Dezmon Billingslea just got done moving his tassel over after being pronounced officially an alumni of Newton High School. Now the All-Region 2-AAAAAA linebacker is set to move on at Kennesaw State University, but first he had some parting words for his former Rams teammates.
“Next season I expect to see and hear great things from those guys next year in and out of the classroom,” Billingslea said. “I believe that we set a great foundation for the future, so I expect for them to give all they have and continue to build on what we started.”
Although Billingslea expects to see and hear great things from all of his former teammates, there are a few in particular that he definitely expects to exceed expectations. Those players are Romario Johnson, Davonta Jones, Nuka Yobo, Steven Montac and AJ Palomino.
However, it is Palomino who Billingslea said will have to step up and be a leader.
“AJ just has to stay focused, learn from his mistakes on the field, stay in the film room and become a true student of the game so that he can help others,” Billingslea said.
Billingslea said that the one thing he feels is pushing the guys harder than before is the fact that a high school football powerhouse, Tucker High School, has been added to the 2-AAAAAA region.
“They’re very excited about it and when we beat Lowndes last season that gave the guys enough confidence to know that they can compete with the powerhouses,” Billingslea said.
However, Billingslea also said that despite Tucker being one of the top high school football teams in the state, they still have to get acclimated to the playing style in Region 2-AAAAAA.
Billingslea gave some high praise to his former head coach, Terrance Banks. Not only did he say Banks was the proper gentleman to lead this group of young men, but he added that Banks will be an even better coach in his second year with the program.
Billingslea also feels that some veterans and new additions to the team’s coaching staff will provide the attitude that is properly needed going into next season.
“Coach Spencer Fortson and Coach Camiel Grant are returning and they came up under Coach Allen so I believe they will bring a more rough-neck and physical attitude for the team next season,” Billingslea said.
Billlingslea then transitioned away from the high school talk and leaned toward his goals in college and with his future collegiate teammates at Kennesaw State University.
“The main topic of our conversations were to prove the doubters wrong,” Billingslea said. “Of course a lot of people don’t believe that a startup program can be successful on the college level and we want to prove everybody wrong. Nobody is expecting us to win any games our first or second year or go deep in the playoffs and our attitude is just on (that) level as a whole.”
Billingslea will also be attending Kennesaw State with one of his fellow high school teammates, Corey Thomas and Billingslea said their bond can only grow from there.
“We’re already like brothers and we get up there that will only build our relationship more,” Billingslea said. “We’re going to push each other on and off the field and make sure we stay in our books and stay out of trouble. So, the fact that we have four more years together only means a better bond will develop.”
Billingslea, like almost any other college football player, has dreams of making it to the NFL, and says if he does, it will happen through the program at Kennesaw State.
“If you’re good enough to play in the NFL, scouts will come and find you regardless of where you attend school, so no I don’t feel like I will have to transfer away to a bigger school to make that dream happen,” Billingslea said.
Although Billingslea is excited for what his future holds and moving on to the next chapter of his life, he said that he will miss Newton from afar.
“I’m really going to miss the atmosphere because it’s a great one and there are a lot of great people here and just my friends and some of the teachers that helped me along the way,” Billingslea said. “So, I’m gonna miss it a lot but I’m not going to dwell on my past. I’m going to look forward to my future.”