Written by Dowling Payne
Valdosta State this past season was an especially exceptional one as they brought the National Championship title back home to Titletown.
Not only will the team be coming back strong to keep the title, but also will have the addition of two previous players who were out last season.
Both stand out players, Griffin Roelle and Will Johnson, will be making their appearance back on the field.
Will Johnson, a tight end, will be coming back after a fractured tibia from the Dallas game last season.
He was instructed to stay off it for ten weeks, counting him out for the rest of the season.
Johnson attended as many games as possible but found it hard to be on the sidelines.
“It was hard to be away from the team,” Johnson said. “It’s like you’re a part of the team, but also apart from the team.”
Johnson has come back strong is spring practice and is most looking forward to playing in a home game seeing as he has never had the chance to do so.
“I can’t wait to get back to the feel of Saturdays,”Johnson said. “I’ve been coming back to practice and working hard.”
Junior wide receiver Griffin Roelle is sure to make a notable comeback after being a starter both his freshman and sophomore years.
He was named 1st team all region, academic All-GSC honors, and in 2011 he started nine out of ten games.
During the summer of 2012, Roelle severely pulled his hamstring and was out for the season.
Last season, Roelle still came out to every practice and made it to as many games as possible.
“It was hard to watch from the sidelines,” Roelle said. “But I had to support as best as I could. When your best friends are out there, it feels like you are out there also.”
When it came to the national championship game, Roelle decided to watch from his couch. Knowing he couldn’t be on the field playing or make a difference in the outcome, he decided to stay home and spent the day pacing his living room full of nerves for his friends and frequently yelling at the TV screen.
When asked about spring practice and being back in the game, Roelle’s face lit up.
“I love football more than anything, it’s amazing to be back” Roelle said.
He speaks of many improvements to be made but that the team is on the right track toward defending the title.
Roelle is always one to encourage other team mates and work hard to accomplish every team and personal goal.
“It’s a whole new season, I would love for us to go undefeated,”Roelle said. “It would be great to win the conference title and the national championship.”
This next season is sure to be one worth watching with all of the returning champions and also players such as Johnson and Roelle who are itching to put on the jersey and get back on the field.
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