When University of Georgia starting quarterback Hutson Mason appeared before the media Friday he wore a pin bearing the number 43 in honor of his friend since childhood, the late Philip Lutzenkirchen.
Lutzenkirchen, the former Auburn tight end who lost his life in an automobile crash on June 29, was Mason’s high school teammate. The two spoke the night before Lutezenkirchen died.
Mason’s statement was reported by Radi Nabulsi – UGA Insider for 11 Alive:
“He reached out to me Friday night via text message and was ‘Hey man, how you doin’, how’s summer goin’?’ and I hadn’t heard from him in a month and I said, ‘Man, good to hear from you bud.’ He [said], ‘I’m rooting for you, I know good things come to those who wait, I’m praying for you man. I know I’m an Auburn guy and I wouldn’t admit this in public but’ … you know I’m throwing him under the bus right now, sorry man. He said ‘I’m definitely rooting for you all the way this year.’ Just to have that conversation just before somebody goes out, I have chills right now just thinking about it. It’s just awesome to know I got that last word in with him and also his last goodbye as to this season.
I’m very thankful for that last conversation that the Lord allowed me to have with him and, so that’s…I’ll be wearing this pin a lot this year, and I’ll be thinking about him a lot and just how to represent him and everything that our relationship meant.”
Mason says he plans to wear the pin often this season.
Lutzenkirchen and Mason’s friendship was a special one. Graham Watson of Yahoo Sports also quoted Mason.
“Philip really helped me with the recruiting process. Once he was done (with recruiting), he got me in touch with all his recruiting contacts. He helped me get my highlight tapes and my name out there. He really was the older brother I never had.”
The gesture has received national attention. NBC Sports Kevin McGuire quoted Mason as well:
“I’m trying to come up with something out on field. It’s not going to be anything to take away from the team. I’ve talked about it with the equipment managers. Maybe something on my hat while I’m on the sideline or meeting with the media afterward.”
Friday was Mason’s first Media Day as the University of Georgia starting quarterback. It will not be the last day he honors his friend.