Georgia Tech defensive tackle Kyle Cerge-Henderson has a little more going on in his life now than homework and practice.
Cerge-Henderson is caring for his newborn daughter. Ava Maria was born to Cerge-Henderson and wife, Julissa, on Feb. 23. Cerge-Henderson was married Jan. 3, days after Tech beat Kentucky in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
“It’s hard having a baby, but I think it’s well worth it,” said Cerge-Henderson, a junior. “I think my wife would tell you the same. The nights that you don’t really sleep are the days you wake up and she’s smiling. It really melts your heart.”
Cerge-Henderson had his daughter’s name and footprints tattooed on his right arm.
“I’m learning how to become a great father as well as a great football player,” said Cerge-Henderson, who is competing for a starting job at defensive tackle after starting seven games last season.
Defensive line coach Mike Pelton, a father of four, has had conversations with Cerge-Henderson about what lies ahead.
“With him being a new father, it’s like, Hey, sometimes you aren’t going to get any sleep,” he said. “But everything over here is the same. The only difference is now you aren’t getting that sleep that you were getting.”
He praised Cerge-Henderson for how he has responded thus far.
“Situations like that, with a wife and a kid on the way, it makes us all men if we’re the right type of people,” he said. “And I think he’s the right type of kid who wants to be a good father, so he’s going to do it the right way.”