But Dakota Ball, a red-shirted freshman at the University of Alabama, gave the whole area reason to be a little proud.
Ball was a 2012 Pepperell grad, where he stood out as a defensive lineman.
His talent on the field got him noticed by schools like Georgia, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Clemson and South Carolina, but being apart of the Crimson Tide was clearly the right choice for Ball, who got to experience a magical season as Alabama rolled to a BCS national title for the third time in four years.
Seeing a local star represent the area on the national stage is not only a shining moment for Ball’s family and the community, but also for his former head coach Jeff Shifflett.
“(For Ball) to be there and have the opportunity to be apart of such a special season is one of those opportunities that’s hard to describe,” said Shifflett.
“Not only as his coach, but I think his parents, family and community are very proud, because he has earned it all. He’s getting that opportunity because of what he put into it over the years.”
That work propelled him from Lindale star to a spot on the most prestigious football program in the nation.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for everyone. He worked really hard to go to a program like Alabama. There are a lot of Alabama fans that are excited for him because it’s been a while since we’ve had someone go there from Northwest Georgia,” Shifflett added.
Ball started his stint on the national stage when he became the first Floyd County player to be invited to the Under Armor All-America game, and now, as he is just a red-shirted freshman, this is just the beginning for the former Dragon.
“He got to experience a lot of great things this year and the years to come are going to be even better,” said Shifflett.