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Toombs's second chance includes college signing

Posted: May 29, 2013 - 12:09am
Georgia Gwinnett head soccer coach Steve DeCou goes over the paperwork with James Toombs and his mother, Ferlesher Jackson, before he signed his letter of intent Thursday.  Photo by Scott Rouch
Photo by Scott Rouch
Georgia Gwinnett head soccer coach Steve DeCou goes over the paperwork with James Toombs and his mother, Ferlesher Jackson, before he signed his letter of intent Thursday.

After his senior year took a radical turn in March, Greenbrier High School soccer player James Toomb’s final week ended well.

Toombs was one the players kicked off the Greenbrier soccer team and sent to the Columbia County Alternative School at the end of March when it came to light that widespread drinking had taken place during a soccer tournament at Jekyll Island, Ga.

Monday, his mother Ferlesher Jackson, a contractor working in Afghanistan came home; he was planning to walk across the stage with his Greenbrier classmates on Saturday, and Thursday he signed a letter of intent to play soccer for Georgia Gwinnett College.

The signing did not take place at Greenbrier, where the majority of signings take place, but rather at his house with a large contingent of Greenbrier soccer players and schoolmates in attendance.

Georgia Gwinnett, an NAIA school in Lawrenceville, Ga., has been Toombs first choice all along, and he was nervous how what happened would affect his relationship with the college.

“After everything happened they called me,” said Toombs, who made the All-Region 2-AAAA first team in 2012. “I was worried about what I should do. They called me and told me not to worry, it wouldn’t affect me or anything, I still had my scholarship.”

Head soccer coach Steve DeCou had been tracking Toombs for more than a year and was impressed with the way he handled the situation.

“He’s not the first to have a blip, and he won’t be the last, but hopefully from the situation he learns from it and grows as a person,” DeCou said. “If he has a blip in our program we’ll drop the hammer on him,” he said smiling. “It didn’t dissuade us in any way with our recruiting of him. He was forthright, he told us everything. So it wasn’t we had to hear it secondhand, it came straight from him.”

Toombs was especially happy his mother was home and that she would be able to see him graduate.

“I’m definitely fortunate for that,” said Toombs. “I’m sure it tore my mom up when she heard the news I probably wouldn’t be able to graduate. So I was really thankful I would be able to graduate with the people I spent the last 10 years with.”

Jackson also was happy that everything worked out in the end.

“What was important for me is given what happened with the soccer team, that the team believed in James, these are all good kids and even though they didn’t complete their senior year, his work ethic and abilities speak beyond his senior year.”

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