It was only fitting that Augusta Christian’s Jabari Odom and Eric Fogle signed their letters of intent together Friday.
While they are heading in separate directions – Odom to Mercer and Fogle to Stetson – both will be arriving to similar circumstances. Both schools are resurrecting their football programs and won’t begin play until 2013. That sits well with Odom, as football will be a bonus to what Mercer has to offer.
“After looking at my other school options, I wanted to choose the school with the better academics,” said Odom, who won a South Carolina Independent Schools wrestling championship this year. “Mercer’s academic rankings were higher. It was academics before football, that’s how I made my choice.”
While at Mercer, Odom plans to study nursing, looking to become a nurse practitioner.
Both schools will play in the Pioneer League, so it’s possible that the linebacker Odom and punter/wide receiver Fogle could face one another on the field.
“This year I was blocking for him so he wouldn’t get hit. Two years from now, I’ll be trying to hit him,” Odom said.
Assistant head football coach Charles Cooper said that while Odom just came to Augusta Christian this year, he fit in quickly.
“He became a leader instantly,” said Cooper. “His work ethic was amazing.”
For Fogle, Stetson was appealing on a few levels.
“Just the great location. It’s real close to the beach and it has great academics,” Fogle said of the school in DeLand, Fla. “Its academics are amazing. The football coach, I think he’s going to be a great coach. Just the whole staff that he’s brought on is really good.“
For more than just the beach, Stetson’s location is ideal for Fogle’s intent to study sports management.
“They have great opportunities,” he said. “They’re 40 minutes from Orlando, the Wide World of Sports, (and) the Daytona 500 is right there. It’s a great sports environment.”
On the field, Fogle did double duty and hopes to continue that at Stetson.
“I would like to be a wide receiver if it’s even possible, unless they just want me working on just punting,” Fogle said. “But if it’s possible, I’ll definitely play wide receiver and punter.”
Practicing for the first year doesn’t faze Fogle.
“I think it will be good for college life, getting used to it,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about the stress of games. The first year you get used to it and the second year you know what you’re doing.”