The Georgia Bulldogs landed a strong safety and stronger survivor Monday.
Plant rising senior Paris Bostick, who has watched circumstance shoehorn a lifetime’s worth of adversity into his 17-year-old life, committed to Georgia before dozens of reporters, teammates and surrogate family members inside the Panthers’ field house.
Deemed a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout, he’s the third member of the Panthers’ incoming senior class to commit to a Division I school.
That same senior class was moved to tears at the team’s recent coaches/upperclassmen retreat, when Bostick stood up and shared the story of his dad’s murder in Ocala from four gunshot wounds to the chest when Paris was 7.
“I’ve come across very few stories in my career as a teacher and a coach in which a young man has …taken the steps where so many other situations have tried to define him, (but instead) has decided that he will define himself,” Panthers coach Robert Weiner told the audience.
Reared in a single-parent home with three siblings and two adoptive cousins, Paris Na’Trone Bostick arrived at Plant’s doorstep two years ago. Considered something of an academic and athletic project, he flourished within the village of peers, parents and coaches who saw promise behind the wounded psyche.
In the last three semesters, Weiner said, Bostick has earned 18 A’s and three B’s. On the field, he evolved into a fleet, disruptive force, totaling 63 tackles, three interceptions and two caused fumbles for the Class 8A state champ in 2011. Offensively, he ran for 199 yards, averaging nearly 9.5 yards per carry.
“Growing up (without a father), it was tough, man,” Bostick said.
“Not living with a father figure, your mom can’t teach you how to be a man because she’s a woman. …So I had to do that myself growing up in my life, figuring things out the hard way. That made me the person I am now, so I have nothing to complain about.”
Bostick (6-foot-1, 208 pounds) narrowed his college choices to Arkansas (which he never visited) and Georgia (which he visited twice) earlier this summer. He said the decisive factors were academics and the bond he noticed among Bulldogs players.
“They were much more than just teammates,” Bostick said. “They laughed and played around, went out to eat. …It just felt good.”