Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

CAMILLA -- He ran one of the wildest, most unpredictable pass routes in the nation, zigging and zagging from Southwest Georgia to Stanford, stutter-stepping back to Georgia and the Bulldogs, then bolting again with a wobbly fade route to Louisville -- a route that faded as quickly as it had begun before finally tracing his steps back home with a heartfelt sprint to Athens.

"No, I'm not winded,'' said Justin Scott-Wesley, who finally signed with the Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday evening in a ceremony at Mitchell County High.

At last, the fastest football player in the Peach State finally stopped running, landing squarely with both feet dug deep in the Georgia clay -- his mind and heart in sync and his future bound to the Georgia Bulldogs.

"This is the Dream Team,'' he said, echoing Georgia coach Mark Richt's affectionate name for arguably the greatest recruiting class during his tenure. "The dream is to win the SEC Championship, to win a national championship and to bring Georgia back to its hey-day."

Scott-Wesley hopes to have an impact as a receiver and kick returner -- and anything else the Bulldogs want to do with him.

Scott-Wesley is so dangerous on the field, where he is a step away from a touchdown every time he touches the ball in the open field. He could be a Percy Harvin-type player for the Bulldogs. He is literally the fastest football player in the state. He broke the Class AA record in the 100-meter dash last spring at 10.35 seconds, the fifth-fastest time in the nation.

Scott-Wesley won both the 100-meter and 200-meter titles last spring, then stood on the podium and announced to the world that he was going to Georgia. And that was just one of the twists and turns of his recruiting journey that caught the national spotlight.

Scott-Wesley originally committed to Stanford last winter, then changed to Georgia with his track meet announcement -- complete with a Georgia cap and a red Georgia hoody -- then he made a trip to Louisville in December and said he was considering signing with Charlie Strong's team.

"With Stanford, I made that decision based strictly on academics,'' said Scott-Wesley, who has a 3.6 GPA. "I wasn't considering the football team or the aspect of living in California. That's why I changed my mind. Then when I committed to Georgia, I felt at the time that's where my heart was telling me to go.''

That changed when Georgia's season went through a freefall, and rumblings about Richt's job security accompanied every SEC report in the country.

"I heard the rumors about coach Richt not returning, and that's when I started looking around,'' Scott-Wesley said. "But when I made my official visit to Athens (on Dec. 17), I sat down with coach Richt and he assured me that he was returning to coach the team. That's when I decided I was going to Georgia. That's where my heart was (all along).''

Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo then made a trip to Camilla two weeks ago to meet with Scott-Wesley, who reassured both that he was Georgia bound.

He shared the stage Thursday with Mitchell County's Jesse Atkins, who sifted through a number of offers and then chose Albany State, where he plans on helping the Rams take the next step after a historic year that saw ASU reach the NCAA D-II quarterfinals.

"They came close to winning a national title this year,'' Atkins said. "And I want to help them win a national championship.''

Atkins can do just about anything the Rams need. He played both ways, and combined for more than 1,000 yards as a quarterback, rushing for more than 700 and throwing for more than 300 yards. He also played receiver and racked up more than 200 yards worth of receptions. He ran back five kickoffs for more than 300 yards, including an 85-yard TD return against Westover.

But football wasn't the deciding factor for Atkins, who has a 3.0 GPA.

"To be honest, they had my major,'' said Atkins, who had offers from Charleston Southern, Fort Valley State and Valdosta State. "It will be a great experience to play in front of my friends and family at Albany State, and they have a great football program, but the biggest reason is that my major is mechanical engineering, and they offered it.

"One of my coaches, Jermaine King, who is the linebackers coach, told me that: You have four years of football and 40 years of engineering. I just kept thinking about what he said, and that's why I'm going to Albany State.''

His choice was a bit easier than the long and winding road Scott-Wesley took, but in the end Scott-Wesley's family couldn't have been happier.

"I'm glad it's over,'' said Scott-Wesley's grandmother, Alice Grissom. "I'm very, very happy with the choice he made. I'm just about as glad as he is that it's over and he's going to Georgia. He had to make up his mind, and I'm glad he will be close to home.''

His father, Johnny Wesley, was by his son's side Thursday when he signed the letter of intent.

"I'm relieved to get it over with,'' he said. "He had to make his own decision, and we're glad he's going to Georgia.''

Scott-Wesley was dressed for the part, looking dapper and debonair in a red shirt, red tie and a black Georgia sweater with red trim. He couldn't stop smiling as he thought about his future -- which looks even brighter and better than his wardrobe.

"He's a great kid with a great work ethic, and he has great morals instilled in him from his family,'' said Mitchell County coach Dondrial Pinkins, who watched Scott-Wesley come early and then stay late after practice. Scott-Wesley even arranged impromptu Saturday afternoon practices with the team.

And now, Scott-Wesley is exactly where he wants to be.

"My heart told me to go to Georgia,'' he said.