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The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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Gatlin blitzes to VMI

Raymond Gatlin Jr. commits to the Virginia Military Institute for Division one football
Larissa Almendras
Raymond Gatlin Jr. stands awaiting the final coin toss of the night, going into overtime against Floyd E. Kellam High School on Sept. 26, 2023 at Kellam High School. The Dolphins went on to win 20-19 with a triple overtime by successfully blocking the Knights’ final kick.

Standing at 6′0 and 205 lbs, senior Raymond Gatlin Jr. (Rj) steps out onto the field, overlooking the opposing team and the students in the stands.

Gatlin recently announced his commitment to further his football career at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), a Division 1 (D1) university located in Lexington, Va. 

“I was recruited to play for VMI. The coach loved my film and offered me a spot on the roster,” said Gatlin. 

Gatlin started playing football at the age of 4, where he discovered his love and passion for the sport. He grew up surrounded by football, primarily by his father who coached football for a multitude of Virginia Beach high schools. His father also held the defensive coordinator position at Oscar Smith High School during their back-to-back state championships, coaching many future athletes who went on to go D1.

“My dad was the first person to put the ball in my hand. He always showed up for my games and sometimes even practice,” said Gatlin. “He gave me support. I cannot thank him enough for how much he’s given.”

After 111 tackles, 20 TFL (tackles for loss), five sacks, 530 rushing yards and five touchdowns, Gatlin received a full-ride scholarship to VMI. 

“Rj is a great person who always finds different ways to help his peers inside and outside of the classroom. I think he will go very far at VMI if he keeps up all the hard work,” said senior Elroy (Ej) Hines. 

During his junior season, Gatlin suffered a season-ending ankle injury that ended his season five games in. For his senior season, he came back stronger not only physically but mentally, eager to prove what he could not in his junior year.

“Ever since Rj’s sophomore year, when I met him, he’s been a team player and one of the most competitive guys on the field. He’s a hard worker and always shows up,” said head coach James Yeager. “He’s played through injuries and much more. I’m glad he’s able to play at the next level, he deserves it.”

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About the Contributors
Jade McAboy
Jade McAboy, Boys Sports Editor
Jade McAboy is a junior and a second-year journalism student. This year is her first year as the boys sports editor. Jade is also an athletic trainer for Ocean Lakes Athletic Training Team. In her free time, she enjoys beach trips, reading and hanging out with friends.
Larissa Almendras
Larissa Almendras, Staff Writer
Larissa Almendras is a sophomore and a first-year journalist for The Current. She enjoys taking pictures for Ocean Lakes sports, reading and watching movies. She hopes to attend James Madison University and pursue a career in photography.

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