“I gave it to him and said, ‘Maybe you’ll play in this game,’” said Joe Tereshinski Jr.
On Saturday, Tereshinski III will replace an injured D.J. Shockley at quarterback and make his first collegiate start against No. 16 Florida. If he leads the No. 4 Bulldogs to a victory, he’ll be the third generation in his family to win at least a part of the SEC championship wearing the red and black.
Joe Tereshinski Sr. played for the Bulldogs in the early 1940s, including on the 1942 and 1946 conference title teams. Tereshinski Jr. won the 1976 SEC crown while he played for Georgia.
“That’s the great part of this story,” said Vince Dooley, who coached Tereshinski Jr. “They’re all cut from the same mold, too. They’re committed. They’re loyal. They’re hard workers, right on down the line.”
As a kid, Tereshinski III “hung around the locker room as much as I could,” he said.
Quarterback Eric Zeier was his favorite player and he slept near a football signed by the 1992 team near his bed.
“I’m happy for Joe in a way because he does love Georgia,” coach Mark Richt said. “He is a true team man. Even when we were recruiting him, he knew Shockley was here. He felt like if he redshirted and got a chance to start his senior year, that was good enough for him. That’s how badly he wanted to be at Georgia.”
Actually, that’s not quite true, Tereshinski Jr. said. When Tereshinski III committed to Georgia, he planned on beating out Shockley for the job, his dad said. The Tereshinskis were on their way home from a recruiting trip to Auburn when Tereshinski III decided he wanted to commit to the Bulldogs.
“He says, ‘Dad, I want to commit to Coach Richt tomorrow,” Tereshinski Jr. said. “I said, ‘Don’t you think you ought to wait?’ He said, ‘No dad, that’s where I want to go.’”
Tereshinski Jr. pointed out that his son probably would have to wait behind Shockley for three years, and that, if he wanted to go to medical school like he said, he’d be better off going to Harvard, which recruited him heavily.
Tereshinski couldn’t be swayed, though. Now, he’s living that dream that played out on his wall for all those years.
“It just shows that every boy should have a dream, that dreams can happen for you,” Tereshinski Jr. said. “The question is, ‘Are you going to be prepared when that dream comes true?’”
They Said It
“I think he’s carrying a lot of stuff on his shoulder, but he’s glad to carry it. He’s a strong kid.” -- Joe Tereshinski Jr.
Joe Tereshinski Sr.
Lettered in 1942, 1945 and 1946 for Wally Butt’s teams ... Played on teams that went 31-3 ... Named Associated Press All-SEC second team defensive end ... Played eight seasons in NFL with Washington Redskins and still lives in D.C. area
Joe Tereshinski Jr.
Lettered in 1974, 1975 and 1976 for Vince Dooley teams ... Started at center on 1975 Cotton Bowl team and 1976 Sugar Bowl team ... Has been on Georgia’s football coaching or support staff since 1982, currently serving as video coordinator and assistant strength coach
Joe Tereshinski III
Lettered in 2004 for Mark Richt team ... Served as personal protector on punt team and as long-snapper in two games ... Has completed 13-of-23 passes for 207 yards, one interception and no touchdowns in his career, all coming this year
Joe III’s uncle lettered in 1976 and 1977 on Vince Dooley teams ... Started at tight end in 1976, when Bulldogs won SEC championship
Joe III’s younger brother is the only non-Dog in the family ... Starting tight end at Wake Forest this season ... Has five catches in 2005