COLUMBIA, MO. – Guess who’s in town?
Aron White, the outspoken former tight end for Georgia. He grew up right here in Columbia, just two miles from Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium.
White, who played for the Bulldogs from 2008-2011, was cut by the Atlanta Falcons last month and is still trying to catch on in the NFL. He came home to Columbia for a few weeks, and it’s no coincidence he’s here as Georgia gets ready to play his hometown team for just the second time in history and first time in 52 years.
“I can’t wait,” said White, who caught 34 passes for 512 yards and 10 touchdowns. “I definitely would’ve loved to have played Missouri while I was at Georgia. It breaks my heart to have missed it by one year. It definitely would have been fun to come and play at Faurot Field one time. But I’ll be there as a fan. I’m going to be decked out in my Georgia gear.”
Logan Gray, White’s former teammate at Columbia’s Rockbridge High, will also be at the game. Gray, who used the NCAA’s postgraduate program to finish his career at Colorado, actually works for Missouri’s athletic department as a tutor for the Tigers’ men’s basketball team.
I’m supposed to talk to Gray later, but according to his interview with the Columbia Tribune, he doesn’t feel as nostalgic about his time in Athens as White does.
Both players picked the Bulldogs out of high school in order to leave town and play a higher brand of football in the SEC.
“I wanted to go away and experience college away from home, ” White said. “But definitely the SEC allure was a big factor in my decision. Everybody aspires to play SEC level football in college.”
Now Missouri is playing on that level, and White is as intrigued as anybody to see how tomorrow’s game turns out.
“They’re saying it’s the most anticipated Mizzou game in history,” White said. “Everybody’s so excited. The hotels are blowing up with people around here.
“I don’t wish any ill will on Missouri, but I hope Georgia comes out and kind of makes a statement about the kind of league we’ve been playing in and the level of play we bring week in and week out.”