Former Georgia running back Garrison Hearst arrived in Athens after a star-studded career at Lincoln County High School, outside of Augusta, Ga.
Hearst was an all-state running back for the Red Devils before becoming an All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist for the Bulldogs, and eventually a first-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft pick by the then-Phoenix Cardinals.
Now, his son, Gerard Hearst, is getting a chance to follow in some of those footsteps.
Before his senior season this fall, the 5-foot-8, 177-pound running back transferred from Johns Creek High School in Alpharetta, Ga., to Lincoln County.
“He’s been dying to be a Red Devil,” Garrison Hearst said in August at the Augusta Quarterback Club. “Being a little kid, he came to see my nephew play, always talked about the Red Devils. He heard so much about winning, winning, winning and the Red Devils.
“I said, ‘Son, it’s not just about the winning. You’ve got to understand what is to be a Red Devil, meaning it’s from spring ball, summer workouts. It’s a religion down there.’ I had the opportunity to do it, and he said, ‘Yes, I want to do it, Dad.’ ”
The younger Hearst played an instrumental role in the Red Devils’ win on Friday night over Henry County. Gerard Hearst ran for 106 yards on 11 carries, scoring his first rushing touchdown of the season for the Red Devils in a 49-0 win over Hancock Central. For the season, Hearst has 296 yards on 51 carries, adding 41 yards and a touchdown on 2 receptions.
He’s doing that while also wearing No. 5 — the same number his dad wore for the Red Devils and at Georgia.
Hearst, at this point, does not have any reported FBS offers, but he clocked a 4.52-second 40 at Nike’s The Opening Atlanta regional in the spring. At that camp, he also registered an impressive 36.6-inch vertical jump. He could be a player who gets late looks from college programs because of those numbers and because he could play defense in college.
For now, his father is happy that Gerard is getting a taste of what it’s like to be a member of the Red Devils.
“Growing up in this area, you see the football, you see the love for it,” Garrison Hearst said. “As you grow up, you always think, ‘I want to be a part of that.’
“Seeing the football around here, seeing Lincoln County do what they do, no matter who they play, how big or how small, it was all about, ‘Let’s be the best team in this area,’ and all of a sudden, you’re the best team in the state.”