William Ham is a little bit of an oddity.
The senior from Stratford, who has been kicking for only two years, is getting a chance to play on one of the biggest stages in college football, as he decided Wednesday to accept a preferred walk-on offer to play at Georgia.
“It’s almost unreal for me to think about only kicking since July of 2012 and getting this opportunity," said Ham, who said he has a chance to see the field as a freshman as a kickoff specialist. "When Mark Richt came to visit me, I was just in awe of the situation. I have been a Georgia fan since I have been alive, and I can’t wait to be a Georgia Bulldog."
Ham has played soccer, not football, for most of his life. It was not love at first sight when he started to kick.
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“I was pretty bad, and it wasn’t until I started attending kicking camps that I learned how to get the ball in the air," Ham said. “The more I practiced, the better I got, but I still have so much room for improvement."
Stratford head coach Mark Farriba, who has been back at Stratford for one season, saw Ham kicking during the summer and thought that he might have something.
“I thought he was kicking it pretty good, but I just saw it as one less thing to worry about," Farriba said. “Then we got into the first game and William’s first kickoff went through the goal posts. I felt like when something like that happened we should get a point or something. But seriously, William may have been our defensive MVP because other teams always were starting from the 20. He has the chance to be a really great kicker."
Also signing from Stratford was Matthew Beringer, who will play golf for the Bulldogs.
“It’s a great honor for me to be recruited by Georgia and as soon as Chris Haack, their head coach, started recruiting me, I knew that was where I wanted to go," said Beringer, who is just now rounding back into form after suffering a fractured back that cost him most of his summer. “I feel like I have a real chance to make the top five or six as a freshman and try to help the team win any way I can.”
Beringer won medalist honors as a freshman at the GISA state tournament and then decided to home school for his sophomore year.
“It gave me a great opportunity to really focus not only on my studies, but on my golf game, too," Beringer said. “It was a very difficult being away from my team, but it made me realize just how important the team is, even in golf. It was great to be able to come back to Stratford last year and win state, and hopefully we will be able to do it again. “