ATHENS – Today was an interesting day. It began for me in Macon, continued with a stop in Forsyth, and ended here in the good old Classic City with a board meeting, building dedication and basketball game.
I hope yours was as eventful, or at least more restful.
So rather than focus on one subject as I usually do in this forum, we’re going to jump around a little. Let’s get to it. …
I went to visit Malik Herring at Mary Persons High School in Forsyth Tuesday. But we didn’t get to visit. He wasn’t there.
We were scheduled to get together to conduct to interview for our Next Generation piece. I was already in Macon for the local Touchdown Club’s meeting, so it seemed a good time. But when I arrived, I was told young Mr. Herring was taking a test and couldn’t be there at the appointed time. And when I checked later to see if we could meet some time after school, he said he had checked out and was having to head out of town.
Fortunately I was able to catch up with Herring briefly on Monday night when he was honored as the Macon Touchdown Club’s player of the year at their annual Jamboree event at the Methodist Home for Children. Herring, a defensive end and 2017 UGA signee, was among several top-notch prospects in attendance, most of them in the class of 2018.
“I’m just looking forward to getting to work,” the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Herring told me. “I’ve been training hard, taking my workouts to a different level, trying to kill myself every day. I’m really looking forward to working out with the team, building bonds, becoming a leader.”
Herring said he’s working out with his brother Tevin Davis, a personal trainer, four or five days a week. The Bulldogs have also sent all their signees a workout manual. But Herring said he’s basically sticking to his brother’s instruction right now.
Making it rain
It’s raining money at Georgia. It’s pouring in from every direction and apparently there’s no end in sight.
On the day Georgia dedicated its new $30.2 Indoor Athletic Facility, the athletic association’s board of directors approved $63 million dollar for a construction project Sanford Stadium. I’m no mathematician, but it seems like that’s getting mightly close to $100 million earmarked specifically for football improvement projects. And both of these in particular are decidedly recruiting driven.
“I certainly think we’re always playing a little catch-up when it comes to the people in our conference,” second-year head coach Kirby Smart said. “It was just something we felt like we needed on a high-priority scale.”
UGA President Jere Morehead addressed all the spending, which will be funded almost entirely by donors, at the quarterly meeting of the athletic association’s board of directors meeting on Tuesday. He talked about how the stadium project, in which they’re basically constructing a skinny building with a plaza roof on top between the Sanford Drive Bridge and the West End grandstands, has been in discussion for a long time and was desperately needed from a competitive standpoint.
“Everybody needs to keep in mind that we’re one of the most financially sound athletic programs in the nation,” Morehead told the board. “But I want to assure the board that as a fiscally responsible university president, that we are going to be extremely careful moving forward, while we’re in this fundraising mode, with respect to any other major capital initiatives.”
The plan is to fundraise more than $50 million for it, and word is they already have nearly $10 million of that after donors stepped up past the goal of $31 million for the IAF. Of course, at the same time, money is pouring into UGA’s coffers via its SEC revenue-sharing deal. So if there are any shortfalls, I would imagine the athletic association could make it up quite easily.
But that’s not the plan.
“The sooner and faster that we can raise these funds, it puts us in a position where we know we can move forward,” Morehead said. “But I am absolutely committed to supporting our athletic director and our head football coach as they go out and make their case for this project.”
With these projects completed, it will be up to the Bulldogs to make their case it was worth it. To do that they’ll need to win big.
Funeral plans set for Q
The Funeral service for former Bulldog Quentin Moses will be Saturday at 1 p.m at Cornerstone Church in Athens (4680 Lexington Road). Bishop James Washington Jr. will officiate. A viewing will be held 1-7 p.m. on Friday at Grandview Funeral Chapel in Athens (605 Olympic Drive). The family will receive guests from 5-7 p.m.
Moses, 33, died in a house fire in Monroe early Sunday morning, along with two loved ones. Georgia coach Kirby Smart addressed Moses’ death during his appearance as the keynote speaker at the Macon TD Club event Friday night.
Smart was coaching running backs at Georgia in 2005 when Moses was a junior defensive end for the Bulldogs.
“We went against Quentin every day,” Smart said. “There wasn’t one day that Quentin Moses didn’t give his all. What a special young man.”
Smart said Moses’ death should make us all take pause to realize the preciousness of life.
“Makes you realize how things go full circle and how brief life can be at times,” Smart said. “It really hits home when that happens. You can’t take things for granted. You can’t take one day for granted. Every day you’re given – Valentine’s Day or any other day – you realize the importance of that. You may impact someone’s life that will last forever. You may change somebody’s life.”