There’s a curious item in the office of Prince Avenue Christian football coach Greg Vandagriff. It has nothing to do with his son Brock Vandagriff.
It is a definite keepsake for any college football fan.
This sits off to the side. Not quite buried. But definitely not in an A1A spot or anything. That doesn’t make it any less impressive to hold the gameday program from the 1980 Georgia football season opener on the road at Tennessee in Knoxville.
“I was swearing forever that I was at this game,” Vandagriff said. “Which I couldn’t prove until we moved and I found some stuff. That was my first game.”
He hands it off. When he does, the name “Bill Bates” and a lot of red britches flash to mind.
“Just see who the tailback was,” Greg Vandagriff said. “For Georgia.”
It almost has a different weight to it. DawgNation certainly knows why. Especially after scanning the depth chart to see the freshman Vince Dooley wondered might just be a “big stiff back” from Johnson County. Herschel Walker’s name was there. Listed as the third-team tailback.
“That’s the program,” Vandagriff said. “That was my first game. Selling popcorn and Cokes at the Tennessee game. That was the Bates game.”
Vandagriff is also the father of Georgia freshman QB Brock Vandagriff. The 5-star QB is connected to so much hope and positivity with the future of the Bulldog football program.
What does all of this have to do with Brock winning another award today? Not much really. It is just a cool story. Maybe more of a link to the past than anything. Vandagriff was named the Gatorade Georgia High School Football Player of the Year on Thursday morning.
What would it mean if Vandagriff could pair up another gameday program with that one? That is Grade A wishing for the fan base, but the resume certainly touts he could be a part of something special in Athens as well during his time.
The Vandagriff collection of late:
- 2020-2021 Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year
- 2020 Atlanta Touchdown Club “Mr. Georgia Football” honor
- 2020 National Quarterback of the Year by the National Quarterback Club
- The 2020 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2020 State Player of the Year
- Starting QB of the GHSA Class A Private State Champions
- 2020 stats: 4,169 passing yards and 46 touchdowns + 503 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns
Brock Vandagriff is the low freshman on the depth chart in Athens right now. Kind of like that young legend from Wrightsville. His time won’t likely come in 2021, but the hope is clearly there.
How did Greg Vandagriff wind up with that program? Well, he brought some of his work home with him. Even at that age.
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Brock Vandagriff: The Player of the Year resume
There’s a unique viewpoint to straddle here.
What does all of this mean to a proud father? Are those the same feelings for the proud coach?
Vandagriff tried to paraphrase the feeling in another “unreal” year that has checked off the main goal: It was the state title those two have long dreamed about accomplishing together.
Brock Vandagriff said a few times last season that his athletic career wouldn’t have ever been complete without checking off that high school title with his father as head coach.
Greg Vandagriff tried to paraphrase his feelings as best he could. He did a heck of a job in doing so.
The first thing that came to him was as a father. As it always should.
The decisions he’s made in his coaching career have always been shaped by the lives of his wife and three children. Those three are the epitome of high-achieving student-athletes.
Vandagriff also maintained a 4.04 grade-point average in the classroom.
“As a Dad, you are excited for your son and all of the hard work he put in and the willingness to pay the price,” Greg Vandagriff said. “Plus going through all the injuries and setbacks but persevering is exciting because that speaks to the character of your son.”
He’s right there. Vandagriff did suffer two major injuries in his junior and senior seasons. They could have derailed or even ended both seasons. But they did not. Especially not the slight PCL tear he played through for the majority of his senior year.
With that said first, then he will bring up the player who completed 71 percent of the 356 pass attempts he had as a senior. Or the legs that were only used in certain games. But still found a way to score the ball every 6.1 times Vandagriff tucked it and took off.
“As a coach, you are excited that someone from your team was that special that he was recognized as the best player in the state. It is also surreal as you know you now have to replace that player.”
Vandagriff could not have answered that question with any more honesty.
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True QB Brock Vandagriff takes off for the first time in front of fans at Sanford Stadium in this April file photo from G-Day. (Tony Walsh/UGAAA)
(check on the recent recruiting reads on DawgNation.com)
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