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Scott excited about NFL opportunity

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

Monday afternoon former Lovejoy football player Chris Scott sat in the office of Al Hughes, his former high school football coach.

It was a chance for the two men to reminisce about Scott's days in the trenches. Those times when Scott was a hard-nosed, offensive lineman at Lovejoy, earning Clayton News Daily All-Southern Crescent honors as well as many other accolades and attracting the attention of major college programs.

"He is such a mild-mannered guy, but when you get him on the football field, things are totally different." Hughes said.

When the dust settled on Scott's recruiting battles, the University of Tennessee won out for his services.

Scott spent the next four years decked out in Orange as a starting offensive lineman for the Vols. He also got to lineup on the Vols' front line next to Lovejoy standout Anthony Parker, who also had a stellar career with Tennessee.

"That was pretty cool," Scott said. "We were able to bond, and we already had plenty of chemistry going into college." Scott never regretted his decision to play at Tennessee.

"There's something about playing in front of more than 100,000 people on a Saturday in Knoxville that you can't describe," Scott said. "You have to experience it for yourself. We never won the championships, we always were hoping for, but I had a great time."

Jump ahead four years later, and Scott was also in town Monday to say goodbye to Hughes, his family and friends.

Starting Thursday, Scott takes the first step in his professional career when he reports to a rookie camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Scott was selected in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.

This year for the first time the NFL draft was held over three days, but when the phone call finally came, Scott was ready."

"I had been watching the draft all along," he said. "I had some teammates I knew were going to go ahead of me, so I was just interested in what was happening to the, too.

One of his former teammates, Eric Berry, was the fifth person taken in the draft when the first-round selection went to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Finally, Scott's turn came too when the Steelers selected him with the 151st overall pick.

"My agent kept telling me I was probably going to go to the Steelers," he said. "I am just excited about getting the chance."

Three former Lovejoy football players are now in the NFL.

Running back Tashard Choice played college football at Georgia Tech, and now is with the Dallas Cowboys

Defensive backKeith Fitzhugh was a member of the Mississippi State football team after a stellar career at Lovejoy. He now plays professional football for the Baltimore Ravens.

"I am so proud of all these guys," Hughes said

"They do a great job representing Lovejoy."

Scott joins another former Clayton County standout at Pittsburgh.

Hines Ward, who played high school ball at Forest Park and later at Georgia. is an All-Pro wide receiver and former Super Bowl MVP for the Steelers.

"I guess we need to call Hines and make sure he takes care of Chris," Hughes joked.