University of Georgia line man John Bodin went from walk-on for the Bulldogs to scholarship athlete as he starts his senior season.
COVINGTON -- University of Georgia offensive lineman John Bodin, who stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 321 pounds, made the next to impossible possible four years after walking on to the Bulldogs practice field as his sacrifice earned him a scholarship.
"I was totally surprised when I got it," Bodin said. "I'm thankful for the scholarship and I thank God for my parents for pushing me. I thank my family for their support and my girlfriend, Allison Blount, for her support. I came and walked on and four years later, after a lot of hard work and endurance, it paid off."
After getting redshirted his freshman year, Bodin was part of the scout team the past two years. Even though he was not a starter, he still saw action on the field. In 2009 he played against Tennessee Tech while seeing action against Idaho State last season while standing on the sideline for a few other games during the last two seasons.
There's no doubt that standing on the field with over 90,000 fans screaming in the stands is something that very few will experience. But when you come from playing high school football where the fans number a little over 100, that's about a big a contrast as there can be.
"It's about as extreme as it gets. But by the grace of God I got where I am right now. The first time I got on the field it was like Christmas," Bodin said, "I was so pumped to be out there."
Bodin, a graduate of the Paragon Academy, a homeschool co-op group, played for the East Atlanta Mustangs in the Georgia Football League (GFL) where he lettered for three years. In those three years Boding was named to the all-star team all three years and was the offensive captain and overall team captain in his senior year.Before being homeschooled, Bodin went to Fairview Elementary and Clements Middle School where he was on the football team but didn't get much playing time considering that he was not a very good player. It was in the GFL where he got his experience. As Bodin said, when "you have an 13-man team but you have 11 players on the field you have to play the entire game and get a lot of experience."
Bodin knew it was going to be a challenge when decided to be walk-on considering where he came from. But one thing he wasn't was intimidated.
"If you see me and if you know me and the kind of effort I put on the field with my size, I'm one of the bigger guys on the field. To me it was just another football team on another field. I knew it was in DI but that was the only level I wanted compete on, the very best," Bodin said. "But I knew I was capable of doing that."
Being on the field is exactly where Bodin wants to be during game day. But with Georgia's Sept. 3 kickoff against Boise State at 8 p.m. still on the horizon, he knows that he still needs to prove himself to the coaches.
"We have a new (offensive) coach, Will Friend, who's a great guy. Everyone is still fighting for positions. We'll see what happens but I definitely hope to see more playing time this year," Bodin said.
Even though Bodin still has another year of eligibility left, this could be final year between the hedges. Expected to graduate in May of 2012, Bodin, who is majoring in anthropology, is already looking toward the future where he will either enter graduate school, the seminary or the work force. Unless he gets the call to play football on Sundays, of course.
"That's one of those things where if the opportunity presents itself and it's the right thing for me to do, I would definitely want go to the next level," Bodin said. "I'm ready to graduate and enter the next chapter. But I've definitely enjoyed my time here."