MONTICELLO, Ga. — J.T. Webb knows college is about getting an education and preparing himself for adulthood. But he’s also got a football mission that he’s not shy about articulating.
Webb took to Twitter Monday evening to share his commitment to Shorter University in Rome, Georgia.
During the summer before the 2018 season, Webb was getting some solid recruiting attention from Division I schools such as Chattanooga and others. But ultimately none pulled the trigger on offering Piedmont Academy’s 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end a scholarship, all citing the same reason — lack of big time high school competition.
Piedmont, a private school in Monticello, competes in the Georgia Independent Schools Association’s 1-AA division and finished with a 3-7-1 record.
“Some of the D-1 schools were saying that it was the teams I was playing against that kept them from offering me,” Webb said.
That, despite many of those same schools being high on Webb’s ability and upside. Enter Webb’s collegiate football mission.
“No doubt, knowing that lights a fire in me,” he said. “I don’t think the size of the school means a whole lot. If a kid can play, a kid can play. But it’s fine, because it just lets me know that whenever I get to Shorter, I’m going to do my thing and grind, and show what I’m all about and show a lot of those D-1 coaches what they missed out on in overlooking me.”
Webb was arguably Piedmont’s best player through the season which was enough to garner him attention from several smaller schools including Huntingdon College and LaGrange College — the other two schools along side Shorter that were in the running for Webb’s services.
Ultimately, it was the academic environment at Shorter and proximity of the Rome, Georgia school to home that set it above the rest — including a handful of NAIA schools in Kansas and Missouri.
“Start off with the fact that (Shorter’s) a small school, and that’s where I come from,” he said. “That gives me the ability to be in smaller classroom sizes to get that one-on-one attention with my professors. It’s all about education first. But also being close to home played a big role into it, because my parents can come every weekend to see my games.”
Even Shorter’s road games at Valdosta State, West Georgia and Fort Valley State are games Webb said can easily be attended by family.
“That played a big role into it, because my parents can come every weekend,” he said.
Webb holds a 3.6 grade point average and says he’s considering some sort of major that fuses his top interests of sports and health together. On the football field, although Webb played both sides of the ball for Piedmont, he said he’s excited about full concentrating on offense at Shorter.
He gives Piedmont Academy much credit for helping him get to where he is and preparing him to excel at the next level.
“I think our football coaches helped me out a great deal,” he said. “Our tight ends coach played at Valdosta State, and he just really helped me out tremendously with footwork and how to become a better man, really.”
Shorter is a NCAA Division II school that competes in the Gulf South Conference. The team went 0-11 in 2018, which, for Webb, gives him hopes that he’ll be able to come in and contribute immediately.
“I’m concentrating fully on tight end,”he said. “There are three other sophomore tight ends on the roster, but I’m hoping that I can start as a true freshman and show them right away what I can do to help our team.”