You would be hard pressed to find a better young man to represent Columbia County than former Evans tailback Cheng Ho.
Ho is wrapping up his college football career at Harvard this season, and he is doing his best to make it memorable.
On Oct. 3, Ho made his first start of the season after missing some time with an injury. He wasted little time showcasing the talent that made him a former Co-Player of the Year in Columbia County. He carried the ball 21 times for 132 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a 13-yard pass for a touchdown as Harvard beat Lehigh 28-14.
Last week, the Crimson notched their fourth victory of the season with a 37-3 whipping of Princeton as Ho rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Ho and his teammates are 4-2 overall and 3-0 in Ivy League play as they try to win their third consecutive crown.
Playing college football and earning a degree from Harvard would have been extremely lofty goals for anyone, but Ho is even more remarkable. When he moved to Columbia County from his native Taiwan, he enrolled at Lakeside Middle School and could not speak English. So Harvard and American football were not exactly the goals most people would have set for him.
It is a good thing that Ho did the "goal-setting" for himself. The young man who always seemed to have a smile on his face not only learned how to speak English, but six years after he arrived in Georgia he would share salutatorian honors for his Evans High School graduating class.
He also became a force in football.
Ho led the county in rushing during his senior season, rushing for 935 yards and 12 touchdowns on 158 carries. He also stole the show in one of the Knights' biggest wins of the year when he torched Greenbrier for 278 yards and three touchdowns.
Following his career at Evans, Ho enrolled at a prep school to continue to improve his English and to prepare himself physically for the rigors of college football. He then made the leap to the Ivy League.
As a freshman in 2006, Ho lettered as the Crimson's backup tailback to All-American Clifton Dawson. The following year was Ho's coming out party. He was named All-Ivy League after rushing for 722 yards and eight touchdowns on 152 carries.
His sophomore campaign had several memorable moments. Ho rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown in his first college start, and he reeled off three consecutive 100-yard games in October. He was a key factor in Harvard claiming the Ivy League crown.
Injuries derailed his junior season. He played in only five games, but managed to play a major role in the Crimson's Ivy League championship repeat.
In a key win vs. Lafayette, Ho had 195 all-purpose yards, including 106 yards rushing on 20 carries. He helped seal the victory with a key 51-yard scamper late in the game.
Off the field, Ho has become one of the more popular young men on campus. He is a fixture at most Crimson home sporting events and is on target to graduate with a degree in economics with a minor in psychology.
He has also become an ambassador for the school.
This summer, Ho was asked to join the NFL in a program designed to help promote football in China. He gladly accepted the invitation, but had no idea just how popular his appearance would be.
When he arrived for his portion of the event, which included an appearance on a reality television show, there were more than two dozen reporters on hand to talk to one of the faces of American football in China.
Harvard is unbeaten in conference play and appears primed for a third consecutive Ivy League title. There is no question Ho will play a role in the Crimson's pursuits this season.
Another league crown would certainly be another feather in the cap for Ho, but I have a feeling he is far from done making Evans High and Columbia County proud.
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