In a little more than one year, Daniel Drummond left a permanent mark at Flowery Branch High.
It started in the spring of 2008, when he won a state title in the discus after transfering from West Hall. It continued in the fall, when Drummond put the football team on his back and propelled them to the Class AAA state title game, and it concluded in the spring of 2009, when he won state titles in the discus and shot put at the 2009 Georgia Olympics in Jefferson.
The final year of his high school career was something that Drummond will always remember, and now it will be on permanent display as he is the latest, and youngest, member of the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame’s Elite 10.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Drummond, who will showcase his athletic prowess for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team this fall. “I’m very excited and very proud. It’s awesome.”
So was Drummond during the Falcons’ run to the Georgia Dome.
His determination and skill set were on display during Flowery Branch’s quarterfinal game against Baldwin, when he entered the game on offense in the second half. One half was all he needed as he finished the game with 90 yards rushing, three touchdowns and a ticket to the Class AAA state semifinals.
If the game against Baldwin was a coming out party, Drummond’s performance against LaGrange in the semifinals was a culmination of his athletic aptitude. He rushed for a career-high 258 yards and three touchdowns against the Grangers, sending Flowery Branch to the state title game for the first time in school history.
Despite the Falcons’ loss to Cairo in the championship game, Drummond — who rushed for 1,102 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior season — says that the trip to the title game was so special that it outweighs the two state titles in track.
“Going to the Dome probably will be more memorable because that was something I never really dreamed of,” said Drummond, who recorded 72 tackles and nine sacks on defense in 2008. “Just getting there is probably one of the greatest achievements of my life.”
That says a lot, considering that just five months after walking off the field at the Georgia Dome he was holding two state titles as he left the track at Jefferson Memorial Stadium.
“I kind of figured I had a good chance at winning both titles,” Drummond said.
While his confidence level was high, Drummond had no idea that he would win both titles by such a large margin. His throw of 169 feet, 6 inches in the discus was more than three feet further than second-place finisher Jerry King of Dunwoody, and his 57-6.5 result in the shot put bested runner-up Johnny Moore of Monroe by more than a foot.
For Drummond, that was the perfect way to cap off an unforgettable senior year, and being the youngest athlete honored by the Hall of Fame only adds to that memory.
“I worked really, really hard and it’s a great honor to be the youngest person involved,” he said.
The Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is located in the Northeast Georgia History Center on the campus of Brenau University.
The History Center will recognize athletic excellence at a luncheon at 11:30 a.m., Aug. 29, at the Georgia Mountains Center in downtown Gainesville. Guest speaker Damon Evans, Athletic Director for the University of Georgia, will help honor 15 Northeast Georgia Athletes and one highly successful team. There will be five retired athletes inducted into the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and an additional “Elite 10” athletes, some of Northeast Georgia’s best athletes of the last 10 years.
Table sponsorships are available for $350, and table sponsors may choose to have their table host one of the athletes to be recognized on a first-come, first-served basis. A limited number of individual tickets are available for $25. Call the History Center at 770-297-5900 to make your reservations.