ATLANTA, Ga. -- While Georgia Tech football fans may have walked away from Monday night’s 42-41 double overtime loss to Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, two Newton County area athletes left the game even more excited about their football-playing future.
Alcovy’s Quindrelin Hammonds and Newton’s Dre Butler were on hand at the brand spanking new Mercedes Benz Stadium Monday to take in the action — both the recipient of Georgia Tech issued invites. Butler has impressed early, registering 5 1/2 sacks and several more tackles for loss during his first two games, while Hammonds continues to show his prowess as a “slash” type player on both sides of the ball.
After the game, we had a chance to chat with both athletes to get their takes on the game, the atmosphere and what it means to be a sought after student-athlete in the sometimes overlooked Newton County area.
The Covington News: Dre, how did you end up getting the invite to the Tech game, and what made the experience exciting for you?
Dre Butler: “Honestly, I think my performances on the field is what got me the invite to this game. And then coach (Cody) Moore was aware of me through our coaches having a relationship with him. And the exciting part is just to be surrounded by a crowd that large. It’s really what made the whole experience exciting to me. It was really my first time ever being in a crowd that large.”
TCN: What were you most impressed about while being at the game, especially in the new stadium?
Butler: “The thing that impressed me most about the team was their defense. They were exciting to watch, and the way they go to the ball was great. And this new stadium is very nice. We really could’ve watch the whole game from outside on the Jumbotron.”
TCN: What kind of recruiting attention are you starting to get, now that you’ve had such a fast start to the season?
Butler: “A lot, actually. I’m really getting a lot of attention from different schools, including a lot of major D-1 schools. Teams have really been asking about me.”
TCN: Another local player, Quindrelin Hammonds from Alcovy, was also at the game by way of invite. What do you think that says about how people are taking notice of the talent in Newton County?
Butler: “I think that we are starting to get all the attention that we’re getting now because we are showing them that we have elite players down in this area. I think Newton County has been overlooked for a while. We have always had good athletes. When you watch college football on Saturday’s there’s a good chance a ‘Newton Boy’ is playing.”
TCN: If that offer comes, why would Georgia Tech perhaps be a school you might consider attending?
Butler: “I just really like the academics that Georgia Tech offers. The social environment would be really good. Also, I talk to (true freshman) Jaquan (Henderson) and (redshirt freshman Josh) Tukes a lot and they tell me how good it would be for me to join the squad.”
TCN: Mr. Hammonds, we know you’ve already got the offer from Army. But what does it mean for you to have a school like Georgia Tech showing some interest in you?
Hammonds: “Having a school such as Georgia Tech is really an honor. Knowing that this is a school that I’ve watched growing up, and also know that an opportunity to go here would also be a great step towards having a great athletic and academic four years of college is special.”
TCN: How would you describe your experience in Mercedes Benz Stadium?
Hammonds: “It was an eye opening experience, getting a chance to be at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, and having a chance to see the new improvements of the stadium from the old one. It was definitely a moment to remember, being able to experience the first couple of games here.”
TCN: Despite the loss, what impressed you about the Yellow Jackets tonight?
Hammonds: “Really, Georgia Tech brought a lot of energy to this game, and I was really impressed with the efficiency and effectiveness of both Tech’s offense and defense. It was very exciting to watch them get after it.”
TCN: If you were to receive an offer from Georgia Tech, what do you think you could bring to this team and program?
Hammonds: “Well, I have not been offered by them yet, and I am currently still being recruited. But I think I would fit well into Georgia Tech’s offensive system, even though I am being recruited by them for defense. I feel like with my energy, I bring lots of speed and athleticism to the field which I think will make me effective on both sides of the ball.”