All John Atkins wants for Christmas is two more points.
Atkins, the four-star defensive end from Thomson, Ga., is currently enrolled in Hargrave Military Academy while he awaits the results of his latest ACT. He needs a cumulative sectional score of 74 that --combined with his high school GPA -- will allow him to enroll at Georgia for the spring semester. Atkins and teammate Leonard Floyd of Eastman, Ga., were part of Georgia’s 2012 class but failed to qualify. Both want to enroll at Georgia in January.
“All I need is two points,” Atkins said. “I took it a week ago. I will find out on the 26th of December. I feel like I got it. The second time I took the test I went up two points to a 72. I needed a 74 to match my GPA. This time I felt like I did way better. That would be a good Christmas gift.”
Atkins is banking on those two points. If he does not get the test score he needs, he would return to Hargrave and finish the semester.
“Our last day before Christmas break is Friday,” Atkins said. “I am going to pack up my stuff and take it home. If I don’t make it I would go back until Jan. 16. Hargrave starts back Jan. 2 and they say the semester ends is Jan. 7 but we don’t know. After that I would probably just go home and enroll in some online class or get a job to keep me occupied for three months. I had a job that I left this summer. They put it on hold.”
The academic calendars between Hargrave and the University of Georgia do not mesh and that is more of an issue for Floyd. The new semester at Georgia starts on Jan. 7 while the fall semester at Hargrave does not end until mid-January. If Floyd, who needs a class credit and not a test score, has to stay enrolled until exams on Jan. 17, he would miss the enrollment deadline at Georgia.
“Leonard needs a whole credit,” Atkins said. “But if the dean lets him, Leonard could be done for good. Everything is in the dean's hands. But he is not budging for us. We are going to go talk to the dean tomorrow. Our coach up here is going to talk to him, too. He wants us out early, too. The email we got from coach Richt said we need to be out of here by Jan. 2. But the dean up here ain’t really going to let us go. He is trying to get us to leave in May. The dean, he ain’t budging. For me, all I need is the test score. I just need to go up two more points. Leonard needs a class, though.”
Atkins and Floyd took their official visits to Georgia this past weekend.
“We spent time with James DeLoach and Jonathan Taylor,” Atkins said. “They told us to enjoy right now because when we get there it is going to be hell.”
They also spent time with a juco nose tackle that was part of Georgia 2011 signing class.
“We hung out with Chris Mayes (Griffin, Ga./Mississippi Gulf Coast),” Atkins said. “He was on his official, too. We are rebuilding that defensive line. There is a spot open and we are waiting for someone to go in and claim it. The coaches were saying I would play defensive end but they want me to lose weight. I am at 321. Mayes or Taylor would be the nose. I think they are going to get Toby Johnson too.”
Johnson is the coveted juco defensive tackle from College Park, Ga., who is enrolled at Hutchinson Community College. Atkins thinks Johnson would be wise to pick the Bulldogs.
“It would be a smart thing to choose Georgia,” Atkins said. “They won’t pull his scholarship. Coach [Mark] Richt told me when I first started talking to Georgia that if I got hurt, he would not pull my scholarship.”