Eric Dennis had two main goals for his senior season – helping his team to get back the respect he felt they had lost over the past few seasons and helping his head coach, Buck Godfrey, capture a state championship.
He felt one of the two was accomplished this year, however Southwest DeKalb (6-4 regular season record) lost in the second round of the 7-AAAAA playoffs last Friday and thus fell short of the state championship aspirations.
“Southwest is a powerhouse down here,” Dennis said. “We’ve fallen off in the past few years, losing in the first round of the playoffs. We lost some of that swagger. This year, our goal was to gain back the respect. This was our last year in 5-A ball. We beat our rival Stevenson, made it to the second round of the playoffs, so we did good. Our main focus was to re-establish respect, and I think we did that. I wasn’t satisfied, because I wanted to win a state title for Coach Buck.”
Godfrey is a special person in Dennis’ life, serving as a friend on and off the field. Dennis is hoping to find a similar type of relationship on the collegiate level. Virginia, which sent him his first recruiting letter as a junior, seems to have sparked a similar chemistry with the talented prospect.
“Coach Buck is like another father to me,” Dennis said. “If it’s school or other problems, I can go to him and talk about anything. Coach Buck is a real person. He comes to you straight. That’s what I’m looking for in a college, and I’m not going to settle for anything less.
“Virginia’s coaches are real…that’s what people want. They give it to you straight. I’ve been talking to Coach London the longest…he’s a real down-home type of person. Coach Prince is real with me too. Coach Groh… what can you say about him. He looks you in the face and tells you the truth. He tells you what you have to do to play for UVA. He’s not a fake.”
This past weekend, Dennis made an official visit to Virginia and had a chance to meet the coaches in person. He had an excellent first experience in Charlottesville.
“The atmosphere was just great,” Dennis said. He was hosted by Ian-Yates Cunningham. “It was like being at home. I live in a rural part of Georgia, so Virginia really felt like home to me. I didn’t feel like an outsider. Everyone knew everyone else. The game was amazing and the fans loved it. I saw how the fans treat the players, and it was great. The players are great people. They have...
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