Georgia Tech is losing a punter for a rather unique reason. Grant Aasen is pursuing a goal of being a priest. In order to begin that mission, he had to leave behind one final year of eligibility with the Georgia Tech football program.
This hardly comes as a surprise to Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson, however, as Aasen says he gave the head coach of the Yellow Jackets advance warning of his intentions in the spring of 2016.
I told head coach Paul Johnson before spring practices in 2016 that I was planning on playing one more year and then going to the seminary. I was tearing up at the time, because I was thinking of how much football meant to me and how much I had put into it. Coach told me he appreciated my honesty, but that he wanted me to stay with the team and to give it more time — to go through not only last season, but this most recent spring’s practices. I did that, and the calling remained throughout, so that’s where we are today.
It goes without saying that talking to the head coach was an important thing, but also important were the strength coaches. People outside of college football might know it, but the strength coaches are the ones players spend the most time with year-round. The other coaches are out recruiting in the offseason while the strength coaches are always there. Naturally, this leads to the development of good relationships.
Aasen went on to say he appreciated the support he received from Georgia Tech strength coach John Sisk.
“Coach John Sisk, who is our top strength coach as director of player development, was initially surprised when I told him, but was then super supportive of what I should be doing in life. That meant a lot to me, considering how close we get to the strength coaches.”