Henry County High running back Jonathan Jean-Bart has committed to play his college football at Georgia State.
By Derrick Mahone
Henry County tailback Jonathan Jean-Bart was not at a loss for words in explaining his reason for committing to play at Georgia State next season.
Jean-Bart pointed to the proximity to his house, the opportunity to play all his home games in the Georgia Dome and a family atmosphere he felt during his visit.
"When I went there for my visit, I just had this peaceful feel that it was the right choice for me," said Jean-Bart, who committed to Georgia State Monday morning. "I felt at home because they focus on family and grades. I'm looking forward to being a Georgia State athlete."
What Georgia State, which enters its second season with a football program, will get in Jean-Bart is a versatile athlete with pass-catching skills. Last season, he caught 13 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns out of the backfield.
He had 69 carries for 366 yards and five touchdowns for the Warhawks, who reached the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
"He is a tough inside-outside back," Henry County coach Mike Rozier said. "He has been a good tailback for us over the past couple of years.
We are able throw the ball to him coming out of the back field."
At Georgia State, he will likely be reunited with former Warhawk quarterback Drew Little, who started the majority of the season for the Panthers last season. Little has been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating a team rule.
"Knowing Drew helped some with the recruiting," Jean-Bart said. "I had a good relationship with him when we played together."
According to Rozier, Jean-Bart had offers from Ball State, Georgia Southern and Western Carolina. The running back said he decided to commit now, although he could have larger schools take interest once the season starts next month.
Jean-Bart said he is solid with his commitment to attend Georgia State, which will be competing in the Colonial Athletic Association in the 2012 season. So far this summer, Georgia State has three other players that have committed to signing with the program in February on National Signing Day.
"I think he is excited about staying close to home, and playing for coach (Bill) Curry and in the Georgia Dome at a place like Georgia State," Rozier said.
Henry County's offense is similar to Georgia State's, which was a big plus in Jean-Bart making his decision. He was being recruited by the team's offensive coordinator John Bond, but said that Joshua Moore, the team's recruiting specialist was instructmental in the process.
"He really came in and finished the deal," Jean-Bart said. "I'm real familiar with the Georgia State offense, so that is great. I really like the opportunity to play in the Dome. Eversince I've been in high school, I've wanted to play there."