Vintage footage: Bill Hartman’s report on Herschel Walker’s recruitment

UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM BILL HARTMAN. . . .

Some of you die-hard Georgia fans may have seen it before but I had never seen this vintage footage about Herschel Walker’s recruitment put together in February of 1980 by a young TV reporter named Bill Hartman, then with Atlanta’s Channel 5. Some of you will also recognize “Five News Scene” sports anchor (and Florida Gator/Atlanta Falcon) Harmon Wages.

In the two-part series, Hartman is in Wrightsville on National Signing Day to talk to Walker and his coaches about his recruitment when he stumbles upon Walker driving a shiny new black Pontiac Trans Am. Ever the inquiring journalist, Hartman immediately gets to the bottom of who bought the Trans Am. (Walker’s parents, Hartman determines). At that point, the Goal-line Stalker had not signed with Georgia and it was still a pretty intense recruiting battle between the Bulldogs and Clemson and others. Georgia Tech’s also involved, we learn.

A couple of really cool things caught my eye. Number one, you’ll note that Hartman interviews Georgia head coach Vince Dooley and a Georgia Tech assistant coach about Walker right there at Johnson County High School. Modern recruiting rules would never allow such a thing. Number two, the report, the second in a series, was three minutes and 12 seconds long. An entire sportscast doesn’t last that long these days.

As we all know now, Walker eventually signed with Georgia — but not until Easter Sunday — and went on to become arguably the greatest college running back of all time.

I talked to the now-retired Hartman (who still does some part-time work for Channel 5 during football season) about what he remembers about the footage. Not surprisingly, it’s the black Trans Am.

Said Hartman:

“The big thing that jumps to mind is we were standing on the square in Wrightsville and I was going to do what’s called a stand-up, where there’s a Johnson County sign or a courthouse or something behind me. And I looked across the way and I saw this Trans Am. And I said to my cameraman, ‘wow, that’s Herschel.’ It was evident that he was going to have to come to where we were. So we set up and timed it and waited for Herschel to drive by.

“The answer to that Trans Am is his mom and dad, both of whom had full-time jobs, bought that for him. And you know what, I swear, to this day — and maybe I’m the most naive person in the world — I don’t think Herschel got anything other than a job out of that. He worked at the local Ford dealership and I think that car was a used Trans Am that was on that lot. That’s my recollection of it. . . .

“That was, of course, shot on film, not videotape. And I remember heading back to Atlanta just kind of giddy with what we had.”

Without further adieu, from YouTube via “ghostoferkrussell,” I give you “Recruiting Herschel Walker.”

182 comments Add your comment

CL

February 16th, 2010
8:44 am

My God a Freshman!!!!!

Sunny Purdue

February 16th, 2010
8:48 am

CrashTestChris

February 16th, 2010
8:49 am

Never lost to Florida or Tech….Still owes us a year too.

Mike Shula

February 16th, 2010
8:50 am

We all know UGA bought that Trans Am for Hershel. Come clean, the statute has run. Come clean.

Sunny Purdue

February 16th, 2010
8:53 am

You can tell Vince is lying – his lips are moving.

Shug

February 16th, 2010
9:07 am

Bless his soul, but this video reminds me that Harmon Wages had no business being anywhere near broadcasting.

superDawg

February 16th, 2010
9:08 am

Danny Ford bought it and he is still mad about it.

GeoffDawg

February 16th, 2010
9:14 am

Great clip! LOL @ “selling ACC football” as a recruiting ploy.

Asheville Dawg

February 16th, 2010
9:16 am

From his last statement, Herschel sounds very intelligent, knowing that running backs only last seven years. Who knew 30 years later he would make his MMA debut? For a sport not yet invented.

Tim Timmers

February 16th, 2010
9:19 am

He should have bought a Chevy.

Davey Boy Smith

February 16th, 2010
9:24 am

Interesting that the coach mentioned a “December signing day.”

Anyone know anything about that? Did there used to be an early signing day?

Run You Hesrchel Walker....Run

February 16th, 2010
9:25 am

I notice a few things about recruiting from this:
1- Each recruit has his own criteria so the pitch has to be personalized
2- Academics are really important to smart kids, so UGA should push this more with those kids
3- 1 great player can turn a program into a National Championship team
4- Smart guys, who like to learn, develop faster, Herschel made an impact as a Freshman because he loved learning, and learned fast
5- Smart guys have an advantage-Herschel was valedictorian at his school
6- It’s not just about physical skills, it’s also about intelligence

Tailback U

February 16th, 2010
9:26 am

Oh you Herschel Walker !

Chip , we would have missed out on a lot if HW went elsewhere.
The great runs being called by Larry the legend have been so
impactful on Georgia football’s stature and legacy.
The thought of a Clemson ot Tech having had the goal line
stalker in their backfield is not a happy thought.
But HW always managed to give Georgia fans a happy ending in
his playing career and there are precious few guys that can
be said about no matter the player or the team they played on.

Fides | goddess of honesty

February 16th, 2010
9:26 am

Da’Rick sounded about the same way and Da’Rick is going to Tennessee.

4WhatIt'sWorth

February 16th, 2010
9:28 am

I think we need to find out if any of Herschel’s personalities have any eligibility left. If so, sign him up next year cause there is obviously a lot left in the tank.
GO YOU HERSCHEL WALKER! HE JUST RAN OVER A MAN – DRIVING AND RUNNING WITH THOSE BIG THIGHS!
4 MORE YEARS! 4 MORE YEARS! 4 MORE YEARS!

superDawg

February 16th, 2010
9:29 am

Who gave him the nickle when he flipped the coin that came up UGA.

MattDawg

February 16th, 2010
9:30 am

I love how Clemson fans are so jealous about Georgia getting Herschel. They are always like “you guys paid him more” or “he never scored a touchdown against Clemson” give it a rest you Clemson jokers you got your National Title without him so why are you still jealous. REALLY!!

dawgydawg

February 16th, 2010
9:34 am

Now he just kicks butt for a living. I love herschel!

jsmith

February 16th, 2010
9:35 am

for all those that say recruiting is overrated !!! and its not that big a deal when you lose a kid to another school.

Run You Hesrchel Walker....Run

February 16th, 2010
9:36 am

Herschel was President of the Beta Club, you needed good grades to get into that club. He was valedictorian. He studied and did lots of homework. He was always reading books. He excelled at math early on. Herschel had a high gpa coming into college.

Herschel was also known for his conditioning program:
2000 push ups, 3000 sit ups, 1500 pull ups, 1000 dips

Big impact players usually have a hard work ethic, that’s reflected in academic success and conditioning.

I also think his intelligence is what helped him learn so fast and make an impact so quickly.

Run You Herschel Walker....Run

February 16th, 2010
9:46 am

Herschel would tell you his spirituality drove him. Big time Christian, I think character and ethics and honesty is something to look for in a future star. Herschel read the Bible a ton during his high school years. Character will help you do what you say you’ll do and keep you out of trouble.

#1 Character
#2 Academics
#3 Conditioning
#4 On the field success

DirtyDawg

February 16th, 2010
9:50 am

All’s I know is we wuz glad we got ‘im…and I was, forever, thankful that my, long-time, Tennessee friends invited us to Knoxville for that opening game in ‘80…God it was glorious. Of course, I had to wait until later that week to hear Larry’s call – they didn’t re-play it much up there, ya’ know.

Porty

February 16th, 2010
9:51 am

Laughable. It was/is pretty much common knowledge that Georgia bought that car for him.

RJM Dawg

February 16th, 2010
9:52 am

Chip,

Do you do any of your own work, or do you just ride on the coat tails of UGA’s rivals site?

Steve

February 16th, 2010
9:58 am

Man, has it really been 30 years since UGA won their only national championship? Wow. Must suck to be irrelevant for that long.

superDawg

February 16th, 2010
9:59 am

There goes Herschel.

superDawg

February 16th, 2010
10:01 am

Timmy Tebow is a amature rookie compared to THE MAN called Herschel.

Joco Trojan

February 16th, 2010
10:01 am

I’m actually from Wrightsville and there have always been rumors as to who bought the Trans Am. I worked at the country club for a year while I was going to college and actually had a member tell me that he had purchased the car for Herschel’s father and put it in his Herschel’s father’s name. Granted the guy could have been full of it and just wanted to boost himself up. He explained to me that he did it for personal reasons and was hoping that Herschel and his family may return the favor one day. He said Herschel never asked for it and that for years Herschel never knew exactly who bought the car. He said that his father did repay him for the Trans Am a few years later and that there were no outside parties involved. Take it for what it’s worth though. I personally believe the gentleman and always thought he was a very honest guy. You never know though. Get a few drinks in a guy and you never know what they will come up with.

At the Miami Airport

February 16th, 2010
10:09 am

In about 1984 or 85, my wife and i met him while we were all waiting on a Delta flight to Atlanta from Miami. His sis was with him and his wife. HW was very pleasant but his wife was aloof, which is understandable. My wife and I are UGA grads much older than he by 13 years but he was very nice to sit and visit with. He told me that he really “enjoyed ” being a Dog and that after his pro days “would still somehow be involved” with UGA. Then, he was playing for Trump, I believe.

Go Dogs.

jsmith

February 16th, 2010
10:10 am

you know auburn or clemson didnt buy the car , they would have gotten him an orange el camino

Tech's Eddie Lee Ivory

February 16th, 2010
10:10 am

I wanted to meet ELI too but in the 80s he was in Wisconsin prison sytem for assualting a woman.

Chip Towers

February 16th, 2010
10:11 am

RJM Dawg: All due respect to my good friends at UGASports.com — and they are all truly good friends — but it’s not exactly work to upload a YouTube video to your website. I did, however, call my pal Bill Hartman to find out what he remembered about it. I’ve since added his comments to the post. Whew! I’m tired now. Think I’ll call it a day. LOL!

GaGator

February 16th, 2010
10:13 am

It’s not healthy to live in the past.

Baddawg

February 16th, 2010
10:18 am

He must be Reggie Bush’s hero. Both won a National Championship, Both won the Heisman Award, and Both had their parents housing paid for while in College….HUMMMM

Danny Ford

February 16th, 2010
10:21 am

He never scored against Clemson, the team he wanted to play for!!!

SimpleDawg

February 16th, 2010
10:22 am

What great memories! Herschel….Charmin’ Harmon…..all of those great years of domination. Back when hating Clemson was really meaningful….hating GIT and Florida didn’t really matter – we always pounded both of them.

Georgia had nothing to do with the Trans Am, but Danny Ford would’ve bought him a fleet of Trans Ams to come to the Cow College in Clemson and study animal husbandry.

Ah, the Good Ol’ Days.

mansup01

February 16th, 2010
10:30 am

Holy cow. UGA living in the past, as always.

Gatorzone

February 16th, 2010
10:33 am

Herschel, still one of the best. I love the guy and all that he stands for.

Nick

February 16th, 2010
10:36 am

Damn good stuff.
Damn good dog!

mansup01

February 16th, 2010
10:36 am

All that talk…..really into his homework and academics. And then he chooses UGA….the “knowledge college”? hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Nick

February 16th, 2010
10:37 am

mansup01:

Yeah UGA’s the ONLY school that ever revisits their glorious history.

You are a moron!

bank walker

February 16th, 2010
10:40 am

Herschel Walker….the best college football player of all time!

Reality Check

February 16th, 2010
10:42 am

Remember when UGA football meant something…30 YEARS AGO?!

dtanner

February 16th, 2010
10:45 am

what a joke harmon wages was, had forgotton about that fool, and bill hartman actually once had had hair!

bigdawg88

February 16th, 2010
10:46 am

I think UGA is smart enough not to buy cars for recruits. But it would be nothing for a dealer to “sell” a car with very favorable terms ($50/month for four years then a balloon payment from NFL pay).
I remember going to UGA on a visit for an academic scholarship and a certain suit company in Loganville offering me a suit, until I told him I wasn’t an athlete. Offer rescinded!
My parents wouldn’t have let me take it anyway.
No point in UGA fans denying that Herschel got some benefits, whether he knew about it or not. And if he was so smart, I’m sure he knew his father couldn’t afford a Trans-Am. They were poor the way i understand it.
On the other hand, all that money they saved from not having to feed Herschel WAS probably enough to make payments on a Transam. LOL
I’m just glad they got rid of some of the plantation mentality they had towards the athletes. Seems like Evans and Richt are actually trying to educate the young men they have now rather than shuffling them through school as long as they performed in the fields, oops I meant on the field. Still proud of my Dawgs though!!

GATA DAWGS!!!!

Mike

February 16th, 2010
10:47 am

In a later interview, Herschel wanted to go to Clemson and it was his parents that persuaded him to attend Georgia.

Herschel Walker, the goal line stalker … there will never be another one. I remember, for the benefit of all of you kids that never saw him play, that everytime Herschel took a handoff, regardless of down, yardage or situation, people in the stands stood up. There was something electric and everytime he touched the ball, you thought something could break open. It usually did. I’m a twenty-five year season ticket holder and alum, and a lifetime Dawg, and I have never seen anything in my lifetime that even comes close. No one in my lifetime had his combination of speed, quickness and strength. Ask Bill Bates at UT …

Darrin "The Vent King"

February 16th, 2010
10:48 am

My goodness, dude was a freaking tank even at 17 yrs old! Somebody call the Men in Black, I think Herschel Walker is from another planet!

TechFan

February 16th, 2010
10:48 am

Herschel was the greatest college back in my era. It was actually hard to dislike UGA during the Herschel days even as a big Tech fan.

Joe

February 16th, 2010
10:51 am

HW was paid 25k from a car dealer to go to UGA. Same payment was made to Quincy Carter.

Got 12?

February 16th, 2010
10:52 am

Herschel would give up sports to do his homework.

That’s a good one.