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Michael Carvell

Star running back cleared to play for Georgia Tech

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All-State running back Travis Custis of Lovejoy High School signed with Georgia Tech over Wisconsin and FSU, among others, last February (shown here), but had to delay his enrollment because of NCAA Clearinghouse issues. Custis could've requested his LOI release and been a hotly-pursed prospect on this year's recruiting market but he opted to stick with Georgia Tech. He began classes on Tuesday. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

All-State running back Travis Custis of Lovejoy High School signed with Georgia Tech over Wisconsin and FSU, among others, last February (shown here), but had to delay his enrollment because of NCAA Clearinghouse issues. Custis could’ve requested his LOI release and been a hotly-pursed prospect on this year’s recruiting market but he opted to stick with Georgia Tech. He began classes on Tuesday. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

One of Atlanta’s top high school football players began classes at Georgia Tech on Tuesday after being approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Travis Custis is an All-State running back from Lovejoy High School who initially signed with Georgia Tech last February but had to delay his enrollment.

“It’s just a big relief for him,” his father, Travis Custis Sr., told the AJC on Tuesday.

“He has been smiling this whole week. Matter of fact, I just got off the phone with him. He was excited to get back and be around his teammates. He’s just excited to be there and ready to compete.”

It has been a long and windy road for the 3-star prospect who was rated as the third-highest member of Georgia Tech’s 2013 class, per 247sports composite rankings (Based on the team’s needs this past season, Custis could’ve been the Yellow Jackets’ most important recruit).

After signing with Georgia Tech last February, Custis enrolled in summer school and made a huge impression in voluntary workouts. However, just before preseason practice, Custis was sent home because he didn’t pass his high school graduation test.

At that point, Custis could’ve forced Georgia Tech to release him from his letter of intent and been a hotly-pursued free agent on this year’s recruiting market. He had signed with the Yellow Jackets over Wisconsin and FSU, among others, last year. However, despite feelers from other schools, Custis opted to stick with Georgia Tech.

“Georgia Tech has always been our choice,” his father said. “Coach Paul Johnson and (assistant Buzz) Preston never altered from their commitment to us, even with the NCAA Clearinghouse issues.

“They gave us their word on a lot of things, including the recruiting of other running backs, and they did everything they promised us. That’s the reason we stayed with Georgia Tech. We never considered anywhere else. We were committed to the very end.”

While separated from his Georgia Tech teammates, Custis sat out the fall semester and prepped for the test – which he passed on his first attempt in October. He also worked out with a personal trainer for four days per week, 2.5 hours per day.

“They worked on speed and agility, hill climbing, and on his leg strength,” his father said. “He’s pretty much in shape. Travis stayed focused and stayed healthy. He just couldn’t wait to get back, and he couldn’t get back quick enough.”

On Sunday, Custis reported to Georgia Tech with four members of this year’s class who are enrolling early – quarterback Matthew Jordan, linebacker Tre Jackson, cornerback Step Durham, and linebacker KeShun Freeman. Custis will be rooming with Corey Griffin, the safety from Sandy Creek High School who signed with Georgia Tech last year.

And Custis is hoping to regain the momentum from last summer that made him a schoolboy legend in Clayton County. Custis led Lovejoy to back-to-back appearances in the state championship game in Georgia’s largest classification.

“Coach Johnson said he could’ve helped the team this past season,” the elder Custis said. “Travis was with the team, but only in spirit. Hopefully, next season it will be a different story. He wants to do the same type of things that he did at Lovejoy for Georgia Tech.”

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