Most high school athletes heavily recruited by colleges tend to choose the program with the most wins, or the team that gives them the best shot at a national championship. But for Dalton's Kyric McGowan, academics is top of the list.

"As I got older and started getting offers, I started to realized you have to look into schools other that what's on TV" says Kyric. "So the schools with good academics and good football is what interested me."

The Catamounts top wide receiver and cornerback was being recruited by over twenty different schools, but ultimately it was the value of his college degree that helped narrowed it down to three: Duke, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern.

"I think he did such a good job of prioritizing the order of importance" says Dalton Head Coach Matt Lamb. Certainly competing, winning, championships, those are important to him, but I also think he kept the frame of exactly where it needed to be which is educationally what is it going to do for me as a career."

After an official visit to Northwestern this summer, Kyric decided he wanted to be a Wildcat, and committed to NU in July. Even though his football career will change drastically next fall, his appreciation for the classroom will stay the same. 

"Football to me is a game, but really you learn life lessons out of football" says Kyric. "College football really teaches you how to be tough in life when things get rough and you just have to keep pushing through."