By Anthony Rhoads
Jamal Lewis and Darrell Robertson have been friends since they were 8-years old.
They grew up together and at Jonesboro High School, they both excelled on the football field. Now, they will be playing together at the collegiate level as both signed their letters-of-intent Wednesday to play at Georgia Tech.
"I've been trying to get him to come to Georgia Tech for the longest time," Lewis said. "It's a dream come true. I think it will be a good experience for both of us."
For Lewis, the signing came as no surprise as he verbally committed to Tech but Robertson left everyone in suspense right to the wire.
Robertson had previously committed to Florida State but on Wednesday, he officially signed with Georgia Tech.
"I felt that Tech was the place for me," Robertson said. "It's a better fit all-around. It's going to be great."
Robertson, a defensive end who was named the News-Daily's Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2003 and Lewis, a defensive back, were key players on the 2002 Jonesboro team that made state for just the fourth time since 1946. Things didn't quite go the way they wanted to in 2003 as the team went 3-7 but they both stood out individually.
"They're probably two of the most special young men I've been around," Jonesboro head coach Larry Mortonson said. "We're very proud to have them represent Jonesboro High School. I think both of them are going to fit in well at Georgia Tech."
Lovejoy quarterback Kisan Flakes had been recruited heavily this year and among the schools that were interested in him were Mississippi State, Middle Tennessee State and Illinois.
Flakes, the News-Daily's 2003 Offensive Player of the Year, finally decided on Illinois.
Part of the reason for his decision was that he will play quarterback at Illinois while the other schools primarily were recruiting him as an athlete.
Flakes enjoyed a record-setting career at Lovejoy and he especially shined in 2003, leading the Wildcats to an undefeated regular season.
Flakes set a school record in passing yardage with 2,509 yards and came within 44 yards of the Clayton County record of 2,553, set by Forest Park's Todd Wells in 1995.
Flakes threw for a county record 25 touchdowns in 2003, breaking former Morrow quarterback Jeff Howard's record of 24, set during the Mustangs' state title year of 1987.
Flakes also gained 710 rushing yards and ran for six touchdowns.
Flakes wasn't the only major-college signee from Lovejoy this year.
Defensive end and Co-Defensive Player of the Year Jeremy Lomax is going to Georgia while offensive lineman Anthony Parker is going to Tennessee.
Both players were also named to the GACA All-State football team this week.
Wide receiver Vernard Hoover and defensive end Richardwill be going to Alabama-Birminghamof Conference USA.
Lovejoy had a total of nine players to make official commitments Wednesday.
"Obviously, this is a another special group," Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said. "Last year we had 28 seniors and 12 of them signed. Everyone said it was going to be a rebuilding year; we had a good bunch coming back and they lived up to the expectations. These guys left a great legacy here at Lovejoy. As varsity players, they went 30-6; that was a pretty good record."