The Union Recorder

December 11, 2013

Braves’ quarterback grabs major college football attention

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Though his 6-foot-2-inch 220-pound frame makes Baldwin High School’s quarterback stand out each fall, the junior’s demeanor remains more reserved.

Like his idol Cam Newton, Tajhea Chambers always has a smile on his face and maintains personal character to boot.

“That’s the way I wanted to carry myself,” Chambers said.

His father, Herbert Chambers, had some influence on Taj’s decision to play football. After his father finished his football career, Chambers decided to pick up the family gridiron story.

In the ninth grade, a young Chambers scored his first high school touchdown as a receiver, and he continued growth under head coach Dexter Copeland.

Chambers’ stats since becoming the Braves’ starting quarterback as a young 15-year-old sophomore raised his college recruiting stock.

In 2012, he threw for 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns, while also rushing for 945 yards and eight touchdowns.

His numbers dropped a bit during a tough three-win 2013 season as touchdown throws shrunk with some untimely interceptions. Chambers continues learning the position.

“This year was a learning period knowing that last year we had a couple of veterans with us,” Chambers said. “It was all new faces. We tried to put it together week by week.”

Adapting to a dominant leadership style is his greatest challenge. Chambers used to be the “lead by example” type that didn’t do much talking.

“I’ve watched how college quarterbacks lead their teams,” he said. “I’ve worked on that. You have to show no emotion. You can’t let your teammates see you down.”

With the 2015 class approaching its senior year at Baldwin, Chambers believes the Braves can make big things happen next fall.

Natural ability and football versatility have the attention of a handful of top college football programs. The young quarterback was nominated in Friday Night Football magazine as the 47th ranked Georgia underclassman prospect.

“It’s been crazy. I received at least 10 letters each day from different colleges,” he said. “To actually have coaches writing you talking about coming to their games and looking at their campuses is a blessing.”

At the moment, Chambers is considering Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, Michigan State and Georgia.

He has been on two visits to Georgia Tech and made a trip up to North Carolina on Nov. 29.

Currently, Chambers has no major scholarship offers on the table though he isn’t too concerned.

Chambers will spend the last week of December in Atlanta preparing for the RisingSeniors Bowl at Grady Stadium. He, along with teammate and fellow junior Kentavious Thomas, are 2013 RisingSenior All-Stars.

The quarterback-running back connection goes back to eighth grade. At the time Chambers was in Wilkinson County, while Thomas played for Oak Hill Middle School.

“Every game we would just go at it,” Chambers said. “Finally, we get to high school and I transfer to Baldwin and we become teammates. We’ve been best friends ever since ninth grade. It kind of feels weird knowing that you played against each other back in the day.”

Both made the East team after positive performances at the RisingSenior camp last summer.

“I am excited for being able to have the experience of the leadership ability, meeting new people and being noticed by college scouts,” Chambers said.

The showcase bowl game can make a big difference for college coaches.

“That’s the time to shine, especially if a kid is coming in there with no offers he can leave with about six,” Chambers said.

With various football accomplishments, Chambers doesn’t forget his family values.

“My greatest accomplishment would have to be making my family smile and being a bigger brother to my brother and sister, plus making good grades and playing football,” he said.

Chambers said these days “smart is the new cool.”

“Football is a good learning experience you can use later on in life,” he said.