Kickers rarely ever get any love. Donovan Graydon got a lot of it Tuesday afternoon when he signed his national letter of intent, accepting a scholarship to play football at Greenville College.
“This is a proud moment for me,” said Dwayne Graydon, Donovan’s father. “I never imagined my son would be able to get a scholarship in football, but God is good and I give all honor and glory to him. If it weren’t for him I don’t know where we would be right now. I just hope my son continues to take this opportunity and further his education and become whatever he wants to become in life.”
“[he’s a] good kid,” Newton Coach Terrance Banks added. “He does everything that you’re gonna tell him to do. He’s gonna work extremely hard and he’s a consummate team player, which is always fantastic.”
Initially, when Donovan played football as a kid, he was scared, so when he told his father that he wanted to play in high school, Dwayne was surprised. No one saw this coming three years ago when Donovan started playing football as a sophomore.
“If you had asked me would I actually let Donovan kick in a varsity game two years ago, I probably would’ve said no,” Banks laughed. “He worked himself extremely hard to get what he got and he was very reliable and he trained, and he trained, and he trained and he trained, and he trained and so he’s very deserving of his scholarship and a very hard worker. We need more kids like him.”
“A few years ago I never thought he’d be at this day right now, but with hard work and dedication, it paid off for him and I’m very proud of him,” Dwayne said.
Greenville liked the film they saw from Donovan, and the fact that he ran a 4.5, despite being a kicker. The Panthers’ staff was impressed by his film and they believe he can be a key contributor in his first year.
“They provided a great way for me to just feel confident and know that working hard is always gonna be a challenge in life. They brought that to me with also not only just a real world mindset, but with a Christian mindset too,” Donovan said. “I felt, as soon as I walked on to the campus, I was uneasy at first, but as soon as I walked on and talked to some of the players they made me feel like I was [still] in Georgia. As I kept talking with the players and the coaches I felt like Greenville was the college for me so I sent coach the email the other day and I said, ‘I’m ready to come up there and be a Panther.”
Donovan chose the college because of its pre-physical therapy program. He wants to be a sports therapist, attend college for three years and maybe finish up somewhere else while still playing football.