ATHENS — Terry Godwin and Jonathan Abram exchanged texts on Monday morning. It was “nothing serious,” as Godwin recalled a few hours later, just normal encouragement.
“And be ready for Saturday,” Godwin said.
Abram is a starting safety for Mississippi State, which visits Georgia this weekend, thus marking a return. Abram began his career at Georgia and appeared to have a bright future, starting four games at safety as a freshman.
But the subsequent coaching change saw Abram decide to move on, first to a junior college and then to Mississippi State, where he has 11 tackles this season.
“Just to see him out there doing his thing, that makes us smile, because he’s still a part of this Bulldog nation, and that’s something that we lean on,” Godwin said. “Even when he left here we still kept in touch, and still communicate to this day.”
Senior tight end Jeb Blazevich started chuckling when asked about Abram, who he also remembered well.
“He’s a funny dude, I liked him a lot,” Blazevich said. “He was just always a big personality. He worked hard, and I’m happy to see that he’s doing well down there.”
Abram is a native of Mississippi, so Starkville was a natural choice. But for a while, it looked like he would become a mainstay with the SEC’s other Bulldogs.
Jeremy Pruitt, Georgia’s then-defensive coordinator and secondary coach, led Abram’s recruitment, and Abram enrolled early in 2015. He ended up playing in 10 games, racking up 25 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, including 5 tackles against Florida.
But then coach Mark Richt was fired. That night, Abram walked by media members and said: “If the media wants to know anything, tell them keep Pruitt.”
But Pruitt ended up at Alabama. New coach Kirby Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker tried to change Abram’s mind but couldn’t. They kept recruiting him when he went to junior college to no avail. Abram ended up back in his native state.
“For any Bulldog to leave it’s tough to see them go. Because you build that bond with them,” Godwin said. “And even over time you’re still going to have that bond, you’re still going to talk to them.”
Blazevich said it won’t be too weird to see Abram in a visiting uniform on Saturday.
“This stuff just comes up in our business. Coaches move around all the time. We’ve seen that a lot here. Players do the same thing. They’ve got to put themselves in the best place that they feel to succeed.”