ATHENS, Ga. — On the one-year anniversary of the day he decided to quit football, Aaron Scranton was back on the football fields Tuesday, still hating the running and conditioning drills but also now realizing that the dues that must be paid in the sport are not so bad.
“A year out in the real world changes your opinion,’’ Scranton said.
A scholarship signee from Buford High School one year ago, Scranton was invited back as a walk-on by Coach Mark Richt. Scranton will have the opportunity to earn back his scholarship, but for now the road back to the college life he abandoned on Aug. 5, 2002 is paved with student loans and Pell Grant funds.
“It’s just what I had to do to get back,’’ said Scranton, a defensive end.
Scranton said he spent a year knocking on doors, selling vacuum cleaners. “It wasn’t my thing,’’ he said.
One year ago, Scranton said the “five years of blood, sweat and tears’’ of the college football life was not for him. Even then, Scranton said he loved the game but hated the price that must be paid to play the game.
“I hate running; I always will,’’ he said Tuesday. “I hate conditioning work. I just love to fight, and as long as I can play, this will be worth it.’’
In his second chance at Georgia, Scranton’s only regrets are about being away from his son, Landon Bryce, who is only 2 months old and is with his girl friend and parents in Alpharetta.
“It can work,’’ Scranton said. “I know it can. We’re looking to get married when I get my scholarship back, and then we’ll live off-campus. I hate every time I have to say goodbye to them, but if I’m not here I’m out making 8 bucks an hour, and that just isn’t going to cut it.’’
Richt and the coaching staff had to talk Scranton into giving football a try last year. This year, Scranton entertained scholarship offers from other schools, including Florida, before deciding Georgia was his best fit.
“He believes his mind is right and he’s ready to do what it takes to be a player,’’ Richt said. “Even when he left last year, I told him if he had a change of heart we’d bring him back.’’
Watson outgrows tight end position: Listed as a tight end, true freshman Coleman Watson instead is playing offensive tackle.
The move is no surprise. When Watson showed up for the spring G-Day game at 285 pounds, Coach Mark Richt said he knew he was looking at an offensive lineman.
“(Watson) was like ‘Coach, I can’t seem to keep the weight off,’ ’’ Richt said Tuesday. “I struck a pass-block pose and just said ‘Keep eating.’ ’’
Added Richt: “I think he knew (the move to tackle) was coming.’’
Watson is listed at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds. Like many first-year linemen, he checked in at least 25 pounds heavier than his listed weight.
Munson wins national award: Georgia play-by-play radio broadcaster Larry Munson has been named the 2003 winner of the Chris Schenkel Award, presented each year by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame to a football broadcaster. The award will be presented to Munson Friday at the College Football Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement ceremony in South Bend, Ind.
Munson is entering his 38th season as the voice of the Georgia broadcasts.
Savoring every minute: Tight end Ben Watson, who returned for his senior season only after at first declaring himself eligible for last April’s NFL draft, plans to savor his last year in college.
Watson showed up for Georgia’s media day Monday with a video camera. As he was surrounded by a circle of reporters, he recorded every question. He even plans to have some help taping practices and games this season.
“Looking back, this is going on five years, and I just want to have some memories of everything that happens,’’ Watson said.
“I’m not going to get every practice, but I’ll try to get some of them.’’
Added Watson: “(Reporters) are video taping me all the time. I’m just returning the favor. I’m just going to keep my camera rolling the whole season.’’