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Very quietly, Frankie Hammond Jr. turned in an standout performance last week against Georgia. Coach Urban Meyer selected Hammond, a redshirt sophomore, as one of three offensive players of the game in his 34-31 overtime win. He had three receptions for 46 yards, which seems insignificant enough until you consider that he played 70 snaps on offense and 20 more on special teams.
“He played all his special teams reps, all his offensive snaps, the plays that he made in the game,” said offensive coordinator Steve Addazio. “Really terrific to see him come back. Really, he’s a very quiet guy and he’s a real unassuming guy and just works really hard. That’s what he did before too. I think it’s a great sense of pride for him to bring value to this football team like he has, and he’s doing a great job.”
Hammond’s tumultuous path to this point goes back to a June DUI arrest that cost the receiver his scholarship. He had to meet conditions to return to the team, and is paying his own tuition this semester.
Coach Urban Meyer has said he will review Hammond’s scholarship situation after the season, but it’s clear that the receiver is working his way back into his coaches’ good graces.
“You talk about a kid that kind of came from the abyss. He made an awful choice in his life, and he’s really learning from it,” said receivers coach Zach Azzanni. “He’s come to work every day. He’s shut his mouth and he’s working really hard.”
Hammond has 11 catches for 150 yards and one touchdown this season; but like his stats in Saturday’s game, those are deceiving. Coaches have praised Hammond for his willingness to block, an attribute that has helped get him on the field.
“They always emphasize blocking on the perimeter, and that’s one thing I’ve really tried to get good at as far as blocking,” Hammond said. “Because as far as springing Jeff and those running backs in games, I just tried to get better at blocking.”