Eddie George is one of the most recognizable graduates of Fork Union Military Academy, and Saturday the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL great returned to his alma mater.
"It feels good," George said of returning to Fork Union for just the third time in the last 12 years. "I mean really this is like home for me. It's another part of my life where it was development, going from a snotty-nosed kid into a man. People who really shaped my life into what it is today. I can't speak enough about what this place means to me."
George was honored during the Gus Lacy Track Classic for his time on the Blue Devils' track team, which included a pair of state championships in the 300-meter hurdles and as part of the 4x400 relay team.
George originally didn't want to run hurdles and was talked into participating by his coach.
"It took for me to run a race, fall down, bruise my hip and get laughed at to get back to work the following week and I was determined to be the state champion at that point in time," he said of his adjustment to the race.
Playing college football at Ohio State University, George won the Heisman Trophy in 1995 and was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He won Rookie of the Year honors his first year and helped lead the Titans to the Super Bowl in 1999, running for two touchdowns in the team's narrow 23-16 loss to the Rams.
But George credits his Fork Union roots for setting the tone for his success in college and the pro ranks.
"When you come here, you can be talented, fast. But they're going to treat you like everyone else. There are no favors. You have to work hard."
While George's appearances on campus in recent years have been rare, he's going to see a lot more of Fork Union in the very near future.
George has accepted a position as the Academy's newest member of the Board of Trustees. His term on the board will begin July 1.
"I'm at a place in my life now where I can give back in a different capacity" George explained. "It's truly a blessing that I can come back here with a different perspective now in order to advance to efforts of Fork Union in a greater direction."