Josh Hammond had a number of offers coming out of Hallandale high school in Hallandale, Florida. He went on all the trips to some of the biggest schools in the country, and yet none of them truly felt just right except for Florida.
“I got offered by a lot of schools,” Hammond said. “I visited a lot of schools. I went to Ohio State, South Bend, North Carolina, LSU, visited a bunch of schools, tried to figure out where I wanted to go. I had an older brother go to Florida, so I didn’t go to Florida as much as I went to the other schools just because I kind of knew what Florida was about. But nowhere else kind of felt like home.
“When I went to the other schools they were nice, they had everything, but every time I went to Florida it just felt like home, felt like the right place to be. And I wanted to be comfortable where I was going, so I went to Florida. I felt like I was home every time I went to Gainesville. I felt like I was comfortable there. I got greeted with open arms.”
Hammond has finished his college career as a wide receiver at the University of Florida, where he made 87 receptions for 1,348 yards and six touchdowns for the Gators along with rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns over four seasons.
Hammond’s next goal is to play for an NFL team, which is why he’s playing here in St. Petersburg in front of scouts and general managers at the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl. Through a couple of practices, it’s been so far, so good, for Hammond.
“It’s fun, I think I’ve done pretty well,” Hammond said. “Coming out here and making plays when my number’s called. Trying to do the best I can and just making sure I’m doing the proper things to make sure my name gets out there, let scouts know I can play a little ball and do the things I need to do at the wide receiver position.”
The former Gators receiver has impressed this week with a sure-handed catching ability and efficient route running. This week is a tryout for all of the players here as they hope to play in the NFL, and Hammond has seen what it takes firsthand to get to the next level.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) January 13, 2020
Hammond’s brother, Frankie Hammond Jr. played four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and a year with the New York Jets. So while some players may watch and look up to players such as Juilo Jones or Mike Evans, Hammond had his own family to watch and learn from, along with trying to take something from his brother’s game and put his own spin on it.
“That’s my brother so growing up I watched him a lot,” Hammond said. “I watched him go to college, play in the NFL, there were different receivers at the Chiefs, Albert Wilson, Dwayne Bowe, all those guys. I’ve even worked out with them a couple times just going through high school and stuff like that just because I wanted to get better. Just trying to take advantage of the resources I had.”
As far as what he’s out to prove this week. Hammond has a couple of things he wants to show to those watching him.
“Just that I’m a hardworking player kid that wants to get better on a day in and day out basis,” Hammond said. “I’ll be able to make plays when my number’s called. And I won’t be a guy that has issues off the field or anything like that as well.
“I’ve been confident since day one. I think in the game of football, you got to be ready to compete on a play-to-play basis, on a rep-to-rep basis, and if you can’t compete it’ll be hard for you to be successful in the game of football. When it comes to football, you want to be the guy that’s competitive, you want to try to win every rep that you get and make sure that you’re doing your thing when you’re out there.”