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Meet The Sun Belt's Best Tight End: South Alabama's Gerald Everett

Only playing his senior year of high school football, Gerald Everett took the long route to a starring role at South Alabama.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

To tell the story of South Alabama star tight end Gerald Everett, you have to go all the way back to his high school days in Georgia.

Everett, a basketball and track star, started his high school career at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. Before the start of his senior year, Everett made the most to to Columbia High School for his final year.

The Decatur, Georgia school suddenly had an excellent athlete that would be a perfect fit for the football team. The coaching staff for the Eagles football program convinced the inexperienced Everett to play during his senior season.

Playing football for Columbia High School during his senior season, the receiver was nearly unstoppable in earning All-Region and All-State honors. He was invited to the Georgia All-Star game held in the Georgia Dome. Despite his breakout season, the sudden star player was not getting the offers he wanted from colleges due to his lack of experience on the football field.

Tennessee State, West Georgia, Ole Miss, and Ohio showed interest at different levels, but none of those programs was his final choice. Instead, FCS program Bethune-Cookman made a scholarship offer to Everett and he quickly committed to the school. Everett signed with the Wildcats in February of 2012, headed to the program for his freshman year.

It is amazing just how quickly things can change.

With his freshman season within sight, Everett changed his mind and decided to not join the Bethune-Cookman program. Everett decided that time in junior college would be a much better bet to prove his worth to FBS programs. After a frenzied decision making process, Everett landed with a historical JUCO power, the Hutchinson Community College Blue Dragons.

The tight end spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons at the JUCO, earning looks from several FBS programs in the process. In the end, UAB's first year head coach Bill Clark offered him a chance to be part of the his first recruiting class at UAB. Everett jumped at that opportunity and signed with the Blazers, moving from one team with a dragon mascot to another with a dragon mascot.

During his 2014 sophomore season, Everett started to find his role with the suddenly resurgent Blazers. He was still a bit of a tweener, but was getting playing time as a tight end. Everett ended the season with 17 catches for 292 yards and one touchdown in the 6-6 season for UAB.

Expecting to build upon his solid sophomore season, Everett was instead left scrambling for a new college. The sudden elimination of the UAB football program meant that Everett would be associated with his fourth different college football program in three years.

In the end, the choice was easy for Everett. He decided to follow UAB offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent as a member of the South Alabama Jaguars. Along with Josh Magee, Kalen Jackson, Cody Clements, D.J. Vinson, Evan Orth, John Robinson, and Cameron Blankenship, Everett was now part of the Sun Belt Conference.

The first thing asked out of Everett was to gain some weight. The Jaguars coaching staff had big plans in store for the 6-4 tight end, but he had to get some weight added to become a full time tight end. Once he gained the weight asked of him, the playbook fully opened for the incoming junior.

All Everett did in his first season is catch a team-high 41 passes for 575 yards and eight touchdowns. He also became a goalline option at running the football, scoring four touchdowns on eight carries. Everett led the team in catches, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and total touchdowns. He even threw a touchdown pass to Clements this season. His excellent play led the Sun Belt into naming him to both their First Team All-Sun Belt team and their All-Newcomer team.

While he is missing out on a bowl berth by a single loss, Everett has put his stamp on the program. One more year of excellent play and the rising senior will state a very good case for a spot on an NFL roster.