(IceeDawg e-mailed his Dawgography to me and asked me to post it on his behalf. I have been derelict in doing so, but I thank him for his patience and his participation.)
I was born in 1987 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. My father was a Presbyterian pastor and my mother was a kindergarten teacher. So, needless to say, I was educated in what’s right and what’s wrong from an early age. Both my parents are from Memphis, TN and attended the university formerly known as Memphis State. With the help of my papaw they made sure that I grew up hating all things Orange, even though I lived in the middle of Vol Country – 20 minutes outside of Knoxville.
In addition to my hatred of all things UT, my dad did his best to instill in me the finer things in life: namely a love for the Church and a love for Southeastern Conference football (in that order). I quickly learned to appreciate the rivalries of the conference as I saw teams come in and out of Knoxville, but for the majority of my early life I was a distant observer with full allegiance to the South but no university brand in particular.
Following my freshman year of high school my family relocated to Powder Springs, Georgia. For the first time in my life there was a local team that I wasn’t ashamed to cheer for. Sure, I had taken an interest in the Georgia Bulldogs before, but the local media all but forced the Dawgs on me. And, I was taking them in at a pretty good time. The early Mark Richt era was certainly characterized by great success. The Dawgs had won the Sugar Bowl the year before we moved to Georgia and went on to go 11-3 while winning the SEC East in 2003 ( my first year living in the Peach State). In deed, taking in the play of Greene, Pollack, and the likes was nothing short of inspiring.
Of course, like so many preachers’ kids, I too went through a rebellious period. While I did not throw any stolen laptops out of dorm windows during this rebellion, I found myself cheering for a variety of schools in the later period of my high school days. While I’d like to chalk this unfaithfulness up to overall fanmanship and love for the game of football, the dark days that even saw me cheering for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are days that I not only regret, but also do my best to forget.
This rebellion for all things good continued well into my senior year of high school. In the Fall of 2005 I found myself applying to a plethora of Southern institutions of higher education. I sent off applications to every school from Georgia Tech to Vanderbilt, South Carolina to Clemson. While I’d like to say I hit rock bottom when I visited non-FBS Samford or when I applied to the University of Tennessee, to do so would be denying the depth of my downward spiral.
In fact, my wayward trends culminated with a visit to Auburn. My family and I took a visit to the Plains in the early months of 2006. At the time I was torn between becoming a Tiger and becoming a Bulldog. Auburn had offered me a nifty academic scholarship package that made the school very competitive with Georgia’s HOPE scholarship. Like so many naïve youth, I listened when money talked.
When I arrived on campus I was immediately overwhelmed with the sensation that I could be very successful at Auburn. Sure, I didn’t know much about farming, but I felt confident that I could quickly adjust to the simple lifestyle offered on the Plains. Fortunately, such an adjustment was never needed. Within a few hours of my arrival an admission counselor advised me that Auburn had over-assigned scholarship money and thus otherwise botched their recruitment of me as a student. Their misappropriation of funds essentially added $20,000 per year to the cost of me attending Auburn as my out-of-state waiver and part of my tuition scholarship were both lost.
To this day, I consider that trip the most expensive campus visit in Auburn University history. (Side note: I’d really like to think that somehow my lost scholarship money later paid for Cam Newton’s commitment to the Tigers. I’d love to be somewhat responsible for the 2010 season that never happened when the NCAA deletes this year’s Auburn Tigers football team from the record books.)
With no other schools of interest I decided to attend the University of Georgia. While I was confident in my decision, I desperately hoped that I hadn’t merely "settled" for UGA. My fears quickly subsided as Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno joined me in the university’s heralded 2006 recruiting class.
Any other doubts I had vanquished when I stepped foot on campus. Over the next few years I fell victim to the many dangers available in Athens – namely food, fun, and football; but there was no doubt I was meant to be a Bulldog. My time in Athens saw many highs (the first Blackout game, the World’s Largest Outdoor on Field Whole Team Dance Party, the destruction of Colt Brennan) and some lows (the Alabama Blackout, struggles against Tennessee, 3 losses to the Gators) but I loved every minute of it. I saw great players (Stafford, Moreno, Massaquoi, Curran, Green) and I saw arrests and dismissals, but my high hopes for every recruiting class remain intact.
Some might say that I’m a Dawg by default. After all, my decision to attend the University of Georgia was very much a last-minute decision caused by other plans falling through. But, the Presbyterian in me knows that I’m a Dawg be design. In the Good Lord’s providential plan for my life he took me to Athens, Georgia; and I saw some pretty darn good football while I was there.