When Kwame Geathers reached for the Central Florida cap in front of him, he had every intention of signing a National Letter of Intent and playing for the Golden Knights.
The epiphany didn't hit the Carvers Bay defensive tackle until he actually placed the cap on his head. "When I picked it up and put it on, I was going to leave it on," Geathers said. But something didn't feel right."
This wasn't one of those contrived signing shenanigans that have become commonplace in recruiting. When Geathers discarded the UCF hat and replaced it with one bearing the logo of the Georgia Bulldogs, he wasn't creating drama. He was making his decision.
Geathers decided Friday to follow in the footsteps of older brother Robert, who played three seasons for the Bulldogs before leaving for the NFL in 2003. Geathers will be given the opportunity to earn playing time at defensive tackle, his preferred position. Other schools were seeking his services solely as an offensive tackle.
He had delayed his decision for several weeks, but the extra time didn't make the process any easier. In the end, he couldn't choose until the moment that he absolutely had to.
"This is a last-minute decision really, so I just hope everything goes well," Geathers said.
The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder had narrowed his finalists to Central Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. He had reason to feel comfortable with all of them: Cousin Jarvis Geathers plays at UCF; he spent much of his youth on Georgia's campus during his brother's career; and he grew fond of coach Lane Kiffin when he visited Tennessee.
Even after Geathers placed the Georgia hat on his head, his mother Debra asked, "Are you sure?" Her son confidently nodded and flashed his signature smile.
This branch of the Geathers family has now sent three players to Southeastern Conference schools - middle brother Clifton is a defensive end at South Carolina. Father Robert Geathers Sr. believes the decisions of his older two sons ultimately impacted the one of his youngest.
Although UCF is a member of Conference-USA, which plays football in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Jarvis receives grief by other family members for playing at a perceived lesser program, Geathers Sr. said.
"They are always telling Jarvis that if they played down there they'd have 22 sacks a year," Geathers Sr. said of his two oldest sons. "So, there was a lot of pressure on Kwame."
Geathers won't have any trouble transitioning to a career for the Bulldogs. His walls are covered with team memorabilia, he's been a big fan since his brother played there and he drives his father's old truck, which is painted to match Georgia's red and black color scheme.
"Now that I've made the decision, it's time to get to work," said Geathers, who wants to play at around 300 pounds in college. "I want to finish up strong and start getting ready for the next level."