When I was a kid and still sitting in my mom or dad’s faculty seats at Georgia home games anytime one of my parents couldn’t attend, I had the good fortune of getting to know a “regular” that sat right next to us. His name was Ray and was a veritable encyclopedia of football knowledge (having coached at one point if memory serves) and Georgia Football history.
Ray was from Monticello and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He personally knew Ulysses “Pay” Norris, a big mid-to-late 70’s tight end who also hailed from Monticello and who was a really good player for us and had a brief NFL career.
Anyway, during the 1978 season (or, perhaps ‘79...memory fades a bit) he made it his mission to point out a certain player on the team. On one occasion, he was fixated on a particular player who was one of the best centers in Georgia Football history: Ray Donaldson. At that age, I was locked onto the skill players and rarely took my eye off our quarterback (Jeff Pyburn or perhaps Buck Belue) and tended to only follow the “guy with the ball.” But ‘ol Ray would sometimes tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey, pay attention to our center. He knocks people backwards and just runs upfield looking for someone else to knock down” and he was absolutely correct. By all accounts, Ray Donaldson was a great leader and went on to have a stellar NFL career, mostly with the Baltimore Colts.
When I heard the news this afternoon that Sedrick Van Pran was coming back for one more run, I was like you: elated. This has been a very difficult week on many fronts and a little bit of good news is most welcome.
Sedrick is the type of player that commands attention and demands respect within the locker room. With some of the linemen a bit on the young side heading into 2023, his experience and leadership is the type of thing that simply can’t be underestimated. On top of it all, he is a hell of a center and reminds me of the aforementioned Georgia great who played the same position many, many years ago.
Father God, you are the greatest! One more year in Athens! pic.twitter.com/w5hFyxtN9D— Sedrick Van Pran-Granger (@SedrickVanPran) January 20, 2023
The news of his return could not come at a better time. Run it back.