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Georgia Tech's Mr. Versatility

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Jamal Golden, shown playing defensive back, may be best known for his special teams prowess as a returner. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.
Jamal Golden, shown playing defensive back, may be best known for his special teams prowess as a returner. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.

Georgia Tech junior Jamal Golden deserves the nickname Mr. Versatility.

Paul Hornung Award committee members are watching closely. Golden was selected as one of six Atlanta Coast Conference players to be on the watch list.

Golden was once a promising baseball prospect, but decided to focus on football in college. Many wondered if Golden would backpedal to the diamond and play baseball. In his home state of Alabama he earned the titles of Mr.Football, Gatorade State Player of the Year and Old Spice State Player of the Year after leading Wetumpka High School with 3,477 yards of total offense and 37 touchdowns as a quarterback.

While he was as widely-decorated football athlete, Golden also produced as an outfielder, batting .402 with 46 RBIs as a senior. Golden had to choose whether to follow in the steps of his cousin Reggie Golden (a second-round pick by the Chicago Cubs in 2010) and chase a career as a professional baseball player or attend Georgia Tech.

Golden chose Georgia Tech and the opportunity to play both baseball and football for the Yellow Jackets. Last season Golden produced in the top 10 nationally in both kickoff (28.4 yards) and punt return average (14.6 yards).

Golden returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against BYU last October, ending a 15-year special teams touchdown drought for Georgia Tech. Two weeks later, on Nov. 10, Golden returned another kickoff in a high-scoring, 68-50 victory against North Carolina. The two touchdowns tied a Georgia Tech record for most season and career kickoff return scores.

Since his arrival at the Georgia Tech campus, the multi-talented Golden has performed on the football field at multiple positions for the Yellow Jackets. At times his skills have been utilized at safety, cornerback and nickel back. 

Since the induction of the Paul Hornung Award in 2010, three athletes earned the prestigious and unique award: Stanford's Owen Marecic (2010), Georgia's Brandon Boykin (2011) and West Virginia's Tavon Austin (2012).

Golden will try to add his name to that list this season, and the Yellow Jackets should enjoy watching him try.