DJ Shockley left his mark on Georgia football by leading the Bulldogs to the SEC title in 2005. Since completing his collegiate career and retiring from the NFL, Shockley has kept busy by working in television and trying to keep up with his children. The AJC caught up him in an exclusive interview after presenting at the Atlanta Sports Awards.
Q. What are your thoughts on the current status of UGA football?
A. I think it’s in a good place. I think what (coach) Kirby (Smart) has done with the culture with the changes over there you can see the winning attitude. The guys have bought in. They’re all about winning, and I love where it’s heading now. The kids are excited about playing, and I think everybody around the country knows that Georgia is a national powerhouse now — not just in the SEC. Now a lot of teams are like “OK, we’ve got to look out for Georgia for the next five, 10 years probably.”
Q. Thoughts on Kirby Smart?
A. I love Kirby. Kirby was actually my running backs coach in 2005 when he was at Georgia before he went to Alabama, so I’ve known Kirby for a very long time. I love his attitude. I love his demeanor. Love the way he coaches. Love how he expects the most out of everybody. He’s going to continue to demand the excellence that Georgia needs day in and day out, and I think he has the team to do that.
Q. What’s it like being a former UGA quarterback?
A. It’s pretty cool. It has its perks here and there. To be able to belong to a place like the University of Georgia and say you’ve played quarterback there and you’ve helped them win games, it means a lot. It’s something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Being a part of the University of Georgia and having the chance to graduate from there and also score many touchdowns as a Bulldog and help the university become where it’s at now. It’s an honor and a privilege.
Q. I saw on your Twitter account that you recently spoke at a school. Is that something you do often?
A. I do. I love reaching out to the kids. I’ve had so many people who helped me throughout my career and who helped me when I was younger. If I can speak to them and give them a little vote of confidence, a little bit extra push to go forward — any chance I get, I want to tell our youth just how special they are, how bright their futures can be if they work hard and don’t let people them they cannot do something.
Q. In addition to motivational speaking, what else have you been doing?
A. I do a lot of TV. I do a lot of stuff for the SEC Network, ACC Network, the Falcons, Channel 2 here in Atlanta, Channel 69. Sports are keeping me busy. Now I get to talk in front of the camera instead of people talking about me. It’s pretty cool. I’ve got a daughter that’s 8 and a son that’s 6, so they keep me active. My wife keeps us all good. It’s all fun and games now, but I enjoy every part of it.
Q. Is there a coaching career in your future?
A. I don’t know. My dad was a coach. I actually enjoy doing the stuff on TV and behind the scenes, so I don’t know (about) coaching. It takes so much time away, especially with college. But you never know. I’m open to it. You never know. We’ll see.
Q. Everybody’s talking about the quarterback battle happening in Athens right now, but if you had to battle Jake Fromm, who would come out on top?
A. Fromm is a good buddy of mine. I like Fromm. I just told Fromm, “listen, you’re the young buck.” He’s a seasoned guy already. This is a freshman going into his sophomore year. I wish nothing but great things for him. I hope he continues the success and finally gets us that national championship, but if I had to compete against him, I know it’d be a battle every single day. He’s a competitor, I’m a competitor, so it would great. It’s similar to how me and David (Greene) were. We competed hard, so it’s kind of the same thing.