With the new season officially kicking off this past weekend, here is a look at some of the former area standouts who have made the leap to the next level and are making contributions:
Adam Anderson, Georgia: The 6-foot-5 outside linebacker was a star recruit for Bulldog head coach Kirby Smart coming out of Rome High. The freshman got his first taste of playing in front of the crowd at Sanford Stadium on Saturday in a 45-0 rout of Austin Peay.
Anderson came in during the fourth quarter and had two tackles, the first of which was for a two-yard loss against Governor running back Tre Nation.
Ja’Quon Griffin, Ga. Tech: Anderson’s former Rome teammate got some playing time as well on Saturday as he came in on Georgia Tech’s defensive line in the fourth quarter of a 41-0 blowout of Alcorn State. Griffin had two tackles in his debut for the Jackets.
Desmond Johnson, Kenn. State: The Kennesaw State Owls suffered a heartbreaking 24-20 loss to Georgia State in their season opener last Thursday, but former Rome standout Johnson picked up where he left off. The two-time all-conference defensive end recorded five tackles, four of which were solo shots.
Elijah McKoy, Furman: McKoy, who was a preseason all-conference selection for the Paladins, has settled into his starting role at inside linebacker. The sophomore and Darlington alumnus led Furman against Clemson on Saturday with nine tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a pass breakup.
Bryson Lamboy, Berry: A captain and starter for the Vikings, former Coosa standout had five tackles off of the defensive line, including two tackles for a loss and getting in on a sack in Berry’s 38-3 win over Maryville.
Nemo Reddish, Shorter: The season started last Thursday night for the Hawks with a 66-9 loss to Division I Samford, but Rome High grad Reddish put in some work to get six tackles and force a fumble as a Shorter starting defensive back.
Tae Hammond, Univ. of the Cumberlands: Hammond has already found a spot in the Patriots’ linebacker corps in his first season. The former Pepperell standout had two tackles in Cumberlands’ season opener on Aug. 25 and added three more, including one for a loss, on Saturday in a 65-0 rout of Cincinnati Christian.
A few other local players made their collegiate debuts this past week, including Coosa graduate Chandler Hubbard at LaGrange College, and Rome High alumnus Trai Hodges at Southeast Missouri State. Former Rome offensive lineman Jackson Norton played in the University of Cumberlands’ first game.