The founding fathers of this country helped to cement the idea that is often referred to as the American dream - a desire for each individual to pursue their idea of happiness.

Today people often look at this, and dream, knowing hard work and effort can often present the opportunity to reap the fruits of the labor.

Case Hampton, a local boy from Zena, is doing just that by playing college football for the New Mexico Lobos after bring a community college walk his freshman year at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami.

Even though Hampton, a 2015 graduate of Grove High School, played center and snapped for all four years of high school, he did not have a single offer to play for college.

Before attending NEO, Hampton's brother Ben worked to help him realize his dreams. This meant getting up with Hampton at 4:30 a.m. each day, to lift weights at the Grand Lake Family YMCA.

The effort came, because Hampton believes "hard work always pays no matter what.”

Hampton's family has roots in the area tracing back to this great-grandfather.  

His grandfather Kelly Hampton played tackle at Grove before going to Oklahoma State University, and his father David, and brother Ben played for Grove as well.  

Ben Hampton eventually went on to play football at the University of Oklahoma for the 2009-10 season.

Hampton is close to his family - who all live within a mile from each other. 

Growing up, his grandpa gave him some advice that has helped to shape his character: “If you’re going to be a bear be a grizzly.”

This is why Hampton said he always gives the best of his abilities and never sells himself short.

Hampton was scouted by a few different schools, visiting New Mexico and New Mexico State, before finally settling on the Lobos.

He said, it's because the Lobos have the most winningest culture.

Hampton said he is constantly inspired by his family.

Since he began playing, his parents Dave and Kim, have not missed a single game - even driving 42 hours to Boise, Idaho to watch him play. They are often joined by his grandparents, Lona and Kelly, and his extended family including aunts and uncles.

“College ball is different than high school, because you don’t grow up with them but they are some of the best friends I’ve ever had," Hampton said. "I specialized more in college and it becomes a job."

Hampton said his days often begin at 7 a.m., with breakfast, then include watching films and practice until noon. Classwork comes in the afternoon, followed by additional practices.

Despite the grueling schedule, Hampton said he is doing well with his academics, finding the time he needs to focus on his education.

Hampton has two more years playing with the New Mexico Lobos while he finishes his liberal arts degree.  

After graduation, he plans to continue on to graduate school, planning to pursue a master's degree in sports administration.

He eventually hopes to return to Grove, fulfilling a desire to give back to his hometown as a football coach.