colleges, and do a lot of things on my own, at least more than kids at bigger schools would have to do. I had to make sure colleges knew that there is a serious football player at this small school in Fayetteville, Ga., and let them know that I was interested. Also, I have to prove myself to colleges much more than the players at the AAA, AAAA, AAAAA and AAAAAA schools have to, especially when I went to the college camps.
Going into my senior year with a few Div. I scholarships definitely takes some pressure off me and allows me to be able to focus more on my team. It also allows me to focus on just getting better and helping my teammates get better, too. Although it takes the pressure off, it still makes me motivated to get better and do better and to make sure that other colleges have no choice but to notice me. Regardless of how many offers I have, I still play with a chip on my shoulder because I know not everybody out there believes I am as good as people might say I am. So, I plan to just step on that field each day and make sure I leave no doubt.
I am being recruited by most colleges as an “athlete.” They know I can play corner, receiver, slot and quarterback (in the Wildcat package). Being recruited as an athlete is pretty good because colleges know that I can play more than one position. Also, it helps them because they know that I can make an impact on both sides of the ball. I am not committed to any college at the moment. I am going to take my time in the recruiting process and just focus on getting better and having a great senior season. I am not in any rush to make a decision on what college I will sign with. I will make my decision when I feel that I have found the right school for me both academically and athletically.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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