Four Bulldogs from California happy to be home
Earnest Greene III got a pleasant surprise when he left the Georgia Delta charter in the California sun.
The Bulldogs had just arrived in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon for Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship game. When Greene got off the plane, he saw his parents waiting for him.
“I was surprised myself. I promise you they didn’t tell me that or anything,” Greene said. “As soon as I got off the plane, seeing my parents on the track, my mom and my pop, it was just a welcome home experience for me. I’m really, really blessed to be back at the national championships in Los Angeles where I was born and raised.”
Greene is one of four California natives on the Georgia roster. Brock Bowers (Napa), running back Kendall Milton (Fresno) and receiver Nathan Priestley (Los Angeles) also call the state home.
Milton said he still has family all over the country. His last four schools — Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Ohio State — were all away from home.
But this game gives him the opportunity to, as he put it, “play in front of people who basically watched me grow up playing.”
“I talked to my parents yesterday and they already drove away,” Milton said. “It’s like a three-and-a-half hour drive. That’s probably the shortest time they’ve ever had to travel, really. They were excited to come down and have me play close to home again.”
Milton said his parents attend most Georgia home games. So did Bowers’ parents. They actually keep an apartment in Athens for use on game day weekends.
But now their son is coming home, at least in a relative sense. Bowers’ home in Napa is 400 miles from Los Angeles, so Bowers’ parents will still hop on a short flight to attend the game.
“It feels good to be back on this side of the United States,” Bowers said. “I have a little more family and friends coming over, so it’s always nice to see them for the first time in a while. I’m excited about that.”
Each of these players has had their own journey to this point. Bowers has followed up his stellar freshman season with another solid campaign. Milton has struggled with injuries but has been playing his best football of late. Greene underwent back surgery that has sidelined him for most of the season.
But every road has led back to the West Coast in the biggest game of the year.
“Just kind of a roller coaster year, but it was all a great experience,” Greene said. “It was just kind of the cherry on top to go home for the last game.”