Oooo, oooo, growin’ up…

The long journey of Jacob Park:

He committed to Georgia in June 2013. The No. 93 prospect nationally and fourth-ranked dual-threat quarterback with offers from Alabama, Florida State and Notre Dame, Park appeared a suitable heir to Aaron Murray, whose UGA career wrapped as Park led Goose Creek (S.C.) Stratford to the Class AAAA Division II state championship game and took the title of Mr. Football in his home state to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

After his first spring at Georgia, Park redshirted behind Hutson Mason, Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta. The departure to Colorado State of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo preceded a second spring for the quarterback without movement on the depth chart.

Park said he questioned training methods, coaching decisions and the impact of work away from the field on his progress.

“I just don’t think my personality and their personality went together,” Park said of his time at Georgia. “I never was cocky or arrogant or thought I had all the answers, but I definitely wasn’t as open-minded as I thought I was.”

More than that, he got frustrated easily and failed to handle the scrutiny of living under a spotlight.

“People think your life’s perfect because you play quarterback at a major university, but they have no idea how many eyes are on you at all times,” he said. “That was a weird time in my life. My trust in the whole business of football was really killing my love for the game.”

… The experiences at Georgia and elsewhere, Park said, were “the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Today, he embraces the early morning workouts he used to despise.

“As a person, I’ve taken tremendous strides,” Park said. “As a football player, I’m much more dialed in and controlled. The stuff that coach Patterson preached to me when I was [at NEO] and that coach Campbell continues to preach to me here, I don’t know if it’s the first time I’ve heard it or if I’m just a better listener, but it all makes sense now.

“There’s no pointless conversations with anybody. My life makes sense for me.”

I know it’s easy to point at Park and chalk him up as another whiff at the position by Richt — why didn’t the coaches see his attitude coming during recruitment? — that hurt the program in 2015.  But I wonder, even more than I do about Brice Ramsey’s case, what might have been with Park had Bobo not taken the Colorado State job.  Some coaches do a better job of getting kids’ heads out of their asses than others, and Park’s career at Iowa State indicates he was open to that kind of coaching.

Water under the bridge, I know…



Filed under Georgia Football

24 responses to “Oooo, oooo, growin’ up…

  1. Mary Kate Danaher

    Love a good Bruce reference in the morning.


  2. Russ

    Fake news! I know from reading here that Park was a bum that nobody wanted except Richt because he was too lazy to go look for another QB.


  3. Mark

    More than anything else, CMR losing CBVG and BMB hurt him. Lots of coaches go down because they lose their best assistants. IMO, its the most amazing thing about Saban…. he loses assistants but the product stays the same.

    Even Coach Meyer’s results were greatly impacted when he lost his offensive co-ordinator to Miss St.

    To your point, it would have been very interesting to see how CMR and the offense would have done if Coach Bobo had stayed around a few more years. The kid was really coming into his own as a coach. He was the best OC since McDuffie at UGA and that may be underrating him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bubs

    Well atleast his hairstyle is still consistently terrible.


  5. Macallanlover

    How did we miss the attitude issue during his recruitment? Same way as Bama, FSU, and ND I guess. Same way as happens with many 16-18 year olds as they are thrown into a new environment, away from home, during the time of their life they change/grow the most. Very hard to project that maturation period. Park himself said he was not as adaptable as he should have been. As I recall, Bama had Park at the top of their board that year. When Park committed to UGA, the QB from Oklahoma committed to Bama within hours. Park wasn’t a “maybe” for the Tide, he was their choice as well.

    Organizations change directions and personnel often, folks involved have to have skills that transfer to different circumstances. Who knows what would have happened if Bobo had stayed? I am sure he regrets not staying in Athens now, and I feel UGA would have had a better 2015 with Park….and certainly with Park/Bobo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spurrier didn’t recruit Park, as I recall. That should have raised a flag.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sanford222view

        1) Sarcasm?
        2) When has Spurrier ever recruited top ranked QB prospects (especially at USCjr)?
        3) He didn’t have the qualities Spurdog was looking for like he found in Stephen Garcia.


      • Macallanlover

        May not have been his top choice but I would be surprised if SC didn’t offer a top QB just an hour’s drive down the road. He may have realized he was out of the race early and focused elsewhere. Either way, the collective analysis of Richt/Saban/Jimbo easily trumps Spurrier’s analysis, imo.


        • Mr. Sanchez

          Recalling from the recruitment at the time, both South Carolina and Clemson were passing on Park. Clemson had Watson in that class, so understandable pass from them. But reports from SC were they never pursued Park.


          • Macallanlover

            Thanks. Weird, but Stevie can be that way, to be in a limited resource state and then pass on a nearby Mr. Football. Way to build relations with HS coaches and the fan base all in one decision!


  6. HamDawg11

    I’m personally pulling for the kid. Best of luck, Jacob!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Normaltown Mike

    glad to hear he’s buckled down.

    I heard directly from a reporter that the kid seemed like he’d still your rims if you weren’t watching. Not unusual but at QB, a bit.


  8. Ole Dokes

    Dude is originally from NY, was skinny coming out of high school & never offered by Spurrier, even though he was “Mr. Sakerlina”. He looks like Borat, talks like Vinny Babarino/Eminen, tatted up from head to toe. Not exactly setting the world on fire at Iowa State. Just not a good fit in Athens & not a tremendous loss.


  9. CB

    “But I wonder, even more than I do about Brice Ramsey’s case, what might have been with Park had Bobo not taken the Colorado State job.”

    Being that Ramsey wasn’t able to hack it under three straight coordinators, and that Park has actually become a solid quarterback, I’d have to say I agree. I believe there is a 0 percent chance that Ramsey would have had any success under Bobo in Athens. Even if Bobo is better than I give him credit for, he’s not a freakin wizard. Bauta (another Bobo recruit) couldn’t even hold down a starting job at CSU under Bobo, that doesn’t bode well for the hypothetical of a Ramsey/Bobo combo at UGA back in 2015. Everyone would have been fired by October in that scenario IMO.


    • Governor Milledge

      Ramsey was a prospects camp legend. Coming from a wing-T offense in Camden where I believe he only started one year, there should have been warning signs. I’d bet we took a gamble on him on the basis of CMB being his coach – we’ve seen lesser physically-gifted QBs do a lot under Bobo.


  10. Ed Kilgore

    For complicated reasons, I am a bit of an Iowa State fan, sometimes puzzling neighbors on walks with my dog here in California with the combination of my cracker drawl, UGA sweatshirts and a “Farm Strong” ISU ballcap. So I was thrilled to see that when Park left Athens he made his way to Ames. Lord knows they need playmakers, and he needed a clear shot at a starting job. Glad he didn’t wind up at Auburn.