Thursday, August 21, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
“Without a doubt, I cannot think of a place I would rather
be than here at UTC playing football. The veteran players welcomed me this
summer as a junior college transfer with open arms.”
UTC defensive back Jay Hay
It’s been a crazy, at times frustrating and difficult, four-year
football journey for Dade County, Fla. native Jeremiah “Jay” Hay.
But after a long, winding crisscrossing the nation journey,
the 22-year-old 5-10 talented cornerback for the UTC Mocs is finally settled
“I have been through some tough times the past four years
but through God’s grace UTC is where I need to be,” said the All-Dade County
quarterback as a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in the fall of
2010. “The Lord is my ultimate source
and I know I cannot rely on man, but to rely only on God who has been my
So open up your Rand McNally or turn on your gps and here we
With a resume showing five colleges in less than four years,
he not only has changed climates and time zones more times than politicians on
the campaign trail, he has also earned an unofficial degree in cross-cultural history.
From the sun and surf of South Beach to Oxford, Miss. (Ole
Miss) and the ultimate in Deep South football tradition to America's melting
pot of immigrants in New York’s borough of Brooklyn to more fun and sun and
playing a little football in Pasadena, Calif. Then back to Dade County (Fla.) Junior
College (to earn his Associates of Arts Degree) and round two in the Deep South
He knows more deans of admission on a first name basis than
Johnny Football knows bouncers at clubs from Las Vegas to Chicago.
One year he is cheering on the NBA Heat and boyhood hero D
Wade to saying “y’all” and learning that grits and biscuits, The Bible, Hotty
Toddy and three Miss America alums are all somehow connected in a small, coat
and tie, yes ma’am, yes sir southern town culture to the cold, fast-paced yet
opportunistic Big Apple to the land of the ‘60s Beach Boys music with Help me
Rhonda, Little Deuce Coupe and the Little Old Lady from Pasadena.
“Thanks to former Ole Miss assistant coach Barnie Farras and
my mentor and high school coach Shaeed Samuels, I have continued my college
football career, work toward a college degree and work part time earning some
money to help take care of my (five year old) son, Jamar, who lives with his
mother in Dade County,” said Hay who hopes to have Jamar attend a Mocs home
game this fall.
Hotty Toddy: Graduating from Booker T. Washington with a 3.5
in the spring of 2011, Hay headed to Ole Miss that fall as a preferred walk-on with
an academic scholarship and the hopes and dreams of playing big time college
But by the winter of 2012 and having gone through two falls
and no game action with the Rebels, Hay decided to look elsewhere.
“I enjoyed my time at Ole Miss, but when I didn’t get a
scholarship and believing I was as good or better than the guys ahead of me on
the team, I thought it best to move on,” Hay stated.
“Coach Farras was great in putting me in contact with the
football staff at ASA Junior College in Brooklyn and I was on the roster for
the spring 2013 semester.”
The Big Apple: While ASA provided room and tuition on
campus, Hay and his fellow teammates had no on-campus food courts available
which caused Hay some financial difficulties even with a part time job.
“I was making straight As in the classroom, going through
spring practice and holding down a part time job, but in the end it was not the
best fit for me.”
He then returned home to spend time with his son and work
part-time in the summer of 2013 before another football opportunity in Pasadena
came available for that fall.
Hay played in most of the games at Pasadena (Calif.) City College and made As
and Bs before transferring to Dade County (Fla.) Junior College this past spring to
complete his AA degree.
“I had a few schools interested in me (Fresno State, San
Diego State, Idaho, Murray State (Ky,), but in the end UTC was my best option.
“Coach Samuels contacted UTC defensive coordinator Adam
Braithwaite for me and once I earned by AA degree in July I was a Moc,” stated
Hay with a smile.
“I love it here at UTC and want to be part of something
special with this football program. It’s a real brotherhood on the team and the
guys have embraced me and made me feel part of the team more than at any other
Season Opener: With the season opener a week away at Central
Michigan, Hay has proved to be a valuable member of the defensive unit and
currently is a capable back-up to returning starter Dee Virgin.
“Jay has come a long way since arriving here in late July
and gets better each day,” said UTC defensive backs coach B.J. Hogan. “He moves
well, has good feet, gives us depth at defensive back and his best football is
ahead of him.”
Now on full scholarship with Pell Grant money in which to
help his son and having found a college home, Hay’s best days are definitely in
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org