Richmond Hill High School athlete Nathan Kilburn signed a letter of intent April 24 to attend NAIA Division 1 school Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas on a football scholarship.
Kilburn made first team all-region this season and led Region 3-AAA in tackles. He said he had four offers on the table before narrowing it down to becoming a linebacker for the Southwestern Lions.
His father, David Kilburn, said it was Southwestern’s tenacious pursuit of the Wildcat football star that may have been the deciding factor. During negotiations, he said Lions coaches even went to the dean, which resulted in several thousand dollars added to the college’s offer.
Southwestern assistant football coach Frank Tristan said the game films and stats peaked his interest toward Kilburn, but it was Kilburn’s character that made him a more attractive free agent as negotiations continued.
"Based on his athletic ability and his work ethic, we believe that he will be a great contribution to our program," Tristan said. "More importantly, the type of character and integrity that Nathan possesses is what we believe every student athlete should strive for."
Tristan said Kilburn’s game footage was impressive and every play seemed to involve him.
"He was always around the ball," Tristan said. "When the play is over, he is in the picture. We need that type of kid. In addition, he is fast and strong as an ox."
Kilburn said he’s both excited and nervous.
"This is a good opportunity to challenge me both physically and geographically. I’ve lived in Georgia all my life," Kilburn said. "The school is in a great location...and it’s good academically."
Kilburn said he is thrilled to know his football career will definitely not stop with his high school career and he believes he will prove to be a strong asset to the Lions.
"I love football," he said. "This is a big opportunity and a big honor. Statistically, out of 100,000 seniors, less than four percent go on to play college ball."
"This is a great thing for Nathan and a great thing for the Wildcat football program," RHHS head football coach Brian Brocato said. "He’s a great kid and a proven leader for the last four years."
Brocato said he saw "the potential to be a great player" when he started him as a freshman.
"He’s not your stereotypical linebacker," Brocato said. "He’s short and heavy, but smart. He knows football and he’s a good student of the game. Knowing his talent and work ethic, I knew he would make it."
David Kilburn said his son has had the goal of playing college ball since he was 8-years-old; he just didn’t know if it would be football or baseball.
"Nathan thought about it hard and prayed about it, and it was his decision. The other schools were in Kansas City, Colorado and West Georgia – all NAIA Division 1 schools," Kilburn’s father said.
Kilburn said he’s had a great run at RHHS, with great memories that will stick with him forever.