About 11 o’clock Tuesday night, James ‘J.T.’ Hamilton posted on his Facebook page, "I'M A BULL."
And so the flip was official.
Hamilton, a 6-foot-3, 338-pound defensive tackle, who also plays on the offensive line at Orlando Olympia High, has switched his college commitment from Florida State to the University of South Florida.
“Me and my family sat down and talked about it and it seemed like the right thing for me and my family,” Hamilton wrote via instant message of his switch to USF, where cousin Corian Hamilton, a likely redshirt, is a freshman linebacker. “Playing time played a role in my decision a little bit but the major role was staying close to home so I can be close to my mom and lil sis.”
Hamilton, who has been slowed by a back injury and has not quite looked like the dominant player most had become accustomed to seeing on the field, said he did not get his scholarship pulled by FSU.
“No sir, they didn’t,” replied Hamilton, who said he broke the news to assistant coaches Odell Haggins and Rick Trickett. “They didn’t like it, but who would?
“I have had a bad back problem since the beginning of the season but the last two weeks I have been resting and getting treatment and last week’s bye week has really given me the time to rest and get back to where I was before. So these next few weeks you should see me dominating the line of scrimmage like I used too!”
Even after his FSU commitment June 19, USF kept recruiting the big lineman.
“The coaching staff is great, the campus is amazing and the faculties were amazing too and it just seemed like the right place for me,” Hamilton wrote in the instant message interview.
Hamilton noted that he figures he can get on the field faster at USF, which also played a role in his change. The Bulls will use Hamilton strictly as a defensive lineman. He had originally been projected as an offensive lineman out of high school, but once FSU got him to a camp in Tallahassee, those assessments changed.
“I will start off at the 1 in the 4-3 look and NG in the 3-5 look,” Hamilton wrote. “Then as I grasp that I will learn to play the 3.”
Olympia is 4-3 on the season and 2-0 in Class 8A, District 4. The Titans have three games remaining, two against district foes Wekiva (4-3, 1-1) and Ocoee (2-5, 0-2). A win over Wekiva clinches the district title for Olympia, which holds the tie-breaker advantage over Apopka and West Orange, having already beaten both teams.
The Titans end the season against non-district Daytona Beach Mainland (6-1) and the Bucs' nearly impenetrable defense. Mainland, led by standout defensive ends Leonard Williams and Quentin Powell, has won six straight games – including four straight shutouts. The Bucs have allowed just 40 points all season (5.7 points per game).