Former calhoun star olico dennis gets his shot after long rehab times free press address to georgia state university

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound running back started for parts of four seasons and was a key cog in the yellow jackets going 50-6 in that span, including a 15-0 class AAA state championship season in 2014. Midway through the 2016 season, his prep career ended on what was first believed to be an ACL tear in his right knee.

"When they did the surgery, they found I had also torn my MCL, LCL, meniscus and my hamstring and had partially torn my PCL," said dennis, who at that time was planning to accept an offer to play for an in-state college.

Dennis soon found out the offer — which had been on the table for weeks — had been pulled and other schools that had made offers or shown interest had backed off.

He was facing a massive rehabilitation period, but for what?

"It was rough. Mainly it just killed me mentally," he said. "Am I ever going to get to play again? The original plan after the surgery was to rehab for a year, and once I got into college to sit out my first year and get to play my second year.Said dennis but that didn’t work out."

Fast-forward to this past week when dennis, now "90 percent back," signed a partial scholarship with shorter university in rome, ga. The months in between were filled with hours of leg work and hope someone would take a chance on him.

"After I got hurt, I was close to giving it up," dennis said. "I mean, I had lost nearly every muscle in my legs after a few weeks. But I started thinking about it, and I wasn’t ready to quit without giving it a good shot. It didn’t matter where. I just wanted to play."

Calhoun coach hal lamb isn’t surprised dennis will get his shot, though he’s disappointed his former star had to start the recruiting process over after the injury.

"He’s always been a hard worker, from the day we first met him until he left," lamb said. "He loved the weight room, the conditioning. He was one of those tireless workers.Said dennis

"It really wasn’t fair to him that those schools dropped him. I kept telling and telling them to take a chance on him. He got down because he thought he had a place to play. But it’s like life, and there are bumps in the road, and this was definitely a bump in the road. Hopefully, he can take advantage of this opportunity. I know shorter is getting a good one."

Dennis considered an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at football championship subdivision member tennessee tech, but his visit to cookeville ended with a feeling he didn’t belong. He had considered similar offers from FCS programs kennesaw state and austin peay when a phone call to lamb changed his fortunes.

Shorter, an NCAA division II program coming off a winless 2017 season, had brought in a new coaching staff headed by zach morrison. One of his staff members, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator nic workman, had recruited dennis while at lindsey wilson college and was well aware of the player’s skills.Said dennis

"I called coach workman, and he had watched my film and said they needed running backs," said dennis, who said he’s close to regaining his 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash. "They thought I was at tennessee tech, but when I told them I hadn’t enrolled they offered and I accepted right there."

He will start classes in the fall semester and plans to watch the hawks at spring practice next week. Dennis understands there’s more to do before he takes the field, but after what’s already behind him, that’s not an issue.

"I just want to get my knee to 110 percent," he said. "I plan to get a little stronger and put some more weight on, hopefully to 195 or 200 pounds.