Doug Mouton / Eyewitness News
ATHENS, Ga. -- There is one New Orleans native on Georgia’s football roster. He’s a walk-on from Jesuit, and Bulldog football has meant a lot for Matthew DeGenova’s family.
DeGenova is following in his brother’s footsteps. John DeGenova was also a walk-on here.
“He was on scholarship here for academics and he just kind of fell in love with it, and I was actually an LSU fan at the time,” he said.
Katrina hit during his junior year at Jesuit, and Matthew DeGenova and his family ended up in Athens to see the Bulldogs play Boise State.
“We came up here and watched the game, and Coach Richt invited me and my younger brother and my father to practice that week, and we just got to hang around and kind of got our minds off the hurricane and what was going on back home, so it was very nice and very accommodating of the people here,” he said.
The Bulldog football team actually took up a collection and presented it to the DeGenova family.
“It’s probably more symbolic than it was putting a big dent in the issues that they might have been dealing with, but it just goes to show how these guys care about each other and want to take care of each other," Richt said.
“They were very welcoming and whatever we needed they were willing to help us out with, and it was very nice to know some people that care about us,” DeGenova said.
DeGenova is a fifth year senior. He probably won’t play Saturday. He’s credited with one tackle in six games played at Georgia.
More importantly, he’s a finance major on the SEC academic honor roll.
DeGenova is the only player on Georgia’s roster from the state of Louisiana. LSU has seven Georgia natives, including the guy who will probably be the quarterback next year, Zach Mettenberger.
The SEC Championship Game will air Saturday at 3 p.m. on Channel 4.