“It was absolutely rocking.” Local recruits got up-close view of Georgia’s historic season


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – “It was a surreal environment.”

“It was absolutely rocking.”

“Crazy, crazy environment.”

Those are just some of the things said by local Savannah athletes about the vibe in Sanford Stadium on University of Georgia game day.

Calvary Day junior linebacker Troy Ford was one of a select few elite recruits to visit Sanford on game day as a guest of the program.

“The fans, you know, every time a big play was made, no matter if it was in the fourth quarter when they were shutting them out, they were electric the whole time,” Ford said.

He and teammates Jake Merklinger and Caden Arnold saw the Dawgs’ 37-0 victory over Arkansas.

“The Dawgs blocked a punt, I think, and, they recovered it in the end zone, and that’s when I was like OK, this one is in the books,” said Merklinger, a sophomore.

The Calvary boys were far from the only 912 athletes to get up close and personal with the Dawgs’ historic season. Savannah Christian freshman Elijah Griffin did the same thing for Georgia’s 30-13 victory over Kentucky.

“When Georgia kept dominating those guys up front on the d-line and the offensive line, I don’t even know how they did it,” Griffin said. “It was just a great experience for me, I ain’t gonna lie.”

UGA’s dominant defense, which has allowed just 6.9 points per game, could be a major selling point for guys like Griffin and Ford: both dominant players on the defensive side of the ball.

“These guys are like my size but they’re built like muscle, pure muscle, they’re huge,” Griffin said.

“From the stands still they don’t look that big when you get actually up close and see what they’re doing, it’s crazy to see big bodies moving that well,” Ford said.

In order to get an invite in the first place, these recruits need to show out on Friday night, then find a way to get to stadiums hours away by the next morning.

“Me and my buddy Caden Arnold, right after the game we got in the car and drove to Athens, got two or three hours of sleep, then drove right to the stadium,” Merklinger said.

But then there’s the payoff: getting to see their dreams in front of them, so close that they can practically touch them.

“It gave me a different perspective on my life and what I do on a day-to-day basis and classwork. I’ve just got to get it done,” Griffin said.

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