‘Mr. Automatic’ kicking his way from Lakeside to Athens

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 11:32 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After a stellar high school career, Lakeside’s Will Hattaway, otherwise known as “Mr. Automatic,” is kicking his way to Athens to play between the hedges.

Will Hattaway said, “It means so much to me that I’ll be able to live out my dream and play for the University of Georgia next year. Being able to compete for a spot to kick on the field.”

Hattaway earned All-State honors in Class 6A this year. He is also Lakeside’s all-time leader in field goals made, extra points made, and points scored.

Lakeside Head Football Coach Steve Hibbitts said, “The kids in our program they see that and they go, it almost makes them work a little bit harder saying, hey everybody has a shot.”

Will’s Mother Amy Hattaway added, “He has spent a lot of time working on his craft, and sacrificing other things so that he could do it. It makes me happy to know that this was his dream, I mean that was the school that he wanted to go to.”

The Panther with the golden leg discovered his love for place kicking the summer before starting high school, when he met NFL kicker and Georgia fan favorite Rodrigo Blankenship.

Will’s Father Wayne Hattaway said, “Ever since that, he fell in love with it. Right from the start, from kicking the football, and then we were always out here. He constantly wanted to kick and keep improving and getting better.”

The recruitment process has been chaotic for the Hattaway family, but when they finally made it to Sanford Stadium, went inside the locker room and met Kirby Smart, their lifelong dream started becoming a reality.

Amy Hattaway said, “I think we might’ve been a little bit more nervous and excited. I mean he was just kind of calm and taking it all in and enjoying it.”

Will Hattaway added, “He (Kirby Smart) had heard that I had already gotten into school through early action, so he was like, ‘you must be really smart huh,” and that had me and my parents dying laughing.”

The Bulldogs invited Will and his parents to Athens to help celebrate their second consecutive national championship, and that helped set up a moment the young kicker will remember for the rest of his life.

“They took me underneath the field goal post, and they asked me if I wanted to join their program and be kicking field goals on this very field goal. Just the empty stadium and the way they did it was so special to me, and i knew instantly that i had to be on that team. I just had to be,” said Will Hattaway.