At least 2 Jackets love their unique bowl gift, one not so sure

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive lineman Patrick Gamble (91) and quarterback Justin Thomas arrive for the first day of practice at Rose Bowl Field in Georgia Tech campus on Thursday, August 4, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

To the glorious history of bowl gifts, inscribe the name Zac Hays.

Decades from now, when Georgia Tech players, their children and their children’s children gaze upon the wonder of their wobbling totem from the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl, they will have Hays to thank. An intern with the TaxSlayer Bowl, Hays brainstormed the most conspicuous item that Tech and Kentucky players will receive as part of their array of gifts from the game formerly known as the Gator Bowl – a personalized bobblehead doll.

“That’d be pretty cool,” Tech center Freddie Burden said. “I’m going to put it up in my room somewhere and look at myself all day.”

In recent years, bowl games have become fairly consistent in the gifts that they are allowed to bestow upon bowl participants (NCAA rules permit up to $550 in swag). The typical presents include watches, backpacks, sunglasses, gift cards and the always popular “gift suite” – a variety of items geared towards the post-adolescent male, such as electronics, bikes and recliners.

“We thought it would be sort of a collector’s item that’s not sort of the standard, ‘Here’s a $300 shopping spree somewhere,’” said Tom Norton, the TaxSlayer Bowl’s vice president of events and acquisitions and a subtle critic of the Belk Bowl’s gift assortment. “It’s more something that they’ll love and have on their shelves hopefully the rest of their lives.”

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