Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
As football season is coming to a close around South Georgia, many seniors are preparing to take the next step in their lives and careers – college. While some athletes decline the opportunity to play football at the next level, Valdosta High Wildcat defensive back Demarcus Rhym knows that it's important to get good grades if he wants to play football in college.
“Get your work done first. Sports and everything else comes second. The most important thing is to get your grades,” said Rhym on a lesson he learned at Valdosta High.
Rhym is an 18-year-old senior at Valdosta High. Rhym was born on Oct. 4, 1995, to Wanda Rhym and Jerry Daniels in Valdosta. Rhym began playing football at J.L. Newbern in the eighth grade. Rhym has an outgoing personality and isn’t afraid to speak about almost anything.
“I'm a really good communicator. I'm not shy at all. I’ll stand in front of a whole crowd and talk and wouldn’t care and people laughed or made fun,” said Rhym.
On the football field, Rhym is an aggressive cornerback who makes accurate plays on the ball and can tackle well. Standing 5’ 9”, 175 pounds, Rhym has 4.6 speed to make him a physical threat against opposing offenses.
“I'm a balanced football player. I can cover well and tackle; I can do it all at defensive back,” commented Rhym. “I’m pretty quick and fast, but my speed could improve a little.”
With VHS football, he learned an important lesson – never be afraid of anything on the field.
“Don’t take nothing from anybody. Be aggressive and don’t be scared of anything. Just play with heart, passion and most importantly have fun,” said Rhym.
At school, Rhym is well known by his peers for being an all-around nice guy.
“I'm a kind person, very nice. I'm humble and a good all-around person,” said Rhym. “I love Valdosta High. I like the football program, the teachers. I actually learn here. I get to have fun with my friends that I've grown up with; it's pretty much a big family here.”
Rhym sees making it to his senior year of high school as his biggest accomplishment thus far in life.
After the passing of his great-grandmother, Rhym learned another life lesson.
“Whenever the family had an event or get together, we would go to my great-grandma’s house. All the family would be together and I would see people I didn’t talk to all the time,” said Rhym. “I have cousins that go to Lowndes and I would finally get to talk to them around her. She made me realize that you have to be kind to others to be a better person.”
As Rhym prepares to leave Valdosta High in May, he feels as if he will leave behind a reputation as a guy that everyone will always remember.
“I’ve always been known throughout high school. I think they’ll remember me as DJ, that guy that everyone knows, a good football player, a guy that can dress; just someone they’ll always remember,” added Rhym.
With college, Rhym already has an idea of what he would like to learn.
“I want to get a better education in college, not just in the classroom, but to learn more about football, too,” said Rhym. “I know playing football is a gift, and I’d be happy to get to play, but whatever school I go to, I just want to make sure I get a better education.”
Interested in sports management, Rhym has not yet decided on a college. Rhym would like to choose from Valdosta State University, Albany State, or Jacksonville State. Rhym has spoken with coaches and recruiters; however, he will take more time to decide.
Rhym feels that his training at Valdosta High will make him an excellent college recruit.
“My time playing at Valdosta High, learning how to cover, make tackles, it will help me make plays wherever I go. I love making plays,” said Rhym.
In college, Rhym would like to help the school and community by giving back in anyway possible.
“I would help my college by helping out with community service. I would go back to talk to younger kids about making good grades in class, and just reaching out to the younger ones to help them do right,” said Rhym.
If he was asked to play another position in college, he would be ready for the challenge.
“I wouldn’t mind switching roles. Playing football, I learned that it doesn’t matter what position you play as long as you're having fun and are aggressive. I wouldn’t mind playing any other position. Whatever the coach wanted me to do, I would do it and give it 100 percent,” said Rhym.
When it comes to adversity, Rhym likes to handle it face to face.
“I take adversity head on. When I’m faced with it, I just open the door, lay out the red carpet, and tell it to come in. I'm always ready for it,” said Rhym.
Electing to not play football as a freshman, Rhym joined the Wildcat football team as a sophomore and used the season to soak up information and learn from older players.
Rhym became a starter at the left cornerback spot in his junior year, which was also his best season statistically.
“I had a lot more playing time then. I was able to make more key plays on balls in the air, make key run stops and made a lot of tackles for losses,” said Rhym.
Rhym’s favorite season was the Wildcat’s 2013 season, which came to a close after a first-round playoff loss to Langston Hughes High of Fairburn.
“Being a captain and leader of the defensive backs, I had the chance to be a big brother over the younger players. I got to help everyone play together as a team,” said Rhym.
Rhym is very close to his teammates, but was not shy to point out two players that he was closer to than most. One of them is junior defensive back Joshua Norwood.
“When I was a sophomore, Josh moved up from the freshman team. I had just joined the team and got to watch some of the older players play and practice. Josh and I were pretty much in the same position, trying to earn playing time on the team. Josh wasn’t scared to hit any of the bigger players. I respected that and we grew a bond. After the 2013 class graduated, I told him that we had to get better because we would probably be the starting corners. We hung together, practiced together, worked out together, pretty much everything together so we could get better together,” said Rhym.
Another player friend is senior running back Malcolm Joseph.
“I’ve been knowing Malcolm since the sixth grade. We used to play football back home all the time, but I never used to really play much at school. Malcolm told me I should come and play football and I did. We’ve developed a relationship as brothers, we’re close. I wouldn’t mind going to the same college as him,” said Rhym.
Playing for Rance Gillespie for three years has shaped a good relationship between the two.
“I love Coach. He always wants to know how I am and actually cares about us. He talks to me a lot. A cool coach to have,” said Gillespie.
With the Wildcats season ending sooner than expected, Rhym will focus on the next step.
“(The season) could have ended better than how it ended. After the Lowndes game, I cried. The way the defense played, it was sad to lose. We could have done better but we felt like we gave it our all,” said Rhym.
In the playoffs, the Wildcats lost a heartbreaker on the road.
“That was hard. It was my last time ever playing for the Wildcats. It was hard to know that I wouldn’t be suiting up in that black and yellow anymore,” commented Rhym.
With National College Signing Day approaching in the coming months, Rhym will continue focusing on his academics while deciding what college to attend.
You can watch the defensive highlights for Demarcus Rhym at http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/1799989/.