COVINGTON, Ga. — For Army, it appears that first was indeed best when it came down to landing the commitment of an Alcovy football senior.
Quindrelin Hammonds took to Twitter Sunday to declare his commitment to Army over The Citadel, later citing the fact that the military academy from West Point, NY got to him first was a key reason why he chose the Black Knights’ football program as the place to extend his career.
“Army was the first school that offered me at the end of my junior year,” Hammonds said. “And throughout the long process, the coaches continued to stay in touch to make sure I could be successful if I came to Army.”
Despite The Citadel’s overtures, it, at times, seemed destined for Hammonds to end up at Army. He sort of looked the part when, back in November, he was selected as the Atlanta Falcons’ Power Player Athlete of the Week — an honor that gave him the opportunity to run out on the field with the team and several service men, carrying an American flag.
Hammonds did receive solid recruiting attention from other mid-major and Division II schools, but he cited the natural camaraderie built during his visits with Army players and coaching staff as the thing that tipped the scales
“The Citadel and West Point are both great schools with great programs,” Hammonds said. “But what separated West Point from the other schools was the time I had with the other recruits from all parts of the country. And we created bonds with the Army football brotherhood.”
In Hammonds, Army will get a multi-faceted, all-around athlete who played a variety of positions at Alcovy, including quarterback, running back, defensive back and even some receiver. This past season, Hammonds spent most of his time helping anchor a stout Tigers secondary. He totaled 57 total tackles through nine games six for losses. He also had four pass break-ups.
Offensively he was the team’s second leading rusher with 350 yards and two touchdowns on 84 carries. He also spelled Cam Anderson at quarterback for a brief stint, completing 10 of 18 passes for 180 yards.
He was an integral part of coach Chris Edgar’s reclamation project of Alcovy football, and, Edgar says, an example to those players he'll leave behind.
"The thing that jumps off the page to me about Q is loyalty," Edgar said. "When some of his classmates jumped ship and transferred to other local schools when times were tough, Q stayed. He had opportunities, but he stayed. And as we were taking the infant steps of changing the culture of our team, he was the cornerstone."
Indeed, Hammonds acknowledges that playing for a rebuilding program wasn’t always easy, but he appreciates the lessons learned from it.
“Playing at Alcovy was definitely challenging, and throughout the years, I have learned that hard work really has no name, and it’s not easy to work hard when you can’t see instant results,” Hammonds said. “It led to many players and fans to split directions. But I’m grateful that the work I put in has finally paid off.
“I feel like playing here made me better, because it taught me how to deal with different adversity. I learned how to deal with tough losses and negativity from the community and fans. It also taught me to become a better man and focus on what’s important.”
What’s important now is Hammonds’ desire to continue getting his body bigger, stronger and faster for the rigors of Division I college football at a fairly successful program. Army is coming off a 10-3 season that climaxed with a 42-35 win over San Diego State in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl back on December 23.
It was both the second straight winning season and bowl victory under now-fifth-year head coach Jeff Monken. Hammonds said he’ll figure into Monken’s squad as a safety.
Hammonds was one of three Newton County football players to make college commitments over the weekend — something he says makes him proud, not just for himself, but for others across the county who are doing their part to prove that the area’s athletic talent is legit.
“I feel like Newton County breeds some of the best talent in the state of Georgia,” Hammonds said. “And we are only a small part of what’s to come.”