- Corey Dowlar, RecruitingNation
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Every athlete grows up with that one love. Their dream sport that brings out more fulfillment than any other.
ESPN 300 defensive end Davin Bellamy (Chamblee, Ga./Chamblee) did, too. But it wasn't what most would expect.
A full-fledged FBS football prospect, Bellamy's passion was not with the pigskin. He was a basketball player, and a really good one, too. Football was just something to do, something to have fun with.
So while he was always one of the more talented players on the field every Friday night, Bellamy didn't see his own potential at first.
"It was always Option B to basketball," he said. "I didn't take the time to learn the game or focus on technique."
There were some other reasons for that, too. A previous coaching regime didn't see eye to eye with Bellamy and his teammates. The players shut off, went through the motions and played for themselves.
"There was just a disconnect from the coaches to the players. If the head isn't right, then the team won't be right. We had our words. You really don't play hard for a coach that you don't ... it was just a bad thing. I didn't go to summer workouts; the team was just so out of control."
Now, as a Florida State football commitment and everything out in front of him, Bellamy's route is clear. And it is showing. Week by week, Bellamy's stats grow larger. More tackles behind the line of scrimmage, more sacks and more forced turnovers.
He can tell the difference.
"I've always had a quick first step, but now since I am applying myself and running stadiums, it is even quicker," Bellamy said. "My upper body is stronger, too, so it is easier for me on the line of scrimmage. I definitely think taking this football thing seriously is the reason why my numbers were able to increase."
A new coaching staff has helped. They put in the work on and off the field to help their players, Bellamy included, to improve.
That work ethic has rubbed off and now Chamblee's players are going the extra mile. The result is a slower game, one that makes sense, allowing a player like Bellamy to use his superior athleticism to excel.
"This year, we have a coaching staff that have made this team like a family. I haven't missed a day of workouts, I'm in the film room asking questions. I can say that about the guys beside me, too. We take it more serious off the field."
During last week's win, Bellamy saw his labors come to fruition perhaps like never before.
Usually playing as an outside linebacker coming off the edge from a two-point stance, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect moved to the defensive line. It's a different game in there, forcing players to use everything at their disposal.
"I am forced to use my hands," Bellamy said. "Last Friday, it was my first time doing that and I still got two sacks and a bunch of tackles. I had to get out of my comfort zone. Playing inside, it really showed me that when I use technique, I can be much better."
Bellamy is far from a finished product and he'd be the first to admit that. So while he works on staying lower or breaking down to make a tackle after surging past the line of scrimmage, it'll just be a matter of time before it's second nature.
He'll put the time and the work in, because now, there is a purpose.
3dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon