COVINGTON, Ga. — There was a time when Gavin Fletcher and college football didn’t seem to go together — at least not in Fletcher’s mind.
It’s not that the 6-foot, 230-pound linemen didn’t want to extend his football playing career beyond high school. But as the conclusion of his playing days at Alcovy came near and offers weren’t coming, he became less optimistic and more cognizant of the things recruiters may have considered to be strikes against him.
“I didn’t think colleges wanted me because of my height and because I didn’t have good test scores and I just thought it would be hard to go to college,” Fletcher said. “So I kind of gave up at one point.”
That changed when Fletcher’s first offer came in. It was from Birmingham Southern, and it was just the shot in the arm his confidence needed.
“As soon as I got my first offer, they just started to roll in, and from there I knew I had the talent to play college ball,” he said.
That’s why when Fletcher took to Twitter Sunday night to share that he’d committed to Sterling College (Kansas), it wasn’t just a dream come true, but a weight lifted off his shoulders.
And the fact that he had options made it even sweeter. Ultimately, Sterling just felt right.
“It was just a good environment for me to be in,” he said. “The coaches loved my highlight tape and loved me as a person. The defensive coordinator told me that I have that fire that he doesn’t see in most players, and that I could be a dominant defensive linemen up there. Most of all, I want to go up there because the whole community is behind your back and is willing to support you in any type of way.”
It didn’t hurt that Fletcher has family in Kansas.
“I’m close to some of my family in Kansas, so it makes it easier for me to see them more often,” he said.
Fletcher was one of several linemen who played on both sides of the ball for Alcovy. Offensively, he was named first-team All-Region 3-AAAAAA as a tackle, but on defense he was equally effective, registering 39 total tackles, five for losses and two quarterback sacks.
Fletcher picked Sterling over Defiance College and Manchester University. And despite the struggles Alcovy had on the football field — from losing records, region losing streaks and coaching changes — Fletcher said he has absolutely no regrets, and only praise, for his time at the school.
“Alcovy football has definitely prepared me physically and mentally,” Fletcher said. “My defensive line coach and offensive coach helped me be ready for the next level because they gave me the techniques and skills to play at the next level. I give props to coach Alexander for staying after practice and giving me lessons on how to get past an o-lineman.
“Alcovy gave me that hunger to go to the next level and to compete and make a name for myself, and without being here, I wouldn’t have been able to commit to Sterling.”
Fletcher holds a 3.1 grade point average and plans to study criminal justice at the NAIA school. He said he’s looking forward to competing collegiately, but will miss his time at Alcovy.
“Despite the ups and downs, I really had a good time being a Tiger these past four years.”