On opposite sides of the ball in the past two Georgia Class AA state championship football games, Buford High School offensive lineman Robert Hill and Calhoun linebacker Alex Kirby were reunited at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga this weekend.
Kirby made his official visit after already committing to the Mocs in November. Hill became UTC's eighth commitment before heading home Sunday, and Hillgrove (Ga.) High School safety Nakevion Leslie committed Sunday night.
"I talked about it with my family [Saturday] night, and we just felt like it was the best decision for me," the 6-foot-2, 275-pound Hill said. "I think UTC's coming up. We've got a lot of young players, and they were only a few plays away from winning the [Southern Conference in 2011]."
Hill said he picked UTC over Tennessee Tech and Presbyterian.
Buford beat Calhoun for the state title three years in a row before the Yellow Jackets finally prevailed in December. Hill, who was on the 2010 championship team after transferring from Shiloh (Ga.) High School, said he and Kirby had some time to catch up over the weekend.
"I'd actually played with him in Georgia North-South All-Star game, so we'd already talked a little bit," he said.
As a senior, Hill made the Gwinnett Touchdown Club's All-Gwinnett second team and was named honorable mention all-area by the Gainesville Times.
The 5-11, 205-pound Leslie helped lead Hillgrove to an undefeated regular season before the Hawks fell in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs. He said he picked UTC over Eastern Kentucky and Charleston Southern.
"I picked it because it has a great campus," Leslie said, "The players are cool and it seems like it's a pretty positive program that's heading in the right direction and wants to win championships."
One of the highlights of Leslie's senior season came against South Cobb when he returned a fumble 85 yards for a touchdown and returned an interception 15 yards for a score.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...