“The only thing you take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind.” This is a quote by author, John Allston that can easily sum up the 2015 football season for Georgia State.
The beginning of every great team, no matter the sport, happened because of the foundation others laid before them. Name any team, Ohio State, Florida, Southern California, or Oklahoma. Any team that has had great success with multiple conference and national championships in the modern era was built on the players and coaches that took the field long before their success came.
22 seniors joined their families on the field at the Georgia Dome on Nov. 27 for their final home game of their college careers. These young men who stuck around through thick and thin while they were battle tested on and off the field and retained their high character.
There are probably a number of individuals you could list as building blocks to how successful the Panthers will likely be in the future, but these men should forever be immortalized as “The Foundation.”
“This program has turned the corner,” said head coach, Trent Miles in his postgame press conference after the Panthers defeated the Troy Trojans 31-21. “It’s where it needs to be. It’s all because of all those young men in the locker room,” said Miles.
Good character is just one of the many building blocks these seniors have laid for the future of this program.Quarterback, Nick Arbuckle (#4) wanted nothing to do with any discussion following Georgia State’s first win on Senior Day about what legacy he would leave on this program when all is said and done. “I have no idea,” said Arbuckle
Last week, Arbuckle had no idea he had broken his own record, and he is not overly concerned about his own personal accomplishments. He cares about putting his team in a position to win and celebrating the accomplishments of his teammates.
When Arbuckle made it to the locker room after defeating Troy he got his hands on the stat sheet for the game. He circled some numbers and then chased a teammate down and told him “that’s how you do it!”
It was not his own stats he circled, but the 10 receptions for 154 yards of his teammate Keith Rucker (#45) who said it best about the legacy these seniors will be remembered for.
“At dinner last night we had a real heart to heart. Just the fact that this might be the last couple of times that we are going to be on the same field as these seniors. I just wanted to go out there and give everything I have for them. We never won on senior night and we wanted to change that and change that for this group in particular. When I came on my visit those guys were sophomores or freshman. One thing I think they leave behind is the way to be a leader. Like Joe P. I’ve never been around a guy who leads as much as Joseph Peterson. I’ve never been around a guy who leads as much as Nick Arbuckle. When you have guys that grab you and tell you we are staying and we are watching film. That’s leadership because they know what we need to do in order to get a win,” said Rucker.
The cornerstones for future success have been laid and they are held together with the mortar of family, mutual respect and unselfishness that led them to their first bowl appearance on Dec. 19 in a 27-16 defeat to San Jose in the Cure Bowl. “The Foundation” did more than what you might find on a stat sheet, they set the standard for how to lead and prepare to win.