Jakar Hamilton is a Dawg—he's a Dawg with the kind of passion and fire that you love to see in a young player. The kind of guy who is willing to say: "I got this. Just bring it my way and see what I can do."
Take one look at him and you know he means business. He's built like an NFL pro right now, and that body becomes a weapon when he's on the field. Just ask the guys he played against at Georgia Military College what a frame that solid feels like when it's coming at you full-speed—he didn't get the name "The Hitman" for nothing.
Hamilton is about making the moves that keeps the guy with the ball from getting into the end zone. He loves making hits and he loves playing hard.
Don't believe me? Well, take it from the man himself; in a recent article, Hamilton is quoted as saying:
“On defense, you’ve got to be aggressive. I’m one of those players who just doesn’t care. I’ll throw my whole body even if I have to break something to do it. If I have to catch a concussion, I’ll do it. And having (Grantham) coming in, I’m real excited to see what he’s bringing to the table.” (Macon Telegraph, 1/22/10 )
I'm not looking for Jakar to go out there and get concussed to prove his worth, but that's just the kind of attitude that you have to love—particularly if you were an Erk Russell fan.
Russell, the Georgia defensive coordinator from 1964-1981, was the architect of the "Junkyard Dawg" defense that you hear so many Dawg fans reminisce about—it was that defense that led us to an undefeated, national championship-winning season.
Russell didn't give a darn about anything except winning and he loved his players, good football, and the red helmet.
He was a motivator who didn't mind shedding a little bit of his own blood to show just how passionate he was about the product on the field.
That product is precisely what Georgia has seen go downhill, particularly at the safety position, over the last several years.
The talent of both Bryan Evans and Reshad Jones was left untapped and never truly realized and that's a tough pill for many Georgia fans to swallow. Especially when even a short memory can bring to mind names like Thomas Davis, Greg Blue, Sean Jones, and Jermaine Phillips.
What happened? Did we suddenly forget how to develop those hard-hitting, game-changing, NFL-level safeties?
If Reshad Jones is our example, then the answer most certainly has to be 'yes.' He monumentally underachieved based on his expectations and that, in large part, was due to coaching—or lack thereof.
But, with his departure, comes a new dawn of what a player like Jakar Hamilton can do in the aggressive defense that new DC Todd Grantham has promised to bring.
It feels a little like that 'Junkyard' attitude is returning to the sidelines and that has Dawg fans positively giddy.
Hamilton's road to Georgia was long but he's enrolled and ready to shed his blood, sweat, and tears for the red and black.
Even more, he's ready to be the kind of leader on the field that the secondary needs in order to grow into the fearsome unit who scoffs at the notion of being the SEC joke where passing defense is concerned.
The 2010 season with Hamilton and, promising prospect Alec Ogletree looks every bit as good as when Thomas Davis and Greg Blue patrolled the field together.
The two prospects have already become friends and talk often about how they will wreak havoc on the SEC once they get on the field together.
Perhaps they will usher in the end of the Dawg's secondary making average-rated quarterbacks look like Heisman Trophy candidates or building up the confidence of guys who might otherwise be riding the pine.
No more nail-biters against barely breathing teams with losing records.
Hamilton's calling card may as well be mounted in the locker of every player on his team because he clearly knows what it means to be a Bulldog and his teeth are beginning to show.
His setbacks are plenty: father imprisoned, broken foot keeps him out of North-South game (hurting his scholarship chances), poor academics and lingering transcript issues force him to go the prep-school route, etc.
If nothing else, he knows how blessed he is to be where he is now—a sophomore at the University of Georgia with a shot to start next season—and he doesn't take any of that for granted.
He's a testament to how hard work and perseverance rewards you if you never give up hope that things can work out for the best even if the 'getting there' is a bit rough.
The late Erk Russell once said: "If you don't have the best of everything, make the best of everything you have."
Jakar Hamilton has made his living, so far, by holding true to that mantra and his hard work may finally be starting to pay off.
(*Photo courtesy of Rivals.com )