Georgia Tech Football: Meet The Writer Who Gave Georgia Tech Their Lone First Place Vote


Karl Haywood is such a humble man that when I asked him if I could get a picture of him for this article he said,” I don’t mind e-mailing you a picture, but I really don’t want to take away from what the Yellow Jackets have done on the football field. This is about the players and what they have accomplished.”

You have to love this gentleman already! Oh yeah, Karl Haywood by the way is the man that gave Georgia Tech their lone vote for first place in the ACC Coastal Division in the ACC Preseason Poll.

The vote looked like this in the Coastal Division for first place votes:

Coastal Division

Duke (33)

Miami (26)

North Carolina (27)

Virginia Tech (23)

Pittsburgh (2)

Georgia Tech (1)     <————–   Karl Haywood did that !!!!!!!!!!!!


That “(1)” is truly the stuff that makes legends when you think about it. What exactly gave Mr. Haywood the foresight to cast that vote for Georgia Tech?

It is funny how I ended up talking to him on the phone. His associate Joann Davis contacted me on Twitter one day and said:

Now at the time Joann did not have a picture set up for her Twitter account so like most Twitter junkies, I thought she was just somebody playing around with me on Twitter. But when she sent this next tweet my eyebrows raised:

When she said that I got very curious. We exchanged phone numbers and ended up talking on the phone.

That’s when she told me the story about how she was a writer for the Central Savannah Area River Press and she was with Mr. Haywood when they cast their vote. There is a little bit more to the ballot story and I will get to that later.

We continued to talk about the voting process in Greensboro and how she and Mr. Haywood were with the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ASCMA). Then she said the magic words, ” Mr. Haywood is sitting next to me right now, we are watching a football game.  ”

Yes, I got excited when she said that to me. Of course  I wanted to talk to Mr. Haywood, and when he got on the phone and started talking to me about Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson all I could do is shut up and listen.

It turned out that Mr. Haywood has covered Georgia Tech for 30 years. He attended Georgia College Milledgeville before getting into journalism for the Central Savannah Area River Press.

When I asked him why he voted for Georgia Tech he said, ” Quayshawn Nealy and Shaq Mason. When they took the podium they both said that they were not a team, they were a family! Plus, Paul Johnson is one of the best offensive play caller I have ever seen”.

I found it interesting that he said Paul Johnson was one of the best offensive play callers he had seen so I asked him why, ” If you notice he does not have a clipboard or play sheet when he is calling his plays. All he has is a headset and he is calling plays from his head. He communicates with the coaches in the booth that chart how many yards were gained with a certain play. Then he calls those plays from various formations.”

I asked him who else he felt were great play callers in college football and he told me he felt Steve Spurrier and Ralph Friedgen were in Paul Johnson’s class.

He expanded on Friedgen some for me saying, “He is the best play caller in the two minute drill that I have seen.”

When I asked him about Spurrier and why it seems that he is not getting it done at South Carolina though he is one of the best offensive minds he had seen he said something that really was profound, ” It does not matter how many times a coach calls the perfect play for the situation, if the execution is bad the play is worthless.”

He als0 gave me insight on Paul Johnson telling me that he has the capability of running a “run and shoot” offense if he wanted to because of coaching in Hawaii under June Jones, but the triple-option is something that he has been running for years.

The phone call turned to quarterbacks he has seen over the last 30 years and he said to me that Tim Tebow was the best QB he has seen because quote, ” He is a total quarterback and a leader !”‘

He also told me that the best quarterbacks he had seen run Paul Johnson’s triple option were Tracy Ham at Georgia Southern and Josh Nesbitt at Georgia Tech.

According to Mr. Haywood, “Tracy Ham was the most complete quarterback to run the offense. He also won championships in Canada because of how much of a complete player he is. Josh Nesbitt simply is the toughest QB to play for Paul Johnson. He would take vicious hits and keep getting up. ”

Don’t tell anyone but he also picked Georgia Tech to win the ACC Championship this year. I truly can’t wait to meet Karl Haywood and Joann Davis at some point next year.

Oh yeah, the story about the voting with Ms. Davis and Mr. Haywood! That story goes a little something like this– turns out Joann Davis voted for Georgia Tech to be in first place too, but somehow her vote got lost in the shuffle.  So that “(1)” should have been a “(2).”

Votes for some reason always come up missing in the democratic process. What is going to be next, voter registrations?