By RODNEY YOUNG
Fort Chiswell – The athletes name is Daniel Hamm. He’s 5’11″, 190 pounds, and he plays football, basketball and track for the Fort Chiswell Pioneers. This is his third year on the varsity basketball team. Last year he help lead them to the state semi-finals. In track he has set a state record in the triple jump with a mark of 45′ 11″. In football this past season he rushed for 1,902 yards, caught 23 passes for 330 yards, and he had over 250 more yards on punt and kickoff returns. Hamm finished with over 2,500 all purpose yards and scored 26 total touchdowns, 22 of them rushing and four receiving.
There’s no wonder a couple of major universities have come calling. Those two would be the Virginia Cavaliers and the Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia assistant coach Scott Wachenheim is recruiting him for the Cavaliers and Virginia Tech assistant coach Charley Wiles is in charge of recruiting him for the Hokies.
Recently the Virginia Cavaliers offered Daniel a spot as a “preferred walk-on” for football and track. Virginia Tech matched their offer immediately. A preferred walk-on is an athlete with all the privileges of a scholarship athlete, except for the tuition assistance. Hamm has a grade point average of around 3.85. Both universities have informed him that they will work with him for football and track.
When asked, Daniel said, “I want to major in kinesiology and prefer going to a major university.” For those of us who don’t know, mainly me, kinesiology is the study of human movement, also know as human kinetics.
Daniel should do well in that field with all his football, track, and basketball movement. In football he was a running back and defensive back. Track wise he not only triple jumps, but he also throws the shot put, throws discus, and runs the 100 meter dash, 4×400 meter, and 4×100 relays. He’s also the starting point guard on the basketball team.
Head Coach Derrick Jackson of the Fort Chiswell Pioneers remarked, “you couldn’t ask for a better young man. He works hard, he’s a pleasure to be around. Daniel does whatever I’ve asked of him. He comes from a great family. Whatever he decides he will do well. He will find a way to get it done.”
Football Head Coach Stephen James for the Pioneers had this to say, “what a tremendous kid. He has a great work ethic, hasn’t meet a stranger, and is friendly with the other kids in school. He’s as good as any young man I’ve had in all my coaching years. He leads by example, and this past season he became more of a vocal leader and we needed that. He’s an extremely good athlete but he’s an even better person.”
Tina Quesenberry, who is a photographer and follows the Pioneers, knows Daniel in some ways better than his coaches. She said, “it’s funny in that Daniel and lots of the kids at the high school like to come over to my house and spend time downstairs hanging out. As a parent myself, thats great because we never have to worry about them. They aren’t out partying and running around. The kids call my downstairs the ‘nest’, and they call themselves the ‘nesters’. ” They got shirts for Christmas that has the ‘nesters’ on them. I think its great.”
Daniel’s parents are Eleanor and Carl Hamm. You can find her keeping the scorebook during basketball games and his dad, more times than not, will be singing the National Anthem at the start of the ballgames. The old saying, “a family that plays together stays together” must be true. His parents are, and certainly should be, very proud of Daniel and all his accomplishments. The family will now make a decision on the options this young man has before him.
Asked if he has a favorite, Daniel will only say, ” I know I want to major in kinesiology, and would like to play both sports (football and track). Both have said they would work with me.”
Hamm has been to Charlottesville back in the summer and really enjoyed himself. Options are there for him, and the decision will be made soon. One of these universities is going to get an outstanding athlete, and a even better person.