Strickland enrolls early at UGA - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Strickland enrolls early at UGA

October 26, 2006

Nashville -- At 6' 5" and 315 pounds, it's hard to miss Berrien County center Tanner Strickland. But even as a stand-out on and off the football field, the senior offensive lineman wasn't expecting a lot of attention from major college football programs.

The University of Georgia was first out of the gate with a scholarship offer to Strickland before his junior season, and the senior is now ready to get a head start on his college education.

It was clear very quickly to Berrien County Head Coach Ross New that Tanner Strickland could play big time college football.

"Well, when I first met him" says New. "If you look at him, physically he's as good as you are going to see. He runs a 4.85, he's 6'5", 315 pounds, dunks a basketball, and can squat 600 pounds. There's not very many high school guys that can do that."

The University of Georgia spotted Strickland at a lineman camp before his junior year of high school.

"They were the first school at made an offer to me, or really showed any interest, so I jumped on it," says Strickland. "I knew in my heart Georgia was where I needed to be. Some other schools were looking at me, but I kind of shook them off."

Strickland did not grow up strictly a Bulldog fan.

"It was a split household between Georgia and Auburn, but Georgia came out on top, I guess," says Strickland.

And which side of the house won that battle?

"My Mom, Georgia," Strickland says, with a laugh.

Coach New says the signing has made Strickland a bit of a marked man.

"It's the notoriety," says New. "With high expectations this year, and knowing that Georgia has already committed, there's a lot of responsibility that comes with it, but he's handling it well."

Strickland adds, "Sometimes when you do mess up people jump on you and get down your throat a little bit. It's something you have to deal with, but with all that bad comes a lot of good."

Strickland plans to graduate early and enroll at UGA in January.

"It's something where you feel like you're leaving a lot behind," says Strickland, "but when you look at the big picture it's just too much to pass up."

Berrien County plans rival Cook Friday at 7:30 PM.

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