July 8, 2009

Wheeling's scholarship came at a good time

Senior transfer Brandon Wheeling was overjoyed when he was summoned to head coach Mark Richt's office where he heard the news that he had just been awarded a scholarship.

Upon leaving, he made a quick phone call to his dad.

It was only recently that Wheeling's father Kenny got laid off from his job as a truck driver, so the announcement could not have been more timely.

The smile on Wheeling's face certainly suggested as much.

"They were just so excited. It's just huge for my whole family," Wheeling said. "It's especially huge right now. Money is tight with everybody these days. It's just great that they (his parents) don't have to worry about this now."

A transfer from West Georgia, Wheeling redshirted with Georgia last fall and will have just the one year of eligibility this fall.

"That's why this is just a dream come true," he said. "I always dreamed about being here but to earn a scholarship before I actually have a chance to really play has me really excited about them showing me that respect. I'm just ready to go out, play hard and show that respect they have in me was warranted."

Named the Outstanding Walk-on at the conclusion of 2009 spring drills, he transferred to UGA from West Georgia in 2008 and sat out the '08 season. Wheeling is a graduate of Paulding County High School where he was named All-Region as a senior in addition to being named team captain. He was coached by Rick Sauls at Paulding.

"It's always a very exciting time for me to award a scholarship to a deserving walk-on and Brandon Wheeling has done an outstanding job of earning that right," Richt said. "We are excited about the character and physical and mental toughness he brings to this football team. We are excited to put him on scholarship."

The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder will serve as a backup on the defensive line behind Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins, Kade Weston and DeAngelo Tyson.

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