Mauger building toward future at UGA

ATHENS, Ga. -- Like every scholarship football player who arrives at Georgia, Quincy Mauger has big dreams about what he might become as an athlete. But he also has the good sense to formulate a backup plan.

The freshman safety, who enrolled at Georgia last month, didn’t come to Georgia to major in underwater basket weaving or another cake program where scholarship athletes often congregate. Mauger hopes to earn a degree in civil engineering from one of the newest degree programs within the UGA curriculum.

“It’s been nothing but fun. The teachers work with you 24/7, whenever you need the help. I just finished my second project, actually,” Mauger said before describing his work with a program called AutoCAD that allows engineering students to build 3D construction modules on their computers.

It all sounded very complex -- particularly to someone who majored in liberal arts -- but Mauger said he has enjoyed the experience thus far.

“At first, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, what did I get myself into?’ ” Mauger said. “But once you start playing with the tools, it really gets fun and you really get into it.”

Trying to juggle football responsibilities with a demanding major will likely become burdensome for Mauger, but he’s accustomed to challenges. His coach at Kell High School in Marietta, Ga., Derek Cook, lavished praise on Mauger recently and spoke admiringly about how Mauger opted to take an online AP calculus course instead of something easier while accumulating credit hours that would enable him to early enroll at UGA.

But Mauger knew the tougher course would better prepare him for the academic challenges that await him in college.

“In order for myself to prepare for engineering, I had to take either AP calculus or stat,” Mauger said. “I could have taken regular calculus, but I talked to my guidance counselor and she said, ‘Well do you want to challenge yourself or do you just want to just get by?’ Of course, thinking of, ‘I just want to go to Georgia. I just want to take the easy route,’ [but] I just wanted to challenge myself because life is not going to be easy.”

Football life is certainly not going to be easy for the new Bulldog. The three-star prospect was not one of the most acclaimed members of Georgia’s recent signing class, so cracking the rotation at safety or perhaps outside linebacker someday is hardly a given.

Mauger comprehends that reality better than many athletes his age -- which is why he wants to make good use of the academic side of his college experience.

In fact, when asked about what he would like to do after his playing days, Mauger replied that he has a dream to combine both sides of what he envisions for his time at Georgia: someday building a football practice facility and then training young players there in order to help them develop their games to where they might earn the same opportunities that Mauger now enjoys at UGA.

“I wasn’t really that much of a high-ranking [recruit] as everybody knows,” Mauger said with a grin, “so I’m going to try to build my own indoor facility for football and use my publicity from football at UGA to try to get kids out there to get exposed out to the college world.”