Former Tennessee running back Treyvon Paulk was asked how he felt about getting a second chance to play college football.
“Second chance? I guess you could say that, yes,” Paulk told the AJC on Monday night. “I just want to capitalize off the opportunity.”
Some of the biggest high school football stars to come out of the Atlanta area will be playing together in … Kansas this season.
It wasn’t supposed to be that way for Paulk or ex-Alabama running back Tyren Jones or the others that initially signed with Power 5 conference schools out of high school.
But for one reason or another, the road led them to Hutchinson junior college – where they all seek to find their path again to big-time college football.
“That’s kind of our niche in college football — we’re a second-chance place for some guys for a variety of reasons,” Hutchinson coach Rion Rhoades explained. “Sometimes it’s a conduct issue, sometimes it’s an academic issue, and sometimes the guy is under-recruited.
“I think my big job is to hear out these guys and try to sort out things … you know, just get a feel for them. Are they humble kids that made mistakes? Are they worth giving another shot to?
“I really like Treyvon and Tyren, in terms of the type of kids they are. Every kid is capable of making a mistake, but I don’t feel like these guys are any more than a risk than any kid coming in. They are probably even less of a risk because they’ve learned their lesson.”
Jones, who played at Walton High School, was dismissed from Alabama this spring after being arrested for marijuana possession. He signed with Hutchinson on Monday.
Paulk, who starred at Milton High School, was dismissed from Tennessee after his alleged role in a domestic violence incident last September. He signed with Hutchinson a few weeks ago, but didn’t reveal it to the media until Monday.
“I’ve been signed for a while now — I just wanted to get it out there before I leave,” Paulk said. “My best friend is Alvin Kamara, and he played at Hutchinson this past season. He turned me onto the program. I just had a few conversations with the coaches out there, and I really liked them. This was an opportunity for me to go back and (eventually) play at a big university again.”
Will Paulk miss playing football at Tennessee? “No, I won’t. I’ve got friends there. The situation happened, and it happened. But honestly, I’m looking forward to Hutchinson. I’ve moved forward.”
Kamara, the AJC’s Mr. Football for 2012, was another successful project at Hutchinson. Kamara signed with Alabama over UGA out of Norcross High School, but left the Crimson Tide after his freshman season for several reasons. Kamara spent last season at Hutchinson, earning his two-year degree and transferring in January to Tennessee – where he roomed with Paulk and former Milton receiver Ryan Jenkins.
This past season at Hutchinson, Kamara shared the backfield with Travis Custis, who left Georgia Tech after being declared academically ineligible. Custis has one more semester left in junior college before he can transfer to a four-year school.
Paulk will be joined at Hutchinson this season by former Camden County defensive back Kalvaraz Bessent, who left Auburn after the fall semester.
“He (Bessent) had a really good spring with us,” Rhoades said. “I think he has a chance to be a really good player.
“It’s same the type of deal as the others. One of the coaches that recruits South Georgia had met him in high school and recruited him for us. He (Bessent) ended up making it to Auburn. We had met him, at least, and he knew who we were. When he left Auburn, we were able to get back and connect with him, and get him out here this spring. You know how it is? You try to build those good relationships, and sometimes they come around, whether it works in the beginning or not.”