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Hernando High

Ex-Leopard Timmons ready to don Yellowjackets gear

Hernando Today correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: June 7, 2013 at 09:22 PM

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The Midwest served former Hernando High standout Andrew Timmons well.

Out of high school, Timmons inked a football scholarship with Kansas State University.

Nearly 20 years later, Timmons' oldest son, Andrew DeCarlo Timmons, followed in his footsteps to the Midwest.

The younger Timmons, 18, recently signed with NAIA's Graceland University Yellowjackets in Lamoni, Iowa.

Timmons will navigate nearly 1,310 miles from Hernando's Bell Avenue campus across approximately 20 hours before reporting to school Aug. 14.

The current Jackets' roster features only five players above 300 pounds.

At 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds, the oldest of four children to Andrew and Ann Timmons, provides the Jackets with a much needed physical presence.

Head coach Jeff Douglas recruited Timmons for that sole purpose, hoping to improve upon last season's 5-6 overall record.

Timmons whittled his list of colleges to four featuring Ohio Wesleyan, Michigan's Adrian College, Virginia's Averett University and Graceland.

He visited only two campuses: Graceland and Ohio Wesleyan.

"When I visited Ohio, they had all these pretty boys and this big-time weight room," declared Timmons. "I felt a lot more comfortable and at ease with Graceland. I met a lot of the Florida guys; they were straight with me."

On his meeting with Coach Douglas, "He told it to me straight, 'If you want to play, it's up to you,'" recalled Timmons. "He said, 'We need a big dude like you to help run people over.'"

Graceland University is a private liberal arts university of about 2,300 students and 150 faculty.

Graceland has campuses in Lamoni and Independence, Mo

On calming his biggest fear of leaving the Brooksville nest, "I realize the big thing is being away from home for the first time," pointed out Timmons. "Coach Douglas made me feel comfortable with the adjustment."

In his multi-sport upbringing, Timmons recalls being introduced to T-Ball.

"I tried it for a couple of years," he said. "Mom and dad signed me up to get me out of the house. I have to admit, I really didn't enjoy it."

Next, Timmons tried his hand at soccer. During his initial season his coach thought he'd fit in best as a goalkeeper.

"Needless to say, I wasn't feeling it as a goalie," recalled Timmons, who remembers quitting the sport and never returning at the midway point of the season.

In middle school, Timmons found his niche playing football for three seasons at Parrott under skipper Dwayne Mobley.

He also was a member of the Leopard track and field team heaving the shot put and discus.

He even challenged himself by going out for tennis as an eighth-grader.

"I just wanted to try something different," smiled Timmons. "I found out I was built for football."

Once he matriculated to Hernando High, Timmons stayed true to football and track and field.

He threw the shot put as freshman, sophomore and junior.

On the gridiron, he played mostly at the junior varsity level as a freshman and sophomore before being called up to the varsity roster.

As a junior, Timmons served mostly as the backup to All-County center Austin Neff and played sparingly as a defensive tackle in short-yardage situations.

As a senior, he started at center.

During his two varsity campaigns, HHS reached the regional playoffs both seasons - losing each quarterfinal round matchup to state-ranked Gainesville.

"I thought I had a rewarding career at Hernando," explained Timmons. "Football gave me the motivation to do well in school, plus it builds lasting friendships. I don't think kids outside our locker room understand the bond we all have as football players - we're a very tight family.

"On our team, everybody has everyone's back," admitted Timmons. "That's nature of the game."

Typically offensive linemen can be described as faceless pawns.

"As the center, we can't run a play until I snap the ball," noted Timmons on his critical role in the team's success. "If I don't snap the ball, we don't score."

On the Leopards' season-ending 60-3 loss in Alachua County, "We had talent - that's not the issue. And we weren't scared when we got to Gainesville. I really don't know what happened that night. I really think God didn't want us to win. I'm telling you we all tried; it wasn't meant to be.

"After the game is when I realized I had just played my last high school game in a Leopard uniform. It really hadn't sunk in," recalled Timmons. "I realize now it's time to grow up and move on to bigger and better things."

Timmons, who graduated with a 3.1 grade point average, is torn between a possible career in sports management or seeking a degree in business management.

"If I had my way, I'd own a chain of GNC-type stores with my own brand on the shelves," said Timmons.

On the transition to college, "I'm very close to my mom and dad, but give them credit - they've raised a man," stressed Timmons. "They've set me up to succeed. They've taught me survival instincts."

"My dad has helped me build anger toward my opponents," said Timmons. "He was a defensive lineman. He's taught me what to expect and when to expect it. From my freshman year to now, I've improved on every facet of my game. There's still room for growth, though."

On what Timmons would bring to Graceland, "I bring leadership. I'm not a vocal guy, I lead more by example," Timmons said.

"I definitely need to continue working on my footwork; it's coming along," he added. "Mentally, you have to have the right frame of mind to play well."

Before departing Brooksville, Timmons wanted to thanks his parents, "For putting me on this Earth and teaching me life lessons, and my grandma Diane and grandma Rose. Grandma Diane is special; she's always been there for me."

"I have to also thank Coach (Calvin) Brown," said Timmons. "He's the one who never allowed me to get down for any reason. He's the guy who always pumped me up. He was my motivation."

In Timmons' rare spare time, he, Joey Hernandez and Canaan Swackard rap together.

Timmons' handle is "DeLo" after his middle name.

The trio not only recently won the talent contest at Hernando; it recorded lyrics and songs on Timmons' computer.

"It's (rapping) one of the things you enjoy doing," smiled Timmons. "My parents are my biggest fans.

"Rapping is fun," noted Timmons. "But I want to be remembered as a great football player and a great student. Education always comes first before sports."

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