Sept. 2, 2011
By Jon Cooper
Sophomore safety Fred Holton was expected to be on Grant Field as a key contributor in the Georgia Tech secondary in Thursday night’s 2011 season opener.
A torn Achillies’ tendon in Tech’s August 13th scrimmage ended that scenario and may keep him off the field the entire season.
Holton’s look, however, was all over the field in the Yellow Jackets’ 63-21 victory over Western Carolina.
Several of his teammates showed the Thomasville, Ga., native that he was still in their hearts by what was — actually what wasn’t — on their heads.
“We lost Fred Holton to an injury. He’s not able to play this season so some of us got together and decided to get bald heads because Fred usually has a bald head,” said linebacker Julian Burnett. “We did that for him to show our love and respect for him.”
Quarterback Tevin Washington, B-Back David Sims, right guard Omoregi Uzzi, A-Back Embry Peeples and quarterback Synjyn Days, were among several Yellow Jackets to join Burnett in the show of solidarity.
Burnett wore his freshly shaved head proudly during Thursday night’s postgame press conference, while Washington finally revealed his scalp at the end of his session, finally taking off his Georgia Tech cap — he pointed out that he normally dons a Chicago White Sox cap.
Most of the Jackets went a step further in their tribute to Holton, who played in all 13 games last season recording 11 tackles (six solo) and forcing a fumble. They allowed the sophomore to do the actual shaving.
Washington’s support for the cause didn’t go that far.
“My barber shaved me,” he said. “Everybody else, Fred shaved their head.”
The sophomore QB added that he may not keep the look.
“Until I get my hair back,” he said, with a laugh. “[Holton] always shaved his head so we said we were going to do something for him for the first game. So me and a couple of other guys shaved our heads for him.”
Holton’s situation moved Atlanta Falcons receiver Harry Douglas to reach out. Douglas, who missed all of the 2009 season with a torn ACL but has since rebounded, sent a series of encouraging Twitter messages to Holton and even gave him his phone number.