Georgia Football: Jacob Park Shares a Common Heritage With Nate Hybl


Like Jacob Park, Nate Hybl left the Georgia football team seeking opportunity. 

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Jacob Park joins a long list of college players compelled to withdraw from the quarterback competition at one school and enter the quarterback competition at another school. The common thread is opportunity. For a parallel to the Jacob Park story, we recall former Georgia and Oklahoma quarterback Nate Hybl’s story.

Hybl matriculated at Georgia in 1998 after passing for over 3,600 yards and 38 touchdowns in his Jeff Davis High School career. He competed to start for two springs and one fall. However, Georgia head coach Jim Donnan granted freshman Quincy Carter, late of the Chicago Cubs farm system, the starting spot.

While Hybl has moved on, it was a bitter pill. “He felt he got (mistreated) with the Carter deal,” said Tom Hybl, Nate’s father and former coach at Jeff Davis, to Victor Fernandes of in 2001. “He had always been dealt with in a trustworthy way to that point.”

Hybl transferred to the University of Oklahoma during the summer of 1999. He sat out the requisite year and backed-up Josh Heupel on the OU 2000 national championship team. Hybl gained enough playing time to earn Academic All-Big XII 1st Team. In 2001 Hybl started 10 games during an 11-2 season. While his time at Oklahoma was not all roses, he was after all a quarterback, he finished as the MVP in the 2003 Rose Bowl.

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Does the Hybl story help us understand what went wrong for Jacob Park and Georgia? Perhaps a bit. Though no one will ever draw the complete picture of Park and his struggles, we can piece together a rough sketch.

Park came to Georgia the top prospect in South Carolina and a four star quarterback recruit, choosing Georgia over Alabama. But Park received no offer from instate schools South Carolina or Clemson.

Park completed 3 of 11 passes for 63 yards with three sacks in the Shrine Bowl and completed 1 of 8 passes for six yards and one interception in the Army All-American game. But quarterback all-star struggles are not uncommon. Current Georgia quarterback Brice Ramsey threw three interceptions in the Under-Armour All-America game.

Park’s senior season suggested nothing but greatness, passing for 3,665 yards and 33 touchdowns, carrying Stratford High to the state championship game. The clear number one prospect in South Carolina, his high school head coach Ray Stackley told Michael Carvell of, “I think Jacob will improve in time. He’s got a big upside. He’s got a big arm.”

But Stackley also told Carvell, “There’s a lot of other intangibles he’s got to work on, but he’ll work hard. He’ll get better.”

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Park probably was a player miss-matched with school, coaches, and circumstance. The first two we can only speculate on, but circumstances did not seem to be in Park’s favor. Arriving when Hutson Mason had locked down the top spot and Brice Ramsey was the logical back up, Park demonstrated a knack for running the scout team offense and he ran it all year. But while he gave the Georgia defense fits, he lost a year of quarterback development and probably picked up some lousy habits improvising as the playmaker for an overmatched squad of walk-ons and freshman. In fact, said Park in March to the’s Chip Towers, “Now I’m playing actual fundamental football and not backyard football.”

The transfer of Greyson Lambert to the Georgia program appeared to be the last straw for Park at Georgia. Said Park’s Coach Stackley to Marc Weiszer, Lambert’s transfer “probably didn’t send a very good message to some of the younger guys and of course he’s the youngest guy there.”

The result – a player that began the spring behind in his development, despite great talent never ran with the big dogs.

And so Park moves on, and he would not be the first quarterback transfer to find success. Don’t expect Jacob Park to disappear.

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