Columbus High's James Traylor signs with Georgia State

Trice signs with Berry College

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comApril 22, 2014 

It's hard to understand how a player standing as tall as Columbus High's James Traylor could be overlooked -- the wide receiver stands somewhere around 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4 depending on who you ask -- but that was the case for much of a recruiting process in which he didn't get all the Division-I looks he was hoping for.

But he got one, a full offer from Georgia State, and that was all it took.

Traylor signed his letter of intent to play with the Panthers along with teammate Jailyn Trice (Berry College) on Tuesday at a ceremony in the school's auditorium.

The signing ended a process in which Traylor considered everything from junior college to walking on at a more prominent Division-I school before settling on accepting the scholarship offer from upstart Georgia State.

"They called me late, and I went up there on a visit," Traylor said.

"Originally, I was going to be a preferred walk-on, but then they offered me, so it was great. … Originally, I thought I'd walk on somewhere else like Auburn, and I'd have to pay out of my own pocket, but now I'm able to get a free education."

Traylor said the coaches liked his diversity, his size and his ability to jump for the ball. This season, he recorded 30 receptions for 478 yards and four touchdowns. He said he's not sure the immediate expectations of him at the next level -- the coaches have expressed interest in his defense as well -- but that he just wants an opportunity to prove himself.

"I'm just going in trying to play wherever I can," Traylor said.

Columbus coach Phil Marino noted that Georgia State lost a handful of wide receivers after last year, and he thinks Traylor will have an opportunity to prove himself.

"He's got the size, he's got the work ethic," Marino said. "You put him in college with a chance to benefit from their weight program.

"He's going to get bigger. He's got a really good chance to have success there."

He'll also have a chance to play in the spotlight. In 2014, the Panthers play at Washington and Clemson. In 2015, they'll be at Oregon. They'll travel to Wisconsin in 2016.

"Those are some great opportunities to play in the spotlight," Marino said.

On a more personal note, Marino noted what it meant to the Columbus football program to have one of its players sign a Division-I scholarship.

"It shows that, while we didn't have a great record, we've got some great players," he said. "And it can let some of the guys coming up know that you can go to Columbus and sign a big football scholarship."

Trice, a linebacker, will play at Berry College after notching 122 tackles, four forced fumbles and four sacks in nine games for the Blue Devils in 2013.

Speaking to the gathered audience at the ceremony, he made his intentions clear for when he gets to Berry.

"I won't stop until I am starting as a freshman," he said.

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