DECATUR - Kendrun Malcome was a precocious four-year old when his grandfather took him to the local park and strapped on some kid-sized football pads for the very first time.
"For some reason I was pretty good," smiled Malcome, who made it official Tuesday by verbally committing to Georgia.
Not much has changed.
At 6-foot and 215 pounds and one of the top running backs in the state, Malcome has been opening eyes for a couple of years now, particularly among the many recruiters who found their way to watch him play.
With offers from 22 different schools, Malcome carefully waded through each one before settling on Georgia, but not without carefully considering Florida.
But slowly, the Bulldogs began making more sense.
"I really started thinking of Georgia about a month ago," Malcome said. "Then about two weeks ago I just started telling myself that I couldn't see myself playing anywhere else except of a powerhouse school like Georgia because of the way it runs the ball."
Nicknamed "Boo" by his friends, Malcome said Georgia's offensive philosophy is ultimately what cinched his decision to don the Red and Black.
"I was considering a lot of schools but I knew they weren't going to suit my style, such as Florida," he said. "A lot of schools do a lot of spread like West Virginia, but when it comes down to it, I can't switch my style. I wanted to play in a pro-style offense, that's why I picked Georgia."
Southwest Dekalb assistant coach Damien Wimes obviously knows Malcome quite well.
Wimes first caught a gander of Malcome while he was still in middle school and knew right away that the Panthers would have someone very unique on their hands.
"He was a man among boys," Wimes said. "He ran the 100-meter hurdles, played tailback and we knew we had something very special. He did have to improve his work ethic because everything had come so easy for him, but once we convinced him to do things our way we knew he would be something."
Malcome said he finally started believing that himself once he reached the 10th grade.
That was when he started think that this "football thing" may work out pretty good after all.
"That was when I started having a lot of scouts and recruiters coming by," he said. "That's when I really started thinking about it (a college scholarship)."
But as his star began to grow, grandmother Beverly Malcome made sure her grandson towed the line.
Although one of his biggest supporters, the future Bulldog said deserves much of the credit for making him the young man that he is today.
"I played all three sports - basketball, baseball and football - and she and my grandfather came to all my games," Malcome said. "But she also made sure I stayed on track. She's always been there for me every since I was very young."
He looks to her for wisdom to this very day.
"I try to take advantage of it and I try to stay out of trouble because I want to make her and my family proud," Malcome said. "I don't want to ever disappoint them or anything. I always want to make sure they still love me."
Although his grandparents didn't push Malcome to any one school, they certainly didn't mind when he told them he was about to become a Bulldog.
According to Malcome, both grandparents have been following Georgia long before he was born and are eagerly looking forward to attend games in Sanford Stadium to watch him play."
"They're excited for me they've always told me to stay humble and don't let all this go to my head because there is always somebody better than you," Malcome said. "They've always told me to stay humble, be it in high school, college or whatever level you play."
Malcome recently strutted his stuff during the Panthers' spring game.
Although he was ill, Malcome carried three times, picking up just over 100 yards, including an 86-yard touchdown run when he outran several would-be tackles to complete the scoring play.
"I've got good balance. People think I can't outrun them, but if I get in front of you you're not going to catch me," Malcome said. "I've got breakaway speed. People don't think I can do that, but I can. I don't just have to run them over."
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