Chad Chandler first heard the knock as a sophomore playing Statesboro.
" 'Hey, Chandler, where's the rest of you?' " the Lakeside quarterback remembered hearing from an opposing fan.
Criticisms of his lack of height kept Chandler, listed at 5-foot-10, from believing he could play college football, at least for another year or so.
After signing with Randolph-Macon College on May 22, Chandler shared the doubts he felt when he first landed the Panthers' starting job.
"It's always been my height that has slowed me," Chandler said. "After my sophomore year, when we went 2-8, everybody was telling me I wasn't big enough to play college football. I was really upset about that, because I'd always wanted to."
When Chandler was a junior in 2007, Lakeside coaches were sending out tape on senior tight end Dustin Banks. Responding schools said they liked the receiver, but also wanted to know who was throwing him the ball. That was the first indication to Chandler that he could play at the next level.
Last year as a senior, Chandler's own film was sent out. He received interest from a number of schools. At least one was too far for his taste. Another, Presbyterian College, was interested in him only as a receiver.
He initially leaned toward Pikeville College, in Kentucky, where friend and Lakeside receiver Levi Hanks will play. But after visiting Randolph-Macon, a private school in Ashland, Va., Chandler called Pikeville and told coaches he was going elsewhere.
Chandler said the decision initially bothered Hanks. The two have been friends since middle school. But Chandler said Hanks sent him a text message the night before his signing, telling him everything was cool and that they would still hang out.
Chandler said he was sold on the visit because Randolph-Macon coaches greeted him upon arrival, its players performed skits and held court for recruits in a school auditorium and later took them on a tour of the campus. Chandler said it was a good time, and where he felt most comfortable.
On the field, Chandler is most comfortable at quarterback. But he said he would not have been comfortable at Pikeville, where there was no returning starter at quarterback.
A senior will be under center for Randolph-Macon next fall, and Chandler said he welcomes the opportunity to learn for a season.
The Yellow Jackets staff said they would bring Chandler on as a quarterback, but that they liked his athleticism in case he needed to be moved.
Chandler was the Panthers' leading rusher the past two seasons. He finished with 1,127 yards rushing and seven touchdowns during his three seasons as Lakeside's starting quarterback, and threw for more than 3,000 yards.
"He's always had the tools," Lakeside football coach Jody Grooms said. "The first time I saw him throw a football, I knew we had something special."
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