HOOVER, Ala. — The greatest Bulldog of all time would also have arguably the greatest recruiting story, too. When Herschel Walker began to describe his recruiting process at SEC Media Days, it just made sense.
The story first begins with a tough loss for the United States military in the spring of 1980. They missed out on a potentially big stiff infantryman in basic training.
That’s because Walker wanted to join the service at the end of his high school career. With all that he was and was going to be.
It wasn’t Georgia or Clemson or Southern California at the onset of his decision. Walker was first down to college or Uncle Sam.
“I was a great student and even though I was a great student I always wanted to go to the military,” Walker said. “I couldn’t tell my Mom and Dad that I didn’t want to go to college and I did want to go to the military.”
Walker didn’t even sign with Georgia until April of his senior year in 1980.
“The reason I didn’t sign until April was because as long as I didn’t say anything they would let me go to the military,” he said. “But then on Easter Sunday in April, my mom said ‘Bo’ because my nickname was ‘Bo’ so Bo Jackson wanted to be me.”
That drew laughs. Then he continued on as part of a Legends panel with Archie Manning and Steve Spurrier that closed out that session.
“My mom said ‘Bo don’t you think it is time for you to decide on what you want to do,'” Walker said. “So before I could say anything she said let me tell you this ‘if your mind and your heart is pure by the Lord Jesus then it really doesn’t matter about your decision’ and I was like alright.”
Walker then flipped a coin. The military was on one side. College and football hung in the balance on the other end.
“It [the flip] came for me to go to college and I go ‘Crap’ and then I went to the University of Georgia because I was upset that God didn’t let me do what I wanted to do,” Walker said. “I flipped a coin between Clemson University and Georgia. Georgia ended up winning the coin toss.”
But that wasn’t the only hurdle between program-altering history for the Bulldogs.
Walker also wanted to go to USC. The Trojans had a strong Heisman Trophy line of tailbacks in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“Then I flipped a coin between those two schools and Georgia won that as well,” he said. “This is no lie then I pulled the names out of a bag and I pulled Georgia and then at that time I said I was going to Georgia. That’s how I ended up [playing] at Georgia.”
“There are sometimes when you are naive and stupid God will take care of you. Because that was the right decision.”
Walker arrived in Athens in the summer of 1980. He did so with what he termed an “incredible” recruiting class.
The rest is college football history.
DawgNation probably doesn’t need to worry about their luck in coin flips ever again. The ledger on the fortunate side of those flips still provides a solid return on investment to this day.