Andre "Pulpwood" Smith's road to redemption - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Andre "Pulpwood" Smith's road to redemption

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By Shayne Wright  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - What ever happened to Andre "Pulpwood" Smith? It's a question asked by many old school Georgia Bulldog fans.  Pulpwood who got his name from his old baseball days, led the UGA football team in rushing yards in the 1984 season but for many years after his whereabouts were a mystery, until now.

The year was 1984, a young running back from Douglas, Georgia with a name as unique as running skills.  Andre Pulpwood Smith, but after just two years in Athens, Pulpwood's life took a drastic turn for the worse

David McCluskey said "It made me a lot more compassionate.  I didn't understand it when we were in school because I never did none of that but as I started learning later on in life, the collateral effects and collateral damages that it could cause it made me more sensitive to his feelings."

What was once a bright future a budding young star become a world riddled with travesty

Andre Smith said "Cocaine was one of my down falls and it was the powder and the rock cocaine, what we called free based."

Andre was dismissed from Georgia in following his 1984 season for academic violations.  An act that fueled his drug use. He bounced around from city to city and spent much of his time in and out of jail, hoping cocaine would fill a void left by football.

Smith said "In my dreams I tried to fill that void that I was going to play pro football and my way to try and escape that was for me to go to a city and be science fiction like I was really traveling the world being a productive athlete."

In 1997,now in Atlanta, Andre's dangerous lifestyle came to a head

Smith said "I was shot down on the ground for 19 minutes and I went through a bunch of things, surgery and all of that. Don't have the time to tell you all I've been through but from that day on I knew I was blessed."

That's when the transformation process began and Pulpwood decided it was time to appreciate his life, time for a change, time for Jesus.

Smith said "I been saved all my life I was started putting it in perspective"

Keith Henderson said "He's given his self to the Lord, that's just one of those things you just can't ignore"

Lars Tate said "Its so wonderful to see Andre, he's looking different, different person."

McCluskey said "I haven't seen Andre. This is the first time I've seen Andre since we left. Its been 28 years.

Hearing of Pulpwood's turn around, a few familiar faces Lars Tate, Keith Henderson, Tim Worley and David McCluskey, a tandem known as Georgia's 4 horsemen, dawned on Crossroads Baptist Church in Douglas after years and years of searching for their friend.

McCluskey said "He was Pulpwood..he's one of those person's like I was telling them in the speech the other day, that's just like Jesus, when you see him you'll never forget him"

Henderson said "This weekend was to let him know that he had somebody behind his back"

One may say it was a scene etched in time but what happened next was timeless. It was surprise phone call from their legendary coach Vince Dooley and there is was, a moment only to be described as special.  Pulpwood has been clean for almost 3 years now and while his struggles persist, so does his faith.

Lars Tate "He's very sincere in what he's doing, I can look in his face and tell"

Smith "Every thing is just lining up like a tube so its all about Christ."

His past has been written but there is still hope for redemption, hope for salvation, hope for Andre. 

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