UGASports - Behind the Scenes: Why Jared Zirkel became a Bulldog
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Behind the Scenes: Why Jared Zirkel became a Bulldog

For Jared Zirkel, the decision to become a Bulldog didn't take long.

All he needed was an offer.

“I’ve kind of been in contact with Coach [Scott] Fountain and some of the other staff at Georgia for quite a while. I went to the camp on June 1 and talked with them quite a bit," Zirkel said. "Yesterday, I called Coach Fountain to see what was up. He asked if I had my mom and dad around. When I said yeah, he told me they were going to offer me a full scholarship to come to Georgia.”

And when those words came through, the celebrating began in his Kerrville, Texas home.

“I was super excited. My mom went to Georgia, so she was screaming and hollering and glad. I was, too," Zirkel said. "It was really fun to get some payoff for the hard work I put in to try and make that happen. It means a lot. It was kind of the No. 1 school I’d wanted to go to, and I’ve been looking at it for a long time. To get the call that I was wanted there was really awesome.”

It wasn't just the chance to kick in the SEC that meant so much, however. Family ties and childhood memories were also at play.

“My mom went there, and her parents still live there in Gainesville, so it’s not too far. Just an hour’s drive," Zirkel said. "I’ve visited when I was ten, and when I was twelve and thirteen. I’ve been there multiple times, including three times this year. I’ve always enjoyed going back to check things out.”

Zirkel has also enjoyed getting to know his future positional coach as well.

“ Coach Fountain is a really nice guy with a really good family. He’s really down to earth, so you can talk to him about anything," he said. "He’s just a good guy to be around.”

Now, can the Bulldogs hold on for the duration? Zirkel held offers from Army and Air Force, and others have been and are checking in.

“Right now, those are the three for-sure offers. Georgia was my No. 1, so the plan now is to stick with it for sure," he said. "It’s what I’ve always dreamed of. I think it would be cool to have offers elsewhere, but if everything goes to plan, I’ll be at Georgia.”

With his commitment made, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound specialist is now only focusing on his craft.

“My kickoffs are probably the number one thing I’m really known for. For the past two years on my team, I’ve been doing the kicking, punting, and long range field goals. It’s mainly just been about power," Zirkel said. "I’ve been good at that so far, but now, it’s about dialing in on the shorter range field goals and being consistent.”