By Army Pfc. Ian Valley
205th Public Affairs Operations Center
SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 8, 2014 – Shaun Hamilton, a linebacker from Carver High School in Montgomery, Ala., is ranked 102nd in the ESPN 300, a list of the 300 best high school football players in the country. He has a 3.9 grade point average, is graduating a semester early from high school, and is the front-runner to be his class’s valedictorian.
He credits his military father for the drive that allows him to conquer obstacles to success.
Lt. Col. Shelton Hamilton, an Army Reserve soldier for 23 years, serves with U.S. Army Reserve Deployment Support Command. Throughout his life, Shaun said, he has seen sacrifice, hard work, dedication and discipline pay dividends in his father's career.
Shelton said his mindset came from his Army Reserve background and the Army’s values, and that Shaun has translated those values in the classroom and on the football field.
Growing up, Shaun had to go through the same hardships as other children of a military parent, including two deployments for his father.
“There were missed birthdays and holidays, and that's tough for a young kid,” Shaun said. “I'm very lucky to have him here to see me now.”
Watching his father work hard at his military career contributed to his own athleticism, Shaun said.
“I saw him when I was little waking up in the morning and go running through the neighborhood, getting ready for a [fitness] test.” he added.
Now Shelton gets to see his son do the same thing.
“I have seen this guy wake up at 5 a.m., go out and work out, take a shower, go to school, and at the same time, exceed academically,” the proud father said.
Discipline, duty, hard work and diligence were never just words in the Hamilton household -- they were the way to live, and they were displayed in day-to-day life.
“I believe in doing whatever it takes to get the job done, and I have instilled that into my son,” Shelton said. “I told him, ‘If you’re going to play football, you're going to go out there and do whatever it takes to compete.’ He has done whatever it took to get him into this situation. It wasn't a given.”
Shaun's hard work and “go-get-it attitude” were the driving forces to his early success in life, Shelton said. Father and son agree it started with discipline.
“I coached him through 6th grade and instilled hard work and expectations,” Shelton said. “He knew what Dad expected out of him. You have to have discipline to succeed in the classroom, as well as on the football field. [I] had the discipline to join the military and be successful in the military.”
Shelton had the chance to watch Shaun play at Bryant-Denny Stadium here Jan. 4 in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the premier high school football event in the country. The game featured more than 90 of America's best senior high school football players.