Division I ready: Malachi Kemp is all moved in and ready for Saturday nights in the fall

Published 10:30 am Saturday, June 22, 2024

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Playing Division I football is the dream for just about any kid who straps on the pads and hits the gridiron. It is no longer a dream for LaGrange High graduate Malachi Kemp, it is a reality. The former Granger is already moved in and is getting ready for his first season as a member of the University of West Georgia football team.

“I have been loving it ever since I stepped on campus, we have already started working and grinding every day to get ready for the season,” Kemp said. “The food’s been great, I’ve been eating food and I like being close to home, so I can’t complain.”

Kemp is getting in the door at West Georgia at an exciting time. The Wolves are making the jump from Division II to FCS and will play their first season of Division I football in the fall.

“There’s a lot of new players here with Georgia. There’s a lot of transfers, there weren’t that many incoming freshmen, so it was kind of like a blessing in disguise to get this chance,” Kemp said. “There are guys coming from all over to be a part of this. It’s going to be special.”

It did not matter where Kemp lined up in high school, he always found a way to impact the game. Kemp started at outside linebacker at Carrollton before switching to a full-time starter at tight end for the Grangers and a part-time linebacker. Kemp was happy to do whatever it took to win.

“Honestly, I think it helped me get recruited,” Kemp said. “It put me in two different positions for recruiting and it showed that I was willing to adapt.”

In college, Kemp will find himself back at outside linebacker full-time. The change back to linebacker was a welcomed one as his new position coach Brandon Taylor has a connection with LaGrange High head coach Matt Napier.

“Coach Napier was there for me from day one and helped me all the way through the recruiting process,” Kemp said. “Before my outside linebacker coach came to Carrollton he spent two years at Florida with coach Napier’s brother (Billy), so we kind of talked about that connection.”

Napier has been in Kemp’s corner since the latter got to LaGrange. They formed a strong connection which helped land him a chance to play at the collegiate level.

“I’m glad I got the chance to play here at LaGrange,” Kemp said. “It was kind of a game changer that got me on the path to where I am now.”

The opportunity to play at LaGrange High was special. Kemp got the chance to start on offense alongside his twin brother Malik, who was the team’s starting quarterback. 

“All those guys there were special and I love them, but it’s hard to put into words what it was like to start last year with my brother,” Kemp said. “I wouldn’t change anything about it, I loved every bit of it.”

This a homecoming of sorts for Kemp. Carrollton was home for him before transferring to LaGrange during his junior year. The freshman is already raring for the opportunity to hit the gridiron once again.

“It’s been pretty cool to come back to Carrollton,” Kemp said. “Some of the older guys have been surprised that I know some spots around town that they don’t know about, which has been pretty funny.

“I’m ready for Saturday nights in the fall. It is all I have been thinking about.”