Two former GMC Bulldogs are on to the NFL

May 2—Two more players whose collegiate football careers began at Georgia Military College have made it to the professional level.

Cornerback Marcellas Dial was drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round Saturday. Joining him in earning a shot is undrafted free agent signee Rod Gattison, who also plays corner. Gattison was signed by the Tennessee Titans. Together Dial and Gattison become the 55th and 56th players to have played at GMC and made it to the NFL.

"Both of those guys were leaders in the cadet corps and had no issues with anything while they were here," GMC head coach Rob Manchester said. "It really doesn't surprise me that they're getting this opportunity. That's the pinnacle of football, so it's pretty cool GMC played a factor in getting them there.

With Dial's name having been called, it marks two consecutive years now that former GMC Bulldogs have been taken in the NFL Draft. Defensive ends Byron Young (Los Angeles Rams) and YaYa Diaby (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) were both toting the flag in 2023 and went on to have excellent rookie campaigns after having been third-round selections. The most recent Bulldogs-turned-pros in Dial and Gattison hope to follow in those footsteps.

A product of Woodruff, S.C., Dial was in Milledgeville from fall of 2019 through fall of 2020. He recorded 10 tackles and an interception his freshman year before COVID canceled the '20 season. Dial still got noticed though as he earned a scholarship to the University of South Carolina where he transferred in January 2021.

That fall he played in all 13 games for the Gamecocks and started seven, recording 33 tackles, six pass breakups, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He started 10 games as a junior before becoming a full-time first stringer his senior season of 2023 where he had 36 tackles and a team-high 10 pass breakups. Dial was presented with the team's Overcoming Adversity Award for 2023, and is now getting ready to write his next chapter as a New England Patriot.

"Not a stress for me, it was just a dream come true," Dial said in his introductory press conference. "Something I've been waiting for my whole life ... My visit there, I had a great time. I was able to make a good first impression. So, for this to be the team I go to, it's just a dream come true. It's unbelievable, like a weight lifted off my shoulders."

The new 6-foot, 190-pound New England corner was asked to talk a little about his style of play.

"I'm a sticky corner in coverage," he said. "I'm able to run, compete and play with any receiver, any body type. I'm very good at attacking whenever the ball is in the air. I can make plays on the ball. I know there's bits and parts to my game to get better at, but that's where I'm going to come in, work and get better."

A Hartsville, S.C. native, Gattison was also at GMC in 2019. While here he played in 11 games and totaled 14 tackles, three pass breakups, one interception and one fumble recovery. He went on to play at Western Carolina University where he saw significant playing time in each of his three remaining years of eligibility. Gattison started all 11 games as a senior and was seventh on the Catamounts with 38 total tackles including four tackles for loss, six pass breakups and one interception. Standing at 6 feet, 195 pounds, he'll get a chance to prove himself and possibly earn a practice squad or roster spot with the Titans.