George Chatman didn't know what the future held for him in regards to football heading into his senior year at Lakewood High School.
Well, he did know he wouldn't be playing for the Gators in the 2018 season thanks to tearing all three ligaments …
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Well, he did know he wouldn't be playing for the Gators in the 2018 season thanks to tearing all three ligaments in his right knee in spring practice.
That's what led to his doubts.
"Since I didn't get to play my whole senior season, I wasn't sure if I would get the chance to play college football," said Chatman, a 6-foot-3-inch, 300-pound offensive lineman.
Well not only is Chatman going to get to play at the collegiate level, he's going to get another year to rehabilitate and practice before he plays an official college snap.
Erskine College, which is located in Due West, is restarting its program and has signed Chatman as well as teammate Omar Holland. Erskine, which last had a team in 1951, will field its first new squad in the 2020 campaign, meaning the Flying Fleet players will have a full year to practice.
"I'm blessed to get this opportunity," Chatman said. "I'm just trying to get myself ready for the opportunity to play."
Chatman is thankful to have the year of practice to give him the opportunity to readjust.
"I feel like it's a good thing for me," he said. 'I'm sure I'll be kind of scared about taking that first hit or giving that first hit."
Chatman had an outstanding junior season for the Gators. He was an all-region pick as well as a member of The Sumter Item All-Area team and was selected as the Offensive Lineman of the Week by the Sumter Touchdown Club as well.
"That's when I began to think I might have a chance to play college football somewhere," said Chatman, who had a preferred walk-on offer from South Carolina State.
Lakewood head coach Larry Cornelius said it is what Chatman did off of the field that's giving him the opportunity to get back on the field on a full scholarship.
"He brings so much to the table," Cornelius said of Chatman. "He's getting this chance because he took care of all the things besides football. He had his academics in order and his ACT, it was a great score.'
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