Editor’s note: If Georgia’s defense manages to keep Florida quarterback Tim Tebow under wraps today, you may want to send a note of thanks to Jennifer Franks so she can pass it along to her brother, Nick.
Jennifer is admissions director at Magnolia Manor in Richmond Hill. Her brother played Tebow on the scout team this week to help the Bulldogs prepare for Florida, and we asked Jennifer to tell the story.
Consider it our local connection to one of college football’s greatest rivalries and one of the South’s greatest events.
My brother Nick has been a Bulldog fan all his life. I’ve been a fan of my brother all my life.
I've always been proud of Nick -- but I'm even more proud of him this week.
You see, as a walk-on at Georgia, he usually doesn’t get a lot of attention. And he doesn’t seek attention, either.
But he’s getting plenty this week by playing Tim Tebow, Florida’s all-everything quarterback. He’s even been featured in a blog on www.bulldawgillustrated.com.
He said he’s had a great time playing Tebow, who won the Heisman trophy as college football’s best player two years ago and led the Gators to two of the last three national titles.
"The defensive coaches knew I played QB in high school and since I am around the same size as Tebow they thought I would be a good representation," Nick told me.
That’s doesn’t surprise me. Nick is 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, close to Tebow’s 6-foot-3, 240 pounds. He also shares Tebow’s dashing good looks. And knowing Nick, I know he’s tried to be as "TEBOWISH" as possible this week, which he said means being loud, doing Gator chomps while leading the scout team and most importantly "hitting people as hard as I can."
For his effort, Nick is being called "Tebow" by his teammates. I think they truly appreciate the optimum effort he’s giving in this role. It’s a close knit group.
"The team is real close and it does not matter if you are a star or just a walk-on like me, everybody talks to everybody and we’re all friends," he said.
Growing up with a father who graduated from UGA also influenced Nick’s lifelong dream of making the team. But he wants to do more than just suit up. Nick, who graduated from Bradwell Institute in 2007 and is listed on Georgia’s roster as a tight end, said his ultimate goal is to start a game.
"It may be a lofty goal considering I’m a walk-on," he said. "But for now to say I made the team isn’t too bad either."
Nick is a junior academically – and a great student, by the way (he was a member of the National Honor Society at Bradwell). But he’s only a sophomore in athletic eligibility. That gives him time to reach another goal, which is to play on special teams "and to say I played a snap between the hedges," he said.
I hope he gets the chance to play in Sanford Stadium. But I’m glad he’s getting the opportunity to learn the game at the highest level, because he wants to coach high school football.
"I felt that if I wanted to learn the most I can about football, I better do something that would allow me to do that" Nick said. "I have learned so much since walking on and I really feel like playing football for UGA will help me with my coaching career."
He’ll be a great coach. He’s a great guy and his family is very proud of him and happy for him. We know he was a great Tebow this week.
Go Bulldogs. Beat Florida.