ATHENS – The best part, Rhett McGowan said, was the phone call to his mother.
Approaching his fourth season in Georgia’s football program, the wide receiver from Calhoun was among seven walk-on players called to the front of a team meeting by coach Mark Richt over the weekend and awarded scholarships.
“I was overwhelmed,” McGowan said. “It was just a dream come true.
“I was not expecting it, but I think, in the back of their mind, every walk-on hopes for that opportunity. I wasn’t working here at camp for a scholarship – I was working to get on the field and help this team. Getting that scholarship is amazing and just another thing on top of that.
“It affects my mom more than it does me, honestly. I would still be putting the work in out there [either way], going as hard as I have been.”
It affects Louise McGowan financially, her son noted, because football scholarships cover tuition, fees, room, board and books.
“That’s the first person I called,” McGowan said. “She was so excited and couldn’t sleep that night. … It was the best feeling to be able to call her and tell her that.”
McGowan said he was recruited out of high school by some small colleges, but “I knew this is the place I should be.” He played in seven games last season, catching seven passes for 84 yards (four for 51 vs. New Mexico State). He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Second scrimmage set
Georgia, which did not practice Tuesday, will hold its second scrimmage of the preseason Wednesday afternoon in Sanford Stadium. The closed scrimmage will match the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 2 defense and the No. 1 defense vs. the No. 2 offense.
“I do want the No. 1 units to dominate, I hope,” Richt said. “And then I want to see guys on the No. 2 unit making plays that make us believe they’re ready to play SEC football. I hope we have a healthy day, too.”
Talking tailbacks …
“There’s not a lot of separation,” Richt said, among the top four tailbacks: veterans Ken Malcome and Richard Samuel and freshmen Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley.
“I think they’re all going to get their opportunity to play throughout the year,” Richt said. “Who’s going to be the starter, I don’t know. We’ll be anxious to see all of them, really.”
It continues to look and sound as if freshman John Theus will start the season opener.
The No. 1 offensive line “for the great majority of all our practices,” Richt said, has had Theus at right tackle, Chris Burnette at right guard, David Andrews at center, Dallas Lee at left guard and Kenarious Gates at left tackle.
“I think it’s been good,” Richt said.
If Gates were to be injured, Georgia likely would move Theus or Watts Dantzler from the right side, Richt said.