Photo by Derrick Mahone
Eagle’s Landing Christian baseball player Kevin Martin (left) chats with John Tatum during the school’s signing day ceremonies on Wednesday. Tatum, who is recovering from ankle surgery, will attend Georgia Military College.
Its not like John Tatum could forget Dec. 3 anyway, but the former Eagle’s Landing Christian running back has another reminder of the importance of that day.
In addition to it being his birthday, that day had another significant occurrence last year.
It was the day that Tatum had his ankle surgery.
The 200-pound running back sustained the ankle injury in the second quarter of the Chargers’ Class A semifinal playoff loss to Landmark Christian.
“I’ll never forget that day,” Tatum said.
Fast-forward some 59 days to Wednesday, and Tatum will have another date to remember. He joined two teammates on the stage in the ELCA theater to sign his national letter-of-intent to attend Georgia Military College.
Although teammates Justin Thomason and Joe Walker signed with Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools North Carolina and Army, respectively, Tatum said he wasn’t totally disappointed that he has to go the junior-college route first.
“It is what it is, and I’m going to make the most of it,” he said. “I will push myself and motivate myself to getting to the next level.”
Tatum rushed for 1,704 yards and 30 touchdowns in leading ELCA to a second straight Region 5-A championship. He had interest from Syracuse, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, UAB and Miami-Ohio.
ELCA coach Jonathan Gess said he expects for Tatum to sign with a major college in two years.
“The coaches at GMC say he is an SEC-caliber type back,” Gess said. “He will come back strong from this injury. It is hard to get a scholarship at Georgia Military College. I’m real excited for John.”
Tatum is walking on crutches with a boot on his leg. He hopes to start rehabbing in March to get back on the field for the 2012 season.
He said he is looking forward to starting his college career, and the recruiting process again.
“Next time, I will have much bigger schools to chose from,” Tatum said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the recruiting again. I didn’t mind it.”