After his junior season at Peachtree Ridge, Brad Roby wasn't sure if college football options would open up for him. A seldom-used wide receiver, he was confident in his ability, but unsure of his limited action on the football field.
He definitely didn't see what would come next.
Phenomenal summer workouts brought high-level scholarship offers, based on the potential of his exceptional speed and athletic ability. The interest kept coming during his senior season when he became an explosive receiver, picked off six passes and scored a touchdown almost every way imaginable.
His whirlwind recruiting journey featured most of the ups and downs of the process, but it had a happy ending Wednesday when he signed his letter of intent with Ohio State.
"It's been a long and crazy process," said Roby, on crutches and in a cast from an ankle injury. "But I think it's worked out for the best. I'm definitely at the place where I need to be."
Roby initially stuck with an early commitment to Vanderbilt, staying true to the Commodores despite heavy pursuit from other colleges, most notably Auburn. He also considered the Tigers seriously and said he nearly committed, but he visited Ohio State before Auburn and fell in love with the Buckeyes, who got some recruiting help from All-Big Ten lineman Cameron Heyward, also a Peachtree Ridge grad.
Ohio State offered in December and he committed in mid-January, forcing him to break bad news to the Vandy coaches.
"That was rough, it's a day I'll never forget," Roby said. "You establish such a relationship with them. It's hard to tell them. I didn't want to but I had to."
The final few weeks leading up to signing day only added more drama. In-state Georgia offered a scholarship late. Reigning national champion Alabama also called about an offer if he was interested.
Once again, he had to ponder his choice.
"That made me think, I mean Alabama was the national champion and I've always liked Georgia," he said. "But Georgia had a chance to offer me in the summer and they didn't."
Roby also had to weigh offense vs. defense, since different schools were recruiting him at different spots. He originally wanted to be a receiver, now he prefers cornerback.
In the end, he's happy with his college and position choices, and equally happy his wild courtship is over.
"I'm happy with Ohio State, just everything felt right there," he said. "There were no negatives I could find with them."
Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Thursdays.