ATHENS -- On Saturday evening, Marc Deas made his final trek through the rows of red-and-black clad football fans lining the path into Sanford Stadium.
Never again will he experience that walk as a member of the Georgia football team. The next time he sees it, he might just be another of the admirers leaning over the bridge to cheer on the Georgia Bulldogs hours before they take the field.
I think thats one special thing that separates Sanford from a lot of other stadiums, Deas said.
Prior to the explosive win over Kentucky on Saturday, the 6-foot-1, 217-pound safety knew that his final home game would be a memorable one -- more exciting than sad but nonetheless overwhelming. There was a time, however, when he might have said farewell to the Bulldogs before his graduation date. Deas announced in March 2012 that he would transfer from the program in hopes of getting more playing time at a smaller school. Less than two weeks later, he realized that Georgia was still the place for him.
I am definitely glad I stayed, Deas said. I prayed about it. Its definitely something I do not regret at all.
September of the next season brought Deas his most cherished memory playing for the Bulldogs. On a third-quarter punt from Tennessee, Deas blocked the ball as it left Volunteers punter Matt Darrs foot. The Bulldogs got the ball and quickly put another touchdown on the board.
That was definitely a play that I will forever remember, just hearing the crowd cheer for the play that you made and hearing your name called over the crowd, Deas said of the memory.
This season culminated in a failed championship run for Georgia, but Deas believes such disappointments are just part of life. He says he keeps an optimistic nature in hopes that something positive will come out of it in the end.
Sometimes, you dont get what you expect, Deas said, but that doesnt mean you should just turn it down and quit.
Overall, he is happy to be leaving Georgia with his senior class knowing the legacy that group left behind. After graduation, the Florida native plans to take his bachelors degree in communication studies to Atlanta to start a non-profit organization benefitting single mothers fighting against breast cancer -- a cause that is particularly close to his heart. Deas mother had breast cancer, and even though she is now she is cancer-free, Deas understands the hardships that come with the disease.
Living in a house with two parents, it was still a struggle enough just for my mother being out of work and then trying to go get treatment and having to pay for the bills, he said. So I can only imagine for the mothers that are out there by themselves with kids and trying to go through making it.
Deas plans to channel his fashion sense into a clothing line that will benefit the organization. He hasnt decided whether he wants to design urban clothing or go into higher-end suit tailoring.
Its not too much time, but Ive still got a lot of time to think about it, he said. Im very excited about the future and what I have planned.