ATHENS – David Marvin had known since sometime in January that he was coming to Georgia. He said he just happened to tweet out the announcement on Wednesday, which was national signing day
At which point his phone blew up.
“Yes it did,” Marvin said slowly a day later, with an almost rueful chuckle.
It was another reminder that he’s about to enter a new world. After three years as a “triple threat” kicker, punter and kickoff specialist at Wofford, an FCS school, Marvin is coming to Georgia this summer with a chance to have a very prominent role.
“I’ve been told that I’m going to come in and compete for the place-kicking and kickoff jobs,” Marvin said.
There is also a scholarship waiting for him, which adds to the intrigue around the situation with Rodrigo Blankenship, the walk-on who finished as Georgia’s place-kicker and kickoff specialist last season, and was a freshman All-American. His future with the team is now clearly in doubt.
None of that is for Marvin to say, other than that while he is coming from a lower level, he brings some good credentials: All-Southern Conference first-team last year at kicker and punter. He set the school record with a 57-yard field goal in October, then made another 57-yarder the next month. He owns seven of the 10 longest field goal in school history.
“David is an outstanding kicker at any level,” Wofford head coach Mike Ayers said. “He has proven that he can make long kicks, short kicks and everything in between. He is the total package. He is a tough-minded individual. He has the ability to identify problems with his swing and is extremely serious about his craft. The one thing that is consistent is the goal post is the game and the field is the same whether it is ACC, SEC, FBS or FCS.”
Georgia wasn’t the only bigger school to notice. North Carolina and N.C. State both offered him scholarships as a graduate transfer. Those were the home-state schools, and his parents went to UNC. So why did he pass on those for Georgia?
“I just really enjoyed the people down at Georgia,” Marvin said. “I’ve met a few of the players and the coaching staff. I’ve really enjoyed it. I felt like I had a good connection with all of them. And I felt that would be the best place for me to go. Not only to play the best football I think I can play, but also enjoy the year and be around a great group of people.”
When last season ended Marvin, who took a redshirt his first year at Wofford, decided he wanted to see about transferring up a level. He is due to graduate this May with a double-major in chemistry and biology.
The first person he talked with at Georgia was James Vollono, who at the time was with the Bulldogs in a quality control role for special teams. Soon after, the chance was extended to Marvin to “blue-shirt,” which is a rarely-used loophole: A player comes to school in the preseason and is then given a scholarship, but does not count against that year’s signing limit.
Marvin will count against Georgia’s limit of 85 scholarship players. But his understanding is also that because he’s a graduate transfer he can receive a scholarship right away. (UGA has not commented yet on the situation.)
Part of the blue-shirting rule is that players cannot take an official visit, so when Marvin came to Athens last month it was unofficially, which means no money for food, hotel, entertainment, etc. He also could not be visited in-home by the school’s coach.
It’s all very complicated. And it’s quite a whirlwind for a kid whose only scholarship offer coming out of Charlotte’s East Mecklenburg High School was Wofford.
Marvin always believed he had the ability to kick at any level, and had a big leg. But it was sitting out that first year at Wofford – when he didn’t have to worry about playing on Saturdays – that he was able to use the week to refine his mechanics.
“I would say that year was a big leg for me,” Marvin said. “I guess I’ve always been able to kick it further than most kickers. But it came down to the technical part of things. I’ve always been confident in my abilities, which I think is the main thing as a kicker, you have to go out there knowing you can do what you have to do. So it was more fine-tuning my technique that year.”
He would go on to get better as each year went on. While he also punted and kicked off, the field goals were how he made his name. He leaves Wofford with a school-record 32 made field goals after going 17-for-24 this year.
He’s also proved his mettle at the bigger-level, making a 51-yarder in his first game at Georgia Tech, in 2014. This past season he made a 50-yarder when Wofford visited Ole Miss.
“I feel confident as long as I get back to my mechanics and just the technique that I’ve trained, I can kick anywhere,” Marvin said. “Kicking’s the same as it is at Wofford as any other school. There’s nothing that changes in the fact that I just have to do my job. It doesn’t come down to, Well you’re playing against bigger, faster people, because it’s the same operation times when Wofford plays at Ole Miss, when Wofford plays at Georgia Tech, as when Georgia plays at Georgia Tech and Georgia plays at Ole Miss.”