Ex-Georgia Tech player gets fresh start in middle of Kansas

Former Georgia Tech player Travis Custis (Phil Skinner/AJC)

Former Georgia Tech player Travis Custis (Phil Skinner/AJC)

If some things had gone a little differently, Travis Custis and Alvin Kamara could’ve been opposing running backs when Georgia Tech and UGA squares off in a couple of weeks.

Instead, after some twists and turns for both Atlanta football standouts, they both found themselves sharing the backfield for junior college in the middle of Kansas this season.

“It was like ‘Thunder and Lightning,’” said their coach.

Kamara and Custis actually played against each other for the 2012 state championship, with Kamara’s Norcross High School team defeating Custis and Lovejoy. Kamara announced for Alabama over UGA that signing day. He left the Crimson Tide after a rough freshman year for Hutchinson Community College to get a fresh start.

Custis also signed with Georgia Tech that same year but had to delay his enrollment until after the 2013 season while meeting admissions requirements. He was prepared to play for the Yellow Jackets this season, but was declared academically ineligible, leading to his arrival in Kansas.

At Hutchinson this season, Custis had 127 carries for 727 yards and seven touchdowns.

“Travis has done a really good job,” Hutchinson coach Rion Rhoades told the AJC. “Both of those guys have handled sharing the backfield pretty well. That’s not always easy for guys to do that are as good as they are – to be willing to share the load, give up carries and be unselfish. I applaud both of them for handling that very well this season.

“Travis is a different kind of back than Alvin, which is another real positive for us. It’s like ‘Thunder and Lightning’ with those two. Travis is special. He’s very athletic. He’s just not a run-you-over type of guy, even though he’s a big back. They are definitely different. Defenders have to deal with each one a little bit differently, and that has been a strength for our offense. They are both very, very high-level players.

“We were kind of a second-chance place for both of them, and that was pretty cool. I’ve really enjoyed both of them.”

Custis will be able to transfer to a four-year school this summer. He’s not returning to Georgia Tech because Hutchinson didn’t offer the necessary math classes. His coach is expecting his recruiting to pick up within the next month.

“I know there are a lot of people that like him,” Rhoades said. “Travis is going to be a May graduate. Things aren’t as quite as hot and heavy yet. His visits will come in January. Things aren’t as rushed with him to get things narrowed down.

“That’s something I will do in the next few weeks – meet with him and get an idea on what he wants to try and do. Then we’ll see his options and narrow it down. I know a lot of people have been calling him, but I’ve got to see what he wants to do.”

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