RUSTON, La. — Former Lee County star receiver Sanford Seay has been on a rocky journey since winning The Herald’s inaugural “People’s Choice Player of the Year” award in 2010.
But Seay, who was kicked out of Georgia in 2011 and spent the last two years at Itawamba Community College in Mississippi, has landed on his feet.
The star wideout signed with Louisiana Tech earlier this week and will be eligible to practice in the spring with two years of eligibility remaining. Seay missed all of last season with a thigh injury and saw several top Division I programs lose interest in him, but he said Louisiana Tech never wavered from its scholarship offer and stuck by his side through the injury.
“It was during the spring before the injury came about that everybody was most interested in me,” said Seay, who added that he had scholarship offers from Illinois, Ole Miss, North Texas, Marshall and others. “Some of them just stopped communicating with me (after the injury), but Louisiana Tech was one of the schools who stood by me. They didn’t give up on me, just like my family wouldn’t give up on me. They were like family believing I would get back healthy and make an impact on the program.”
Seay was medically cleared a month ago, and Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz believes his newest receiver will make an “immediate impact” on the Bulldogs, who finished 4-8 this season and below .500 for the first time in three years.
“With some of the road blocks he’s hit along the way, I think he’s really excited to get back out on the field and make an impact,” Holtz told The Monroe (La.) News Star.
Holtz added: “Sanford’s a bigger, athletic wide receiver. When you look at his senior year in high school, he led the state of Georgia in receptions. Very talented player. He’s a guy that has a chance to come in and have an immediate impact.”
Seay was expected to contend for playing time at Georgia — and possibly a starting job — after being redshirted his freshman season, but he was booted from the team by coach Mark Richt for violating team rules along with quarterback Nick Marshall, who landed at Auburn and has led the Tigers to the BCS national championship game.
On Friday, Seay said he’s matured in his two years under the radar at a junior college.
“I learned that I need to grow up and put all those childish things aside,” said Seay, who had a monster senior year at Lee County with 68 catches for 1,105 yards and 15 TDs. “Partying, everything like that I just have to put that aside and just concentrate on being a leader on the field and off the field and playing a positive role on the field and in the classroom.”
As a freshman in 2012 at Itawamba, Seay played in all nine games and was fourth on the team in receptions with 27 catches for 377 yards and three touchdowns.
But even after a mediocre freshman year and a sophomore year spent entirely on the sidelines, Seay thinks he’s a better receiver than he was three years ago while at Georgia.
“Knowledge-wise after learning more things, I feel like I’m a better player and a more mature player,” he said.
Seay is expected to contend for a starting job next season with the Bulldogs.
“As far as leadership goes, they feel like I can play a good role being a mature guy having gone through JUCO,” he said. “As far as a receiver goes, they feel like I can be a leader in that area. I have learned a lot, and I bring a lot of stuff to the table when it comes to the receiver position.”