It appears Gulledge may be snapping to Hines for four more years as Gulledge signed Tuesday at Adairsville High to join Hines on the football team at Mars Hill University next fall.
“Coltin kind of epitomizes the Adairsville student-athlete in that he participated in a lot of sports throughout his career for us, football in particular. He’s a two-way player and then he long snapped as well for us. He’s just a well-rounded student-athlete. I think he has a 3.6, 3.7 GPA, which just says a lot about the time and the work ethic and the commitment he made to the athletic side and the academics side to put him in the situation where he was able to play at the next level with Mars Hill,” Adairsville head coach Eric Bishop said. “I think him and Dakota are excited about the possibility of going and playing together. It’s kind of ironic because, as a coaching staff, we were talking the other day about that. What if he goes up there and snaps for Dakota for the next four years? Then they would have snapped and kicked together for eight years. That’s a pretty neat idea.”
Gulledge racked up 40 tackles, nine for losses, and a sack at outside linebacker in his senior season for the Tigers while also contributing as a slot back on offense. He was a three-year starter and saw some duties as the team’s primary long snapper for the last three seasons.
Mars Hill is an NCAA Division II school in the South Atlantic Conference. Gulledge is looking to contribute on the defensive side of the ball for Mars Hill, but will have a chance to make an immediate impact as a long snapper for the Lions.
“He’s an exceptional long snapper. Nobody ever notices that guy until he does something wrong or until he snaps it over the punter’s head or something like that. [Gulledge] didn’t do that in three years,” Bishop said. “He’s got great accuracy and great velocity, and at the college level, the game is even faster. That’s what those coaches are looking for, is to get it there so that punter or kicker can get it in the air. He does long and short snapping and does an exceptional job at both.”
Coltin is not the first Gulledge to go from Adairsville to Mars Hill. Coltin’s great-uncle, Johnny Gulledge, was an NAIA all-American linebacker for the school in 1980 after graduating from Adairsville High in 1974. Gulledge also was the head football coach at Adairsville from 1999-2006, going 50-37-1. He also served as an interim coach for the last six games of the season in 2008.
“When [Coltin] went up there on the visit, some of those coaches put two and two together and they have a real strong tradition there. They recognized his name right away, even off the prospect list. The Gulledge name is kind of synonymous with, not only Adairsville football, but coach Johnny Gulledge kind of put a stamp on that football program up there,” Bishop said. “He was tickled to death when he went up for his visit and they actually gave him a plaque or something to give to his uncle. Coltin said they sat around for two hours just talking about Mars Hill and Mars Hill football all that, so that’s a pretty neat connection. Not only will he have a teammate up there, but he’ll be a legacy-type player up there as well.”
Coltin Gulledge said his great-uncle helped spark his interest in Mars Hill. “My great-uncle Johnny influenced me a lot to go visit, and then when I got up there, I fell in love with the campus and the coaches are great. I had a good time up there,” Gulledge said. “He’s always around and, when he coached at Adairsville and Calhoun, I was pretty young and people said we looked just alike. People would say, ‘Is that your kid?’
“I went and asked him because [Mars Hill] had been trying to contact me and I went over to his house and I told him that Mars Hill was interested and he said, ‘Coltin, you would love it up there. There are trout steams everywhere, deer everywhere.’ And I like being in the water and in the woods.”
Surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, Mars Hill is located in North Carolina and the school’s mascot is the mountain lion, a feature that attracted Gulledge.
“As far as his choice of going to Mars Hill, I think it fits his personality and his interests,” Bishop said. “He loves the outdoors and that school is in a great place for someone who does love the outdoors. I think it is a real good decision for him. I’m excited for both of them [Dakota and Coltin]. They are going to be able to play together. They’ll have someone to lean on when times get rough.
“I know this, he’ll go up there and do exactly what he did here. He’ll keep hacking at it and practicing every day until he finds his little niche and he’s going to be successful in whatever he pursues because of his work ethic and commitment.”