0

Not all about football for Shockleys - Doug Gorman

Thursday afternoon I called over to the football field house at North Clayton High School to talk to head coach Don Shockley.

My purpose was two fold.

I wanted to chat with the Eagles' head coach about the upcoming season. Just like last year, North Clayton should be very good.

But I had another reason for dialing up the veteran football coach. I wanted to chat with him about his son, D.J., the Georgia Bulldogs' new starting quarterback.

It's been five years since Shockley first headed to Athens to begin his college career, and if the truth be known, things didn't work out like anybody expected.

Shockley came out of North Clayton as one of the best high school quarterbacks in the country and could have had his pick of any major-college program.

Of course, he decided to stay close to home to play for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs.

That was great news for citizens of the Bulldog Nation.

Shockley was destined to be a starter for the Bulldogs, but David Greene changed those plans when he won the job and held on to it by putting together an All-American type career.

With Greene lining up over center, Georgia posted a 34-6 record during his last three seasons, including an SEC title in 2002. That left very little room for D.J. to break into the Bulldogs' lineup.

Transferring was a serious option for the talent quarterback, who was simply too good to be sitting on anybody's bench.

It's sound like the veteran coach was more frustrated by the situation than his son. Don Shockley has nothing but good things to stay about David Greene and what he did for Georgia, but as a proud father and a man who has more knowledge of the game than the casual fan, he felt for his son who could have been starting by now had he gone almost anywhere else.

By staying in Athens, D.J. has let everybody know the meaning of the word "team player."

He loves being a Bulldog, and now after sticking with it through some trying times, Shockley, now a senior, is going to get his chance to start.

During a media day function last month in Macon, Richt praised Shockley's character, work ethic and team leadership.

The former North Clayton High School superstar has never started a game for the Bulldogs, that won't come until Sept. 3 when Georgia entertains Boise State.

However he is about to add a major accomplishment to his resume – college graduate. D.J. goes into his final season at Georgia just one class short of satisfying his requirements for a degree in Communications.

It's obvious, Don Shockley is just as proud of that as any on-the field accolades his son will accomplish this fall in his only year as the Bulldogs' starter.

After all, isn't earning a degree really the reason for going to college?

(Doug Gorman is the sports editor for the Daily. He can be e-mailed at dgorman@news-daily.com )