Within two weeks, hordes of freshman football players will start reporting to their respective colleges with hopes of healthy and bright careers.
Former Ridgeland High School cornerback Devin Bowman will be right there among them. He just doesn't know yet where to report.
Bowman signed a scholarship in February with the University of Georgia, but he must pass the English language arts portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test in order to enroll in Athens and suit up for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot, 175-pounder took the test for a third time last Wednesday, and the result will determine whether Bowman heads to the SEC or a junior college detour.
"It's tough for him right now not knowing, but I tell you, he's in great spirits," Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis said. "He keeps working out and is staying in shape. He busted his tail studying for that test, and hopefully he will do fine."
Mariakis said test results usually are known within two to three weeks and Bowman hopes to know something around Aug. 1. Players will report to Georgia that same week, though the official date had not been set as of Tuesday.
Bowman had just finished a morning run Tuesday when he discussed his situation.
"I'm not really nervous about it, because I think I did well," he said. "I think I'm going to be really excited."
Bowman said Bulldogs secondary coach Scott Lakatos has kept in touch, telling him to keep his head up. His lack of a passing score on the GHSGT has prevented him from participating in summer workouts in Athens.
Should he not receive the desired news, Bowman likely would head to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville. Former Dalton High defensive end Jalen Fields, a member of Georgia's 2010 signing class, is expected to play a second season at GMC before transferring to Georgia in January.
"Georgia will place him in a junior college and already has that lined up and everything," Mariakis said. "They have said all along that they are not going to give up on him at any time. If he doesn't have a passing score, then they will place him for one year at a junior college, and he can then transfer in with three years to play at Georgia."