NOTE: This article was published a few days before David Andrews signed with UGA in 2011...
You could call that interest an obsession with Georgia football.
Usually, parents pass down likes and dislikes to their children, especially when it comes to college football in the South. But that's not how the household school favorite was settled within the Andrews family.
David's mother and father didn't follow Georgia growing up. His mother is an Auburn graduate and his father hails from lower Alabama.
But Andrews' grandfather bleeds red and black, and it didn't take long to instill the same passion for the Bulldogs in young David. From there, the rest of the family had no choice but to get on board.
"Once I transferred over to liking Georgia, everybody else was all in," Andrews said.
And so the Andrews family embarked on a Georgia football journey. Maybe nobody in the family explicitly realized David would one day sign to play football for Georgia. It's hard to forecast a small son growing into the stout body of a coveted college football recruit.
Looking back, Andrews has been a Bulldog all along. He attended his first game in 2002—the SEC Championship game, for an ironic winning note. Seeing Georgia run wild on Arkansas in the Georgia Dome to claim the SEC title more than settled which team had Andrews' heart. After that, Andrews made every possible attempt to be in Sanford Stadium on Saturdays.
Unfortunately, Andrews' own time on the field created a scheduling issue—a conflict of football interests, of sorts.
"It was hard because growing up playing ball, we played our games on Saturday," Andrews said. "So, it was hard, but any (game) I could get tickets or didn't have a game I would try to go."
Andrews earned his nickname—a fitting moniker—on those youth football fields.
"I grew up playing town ball, so I was always playing with kids that are now freshmen and sophomores in college," he said. "At a young age I was still able to compete and be one of the best linemen. One of my coaches started calling me ‘Boss Hawg.' It just went down to Boss from there."
And a boss, Andrews certainly was. After his junior season at Wesleyan, the now 6-foot-2, 282-pound Andrews became a clear candidate to play on the college level. He was a quintessential prospect at the center position, according to Scout.com recruiting analyst Chad Simmons.
"He is smart," Simmons said. "He can make the calls, he is strong and he gets off the ball well."
There was really only one offer Andrews was waiting on. Sure, other schools like Auburn, Tennessee and Duke let him know he was a wanted man. But Andrews was going to Georgia. No doubt about that.
The Bulldogs offered in February. Andrews committed in February. No funny business or playing the recruiting game, just a Bulldog for life fulfilling what had first become a dream years prior, even before the 2002 SEC Championship game Andrews witnessed in person.
"I told my parents if Georgia offered, that was it," Andrews said.
David Andrews converted his parents to Georgia fans at a young age
And so it was. Leaving the recruiting hoopla behind him, Andrews took to the life of a Georgia commit. He was heading out for Athens on Saturdays this past fall, in the same manner he had so many times before.
There were some differences in game day experience. Andrews and his father became a fixture on the sideline before each home game. Whether talking to other commits or joking with new acquaintances, Andrews was always there.
Unfortunately, Andrews played witness to something recruits in Athens hadn't been subjected to in 14 years. Georgia finished with a losing record for the first time since 1996, as Mark Richt and the program came under criticism.
"There is no upside in getting beat," Andrews said. "No one wants to get beat. Everybody wants to win."
Quite frankly, all the losing pissed Andrews off. He never wavered in his pledge. No, his commitment was made years ago. Instead of rethinking where he would play ball, Andrews only concerned himself with making Georgia a winner again. That meant texting other recruits, talking to current players—anything to get the ball rolling toward lifting the program up off the mat.
Now with plans to sign his letter of intent on National Signing Day, Andrews is part of a class that has most believing Richt can turn things around. And while most fans get more excited about incoming running backs or quarterbacks or hard hitting safeties, Andrews and his winning mentality may just be the most important piece to the class.
"I think the most positive thing I took from last season was they were in every game they lost," he said. "They just had to finish games. I think we can turn it around. There's a lot of upside to that. I don't think people need to turn their backs. I know the players and recruits aren't, so the fans shouldn't either. We're going to turn it around next year."
How's that for a statement? Andrews doesn't just talk, either. He's already actively engaged in "turning it around." He works out with Ryan Goldin, an Atlanta strength coach, three to four times a week. He also works on his speed and conditioning three times a week with another trainer. Soon, Andrews plans to get back to work with his high school line coach to perfect his technique before moving to Athens in early summer.
"I have had over 1,500 kids I have trained, and I would put him in the top three as far as personal drive, as far as, ‘I am going to get my stuff done and I am going to hit whatever is expected of me each day and more,'" Goldin said. "He never misses a workout. He outworks everybody."
With senior Ben Jones entrenched as Georgia's starting center, maybe Andrews won't play much this coming season. Maybe he'll redshirt. But that won't matter. His dismissive attitude towards winning is a contagious kind of trait, the kind fans might not always know about but coaches crave inside the locker room.
Remember, Andrews has already convinced his own family to believe in the Georgia Bulldogs. He'll be damned if he won't do it again.