When the University of Georgia's defense takes the field on Monday, Jan. 2, in the Sugar Bowl, many from Thomson should be watching to see one of their own.
Danny Verdun Wheeler, a 2003 graduate of Thomson High School and one of the captains of the 2002 state championship football team, will start at strong side linebacker for the Dogs.
He is also expected to get some rotation at middle linebacker.
Verdun said that practice has been very efficient, but not overwhelming.
"At this point, everything's been smooth," Verdun said. "We've been working hard, but this is our vacation."
The Dogs have taken about a week off from practice.
They stopped practice on Wednesday, Dec. 21, and resumed practice this Tuesday in Atlanta.
Georgia won the Southeastern Conference championship and will take on West Virgina, the Big East conference champions.
"We know what kind of team they are," Verdun said. "You can't take them lightly."
The Sugar Bowl is traditionally held in the Superdome in New Orleans, La., but that facility is still under repair for damages resulting from Hurricane Katrina.
This year's game will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The game will be the fourth one that Danny Verdun Wheeler has played in the Georgia Dome, but his favorite is still his first time, when Thomson High School defeated Shaw High School 27-10 in the 2002 state semifinals.
"That was part of something real special," he said.
Verdun Wheeler scored a touchdown in that game on a fumble recovery.
The Sugar Bowl will be his first Bowl Championship Series game, which he is excited about.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Verdun said. "It's going to be fun, and I'm going to have a blast."
In a slight change of subject, Verdun Wheeler had a comment for two of his former teammates and, as he said, best friends.
"I want everyone in Thomson to know that Georgia will beat South Carolina and the Brinkley brothers next year," he said.
Verdun Wheeler, who was joking, of course, went on to say how proud he was of his friends, Jasper and Casper Brinkley.
"We were just talking about childhood dreams and stuff," he said, "and how cool it will be to meet up on the field like that."