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August 8, 2016

Heisman Trophy Winner, Eddie George, Talks Giving Back to Athletes

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LRT Sports caught up with former Ohio State Buckeye and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George at the Russell Athletic Team On Campaign Launch at Union City High School. When talking to Eddie, he summed up the importance of high school sports and setting up athletes for success in the future with one swift sentence, “What [high school athletes] need to understand is that you’re building a platform to go to another level.” Some advice, and thoughts on college football from one of the greats, Eddie George.

What does it mean to you when you get to give back and speak to high school athletes?

When sharing my personal stories, I just want to get across that you should embrace every moment at this time in your lives. The lessons that you’re learning now, are shaping your future. Anything is possible when you take the necessary steps. What high school athletes need to understand is that you’re building a platform to go to another level. You don’t live on this mountain forever; you use it to open up doors for other opportunities. You have the rest of your life, so how are you preparing for that?

Can you give advice for high school athletes looking to play in college?

Keep your dream in front of you and don’t let anybody tell you differently. If it’s your goal to a Division 1 school like Ohio State or Notre Dame, continue to believe that. I say this because of my own personal story.

I went to Fork Union Military Academy I finished up my senior year, I had stats to show, and was all prep and I had ZERO scholarship offers. At that point, everyone was trying to get me to go to smaller schools in Pennsylvania, no disrespect, but I knew in my heart that I was D1 material. I decided to go back for a Post Graduate year to get bigger, stronger and faster in hopes of gaining more attention from bigger schools. As a result, I played 6 games and after 6 games I rushed 1,372 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. That got the attention of Louisville, Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska and many more colleges. That being said, know what’s in your heart and what you are willing to sacrifice and work for. What your circumstances are now, can change a year later if you really dedicate yourself to football or whatever sport it may be. You have to walk by faith, not by sight.

All of the other aspects as far as working hard and working out, yes, you absolutely have to do those things in order to become successful and play at a Division 1 level or even in college in general. You have to be a master of your craft, but one thing you can’t do is allow someone to shake you of your dream. If it takes you a year to go to a prep school to get better offers, then do it. If you want to junior college for a couple of years, do it. Pursue your dream to the upmost, because this is a finite window, and you have to get it done. You can never bring that time back.

What was your favorite thing about being on a college team?

The feeling of getting ready to go to war. It’s not actually life or death, but it’s the closest thing to it. You’re relying on one another, you’re trusting one another, and that is the beautiful thing about college football; you’re playing for something greater.

What does Russell Athletic “Team On” campaign stand for and how can you relate?

Team On stands for team first. Being selfless and putting your personal goals aside. If you play for something bigger than yourself, for a team, a city, or the love of the game, then you’ll begin to see all of the things that you want unfold before you. I go back to 1994 when we played Penn State, my junior year and it was a bunch of individuals playing on my team. Trying to get ready for the pros or showing off to get Big 10 recognition was a main priority. Long story short we got our behinds kicked 14-63. We studied Penn State – that year they had Mike Archie, Karry Collins and other superstars, but it didn’t matter because they were a TEAM. They all had great individual games, but they played within the concept of being a team. After, we looked back and said “what can we learn from that” and from that point on, we worked harder together, we stayed after practice together, and we became a part of Ohio State together. The next year we were undefeated up until Michigan, I won the Heisman Trophy, our QB broke all kinds of records, because we put selfishness aside and worked as a team. That is the one thing that I learned.

As far as Russell Athletic specifically, Russell Athletic has been around for 100 years. They are woven into the fabric of team athletics, no pun intended. They have a great brand that speaks quality and athletics.

We would like to thank Russell Athletic for the invite to their Team On campaign launch and for Eddie George for taking the time to talk to us. For more information on the Team On campaign, visit http://teamon.russellathletic.com.

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