UGA and NFL star returns to alma mater to give award to Mathis, gives Bulldogs all new football helmets

NFL rookie Nick Chubb is used to attention these days.

After all, he was one half of a dynamic duo of running backs at the University of Georgia with Sony Michel, putting up big rushing yards and coming in second only behind Hershel Walker in the single season rushing record.

The Bulldogs had a historic year – they brought home an SEC Title for the first time since 2005, went up against Alabama for the National Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance.

Of course, that was after a selfless act on Chubb’s part. He could have left the Bulldogs after his junior season, jumped into the NFL draft and looked forward to an extra year of playing time as a professional.

Instead, he and Michel stayed for their senior year’s at Georgia with spectacular results. It is one of many selfless acts that Chubb has performed in his life. From his time as a running back at Cedartown to now, Chubb has been all about doing the right thing.

He extended that trend when he came back to his alma mater last Thursday for a special presentation, and the standing ovation he got from his hometown fans and the Bulldog squad was well deserved.

“I’ve come a long way… I spent four years putting that helmet on right here,” Chubb said. “If you ask people the one thing they know about me, they all say the same thing ‘I love Cedartown, Georgia.’”

He was joined by local officials, his former coach and now principal Scott Hendrix and Bulldogs head coach Doyle Kelley to not only receive honors of his own, but to give the Bulldogs a much needed equipment donation in the process.

When Cedartown takes the field, their silver helmets will be new and shiny thanks to Chubb and Xenith, a manufacturer of sports equipment. The whole team -- all 62 members of the squad -- get a new helmet for the upcoming season.

Kelley was thankful for the donation, and also added his high hopes for Chubb’s future at the Cleveland Browns.

“I think by the end of the season, people aren’t going to be saying ‘that man from Georgia’ but instead ‘that man from Cedartown,’” Kelley said. “That’s what I want them to say. I want them to Cedartown, Georgia because he’s made Cedartown proud.”

Before that, Chubb got to present an honor of his own. When Hendrix was the coach and after he got recruited at Georgia, he had made a promise to name an award after his then senior running back for Cedartown’s black and red.

“He’d already gotten every award we could give out on the team, and so many more,” Hendrix said. “So I told him if he did well at Georgia, I’d name an award after him.”

Chubb’s old football coach got to keep that promise he made and the first presentation of the award was made to honor a Bulldog who is on track to have the same kind of success as the now NFL rookie.

Tony Mathis measured up to the guidelines Chubb laid out with characteristics like selflessness and the ability to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. He was presented with a plaque to take home, and Hendrix showed off one that will hang at Cedartown High School for all to see.

“It made me feel special, it made me want to cry that’s how special it is,” Mathis said after receiving the award. “It’s a big honor, and I thank him so much and the whole Cedartown community.”

Additionally, Chubb was honored by two local officials with resolutions for his accomplishments on and off the field both during his time in Cedartown, and later in Athens. Cedartown City Commissioner Matt Foster pointed toward Chubb’s positive character and great play as a stellar example that puts Cedartown on the map.

State Rep. Trey Kelley also presented a resolution passed by the legislature honoring Chubb and his accomplishments as well.

Chubb, taken by the Browns early in the second round of this year’s Draft, still considers Cedartown home.