‘Bama, Georgia players have local ties

Published 12:10 am Saturday, December 1, 2012

Georgia center David Andrews has ties to Andalusia. | Rob Saye

Andalusia will be well-represented today at the 2012 SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

Second-ranked Alabama and third-ranked Georgia have local ties to our small town, notably Crimson Tide senior linebacker Nico Johnson and Bulldogs sophomore center David Andrews.

Johnson, a native of Andalusia, graduated from Andalusia High School in 2009. Andrews’ father, Jeff Andrews, also an Andalusia native, graduated in 1976.

While Nico Johnson was a four-year athlete for AHS, Jeff wasn’t. Jeff Andrews’ only association with anyone of the Johnson family was going to school with Nico’s uncle, Bobby Johnson.

Jeff, who is going to the game today, said it’s going to be pretty neat to watch a game with Andalusia ties on both teams.

“There’s a pretty big separation between generations, but it’s amazing how the Johnsons and the Andrews have grandkids at the game,” Jeff Andrews said. “It’s pretty special.”

Jeff is the son of James and Era Andrews of Andalusia. James and Era are David’s grandparents.

Era Andrews said she is a proud grandmother and is excited about the game today.

“It’s going to be wonderful,” she said. “We’re going to be so excited. If they (the Georgia Bulldogs) win on Saturday, we’re going to go to Miami (for the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 7, 2013.)”

Era said she’s planning a get-together with a lot of family members today to watch the game.

“(David) has a sister, Kristen (Andrews Birdsong), who will be at the game,” she said. “Then, David has aunts and uncles who live pretty far away who will be watching with them. All family members will be watching the game.”

Alabama senior linebacker Nico Johnson during action of the Texas A&M game. | David Gehman


Era said her earliest memory of David is when he would come and visit her in Andalusia for weeks at a time.

“He played baseball and football, but ended up choosing football,” she said. “He’s always been a good player. He is a well-rounded person.

“His granddaddy won’t let me say he’s sweet,” he said. “He’s easy going until somebody ruffles him or the quarterback (Aaron Murray).”

David grew up in Johns Creek, Ga., which is near Alpharetta, a suburb of Atlanta, and went to Wesleyan High School.

Kristen said David grew up with a “heart of gold.”

“Everybody picked on him at first because of his height and weight,” Kristen said. “He wasn’t bigger than the other guys. He wanted to prove everybody wrong.”

According to Georgia’s athletics website, David is 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds.

David’s determination to win a starting spot on the Bulldogs’ offensive line started at an early age, Kristen said.

“His nickname is ‘Boss,’ a name he earned by playing youth football in Atlanta,” she said. “He really has taken charge of the offensive line.”

As a freshman, David Andrews appeared in 10 games for UGA. This season, he was selected as a SEC lineman of the week and recorded six down blocks and three knock downs in the Bulldogs’ win over Auburn. Additionally, David Andrews was chosen as team captain for pre-game festivities for two games.

Jeff Andrews said he doesn’t know who’s going to win the game today, but that it’s important to have ties to where you are from, no matter the generation.

“I just think it’s something that makes it a little bit special for the town,” he said. “Nico’s known far and wide. He’s been a great representative for Andalusia and he’s just been an oustanding citizien. He’s well spoken when he’s interviewed. He’s an intense player. He’s got a bright future ahead of him in the NFL.

“David is a sophomore, but this is his first year,” he said. “His dream was to play at the University of Georgia. (David) grew up a Georgia fan. I’m sure Nico’s dream was to play at Alabama. There’s ties to Andalusia, which is special for them.”