Following practice and after the stadium was cleared to set up for the autograph signings, fans walked, ran and run/walked to get to Collins’ signing station in the south end zone as soon as they were permitted. First in line was Jeffrey Haverly, who won a season-ticket holder raffle for a VIP experience at fan day. Haverly, who brought a helmet to be signed, said he told Collins that he was excited for him to be coaching the Jackets and that he was looking forward to the season.
“He said, ‘I am, too,’” Haverly said.
Georgia Tech punter Pressley Harvin poses for a photo with a young fan at the team's fan day August 3, 2019, at Bobby Dodd Stadium. (Ken Sugiura/AJC)
Fans brought posters, schedule cards and footballs with autograph panels for Collins, who inscribes items with his Twitter handle (@CoachCollins). There were also, among other things, a Tech-themed garden gnome (asked Collins, thoughtfully: “Where do you want me to sign the gnome?”) and Waffle House cups. Collins also was presented with a wedding invitation.
“I didn’t do as good a job on this one, I apologize,” Collins told a fan bearing an autograph football.
Seated under tents organized by position group, players patiently churned out autographs and posed for photos.
“Everybody was very nice,” said Terri Dawson, who came with her 10-year-old son Wesley. “Very respectful young men.”
Georgia Tech fan Wesley Dawson, 10, of Lawrenceville, shows off autographs received at Tech's fan day at Bobby Dodd Stadium August 3, 2019. (AJC photo by Ken Sugiura)
Wesley left Bobby Dodd Stadium with an autographed football crammed with Jackets’ signatures. Wesley is a fourth-generation Tech fan whose grandfather was taught Sunday school by Bobby Dodd’s wife. His two favorite players are kicker Wesley Wells and quarterback Tobias Oliver, and he got to meet Wells, who told him to earn good grades in school.
Wesley (Dawson, not Wells) said he was excited for the Jackets’ season because “they’ve got a new coach who has a shotgun formation. My dad’s been saying, ‘We need a shotgun formation, we need a shotgun formation!’”