Lord Botetourt star AJ Hampton rising in coaching ranks

Hampton is among the youngest Division I full-time assistants in the country

LEXINGTON, Va. – As you move through your professional career, you always hope your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and that praise isn’t falling on deaf ears.

For AJ Hampton, the game of telephone was a success, as his name made it all the way to VMI Head Coach Danny Rocco.

“I had heard a lot of really good things and I’m really glad and really happy that we made that call, and he chose to come and be with us,” Rocco said.

Hampton is one of the youngest full-time Division I assistants in the country, leading the wide receivers at VMI. His most recent stop was in Blacksburg, working under Hokies’ Wide Receivers Coach Fontel Mines, who happens to be a good friend of Rocco.

“You know, that was a pretty surreal moment for me, just because Coach Rocco offered me my first job to coach in college sports at the University of Richmond and I played under Coach Rocco at Virginia,” Mines said. “He was on the other side of the ball, but just for things to come full circle for me was a pretty surreal moment.”

“For him to name me, the Recruiting Coordinator and Wide Receivers coach at 27 years old, is a blessing in and of itself,” Hampton said. “It speaks to the face he has in me, but also the faith in the work that he sees me put in.”

Mines said the time he had working under Rocco was beneficial. “I learned a great deal from him, so I knew it was a great opportunity for AJ to work under somebody who is going to mentor him in the right direction, and to prepare him for how college athletics is,” Mines said.

The learning has already begun, as one of Hampton’s first assignments was to hit the road as the recruiting coordinator.

“Before the player is the person and not only do, I recruit the person, but I try to develop the person as well, so day in and day out, I try to have meetings that pertain to their skill set as players, and skill set as young men,” Hampton said.

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Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.