From the time he played youth football for the Winthrop Stingers, Jordan Conant thought he was meant to play football at Georgia Tech.

If it is indeed his destiny to be a Yellow Jacket, the former Winthrop quarterback came one step closer to fulfilling it this week by making the team as a walk-on.

Coaches for the Atlantic Coast Conference team invited Conant to a try-out on Wednesday and were impressed enough with him that, once he passed his physical on Thursday, they added to the Ramblin’ Wreck’s roster as a quarterback.

“They needed a Rambler, I guess,” he said.

Conant is currently at the bottom of the depth chart. He isn’t guaranteed playing time or that he will even dress for all the games. But he did what he set out to do this week — he got his foot in the door.

“From here, so many possibilities have opened up,” he said. “I haven’t
even made the 80-man roster yet, but at the same time, there are so
many possibilities just because I came out.”

Conant participated in his first practice Thursday. He hasn’t received a playbook, yet, but has spent a great deal of time learning the offense in the classroom (along with his regular studies towards an electrical engineering degree). He and the other walk-ons have been limited in what they can do in practice, but he has been warming up and watching position drills with the quarterbacks while wearing No. 12. 

“It’s been crazy. I’m used to seeing (junior starter) Josh Nesbitt on TV, not face-to-face,” he said.

Conant’s fascination with Georgia Tech began as a youngster when he played for the Stingers. He started wearing a Georgia Tech hat because he liked the yellow jacket mascot.

“I liked the mascot, but my friends made fun of me because I didn’t know anything about the team, but I had the hat, so I started watching Georgia Tech football,” he said.

Conant excelled in math and science in school and decided he wanted to be an engineer, making Georgia Tech a natural candidate to continue his education.

He paid a visit to the Atlanta campus in April of his junior year and began to lay the ground work for walking on by expressing his interest in
trying out and sending coaches tapes from Winthrop.

“I got a tour of the facilities and, it was always kind of a
dream to play here, but just stepping on that field I just knew that it
was something that I wanted to do,” he said.

Conant led the
Ramblers to the Western C title his senior year and was named an
all-Campbell Conference and Sun Journal all-region quarterback.

“Even though I wasn’t able to have the year that I wanted to for
my senior year, stats-wise, I still knew that I wanted to give this my
best shot and wanted to come down here,” he said. “I’m confident in my
ability, yet at the same time, I know how hard I’m willing to work and
what I’m willing to put into it.”

Next week, Conant will likely see time on the scout team that will help
the Yellow Jackets prepare for their Sept. 5 opener against
Jacksonville State. What comes after that comes down to whether he can impress his coaches and luck.

He is one of 43 non-scholarship players on the roster. The Jackets have six other quarterbacks listed, although they are already depleted at the position due to injuries.

“He actually comes to us at an odd time,” assistant athletic director/media relations at Georgia Tech Dean Buchan said in an e-mail. “Our 2nd-team quarterback is out with a broken collarbone and one of our true freshmen QBs is out with an ankle injury.”

Right now, Conant is just hoping to make the 80-man roster and dress
for every game. He said the team dresses 72 players for away games,
85-90 for home games, and coaches guarantee each walk-on will dress for
at least one game. The Jackets typically dress everyone for the rivalry
game with Georgia and whatever bowl game they play in, if any.

Ultimately, though, Conant is hoping for more than just a good view of big-time football from the sidelines.

“Coach (Marc) Fortin used to tell us in baseball ‘Boys, stranger things have happened,'” he said. “And that’s the way I’ve kind of looked at it.”

“I hope that I make everybody proud,” he added. “All of the support from
my family and my town and the state of Maine is what’s gotten me here,
and I’m grateful for that.”

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