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Garrison Hearst Dominated at Georgia, But Where is He Now?

Former Georgia Bulldogs running back Garrison Hearst had a tremendous tenure in Athens, nearly managing to win the Heisman Trophy during his three-year stint with the program.

One of the greatest rushers in Georgia's esteemed history, Hearst dominated in the early 1990s, and managed to string together a solid career in the NFL as well.

So, where is the former UGA star now?

Early Life and College Football Career

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Garrison Hearst was born and raised in Lincolnton, Ga. and starred as a high school football running back for Lincoln County High School.

After high school, Hearst took his talents to Athens where he'd play for the University of Georgia from 1990-92. He made an immediate impact as a freshman, tallying 717 rushing yards and scoring five touchdowns in his debut campaign. He followed that performance up with 968 yards and nine touchdowns in 1991.

His 1992 campaign, however, is what created his legacy at Sanford Stadium. Hearst rushed 228 times during his junior campaign in the NCAA, averaging an impressive 6.8 yards per carry and accumulating 1,871 yards from scrimmage and 19 rushing touchdowns, alongside two receiving touchdowns.

His stellar play landed him in the heart of the Heisman Trophy conversation, but he ultimately placed third despite a more impressive resume than Gino Toretta and Marshall Faulk.

Hearst was a Consensus All-American, the SEC Player of the Year, and earned the Doak Walker Award for his impressive season. He declared for the NFL following his sensational junior campaign.

NFL Career

Garrison Hearst was a first-round pick (third overall) in the 1993 NFL Draft by the Phoenix Cardinals (now Arizona Cardinals).

His NFL career got off to a slow start. Across his first two seasons in the league, Hearst managed just two total rushing touchdowns. He finally took over the starting role in Arizona in his third season and rushed for over 1,000 yards, though still only scored a single touchdown.

Hearst joined the Cincinnati Bengals in 1996, before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 1997. He made the Pro Bowl with the 49ers in 1998, rushing for 1,570 yards (a single-season franchise record at the time) and seven touchdowns, including a 96-yard TD run against the New York Jets.

The Niners made the playoffs in 1998, and after disposing of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wild Card round, the squad was set to face the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round. On the first play from scrimmage, Hearst suffered a gruesome ankle injury, with doctors telling him he may never play football again.

After undergoing surgery, Hearst experienced complications with the ankle, resulting in him developing Avascular Necrosis, which limited the blood flow to his ankle and caused his talus bone to deteriorate. Bo Jackson suffered from Avascular Necrosis in his hip, which put a premature end to his career as a football player.

Hearst rehabbed for two years, and finally found his way back to the gridiron in 2001. He made the Pro Bowl, rushing for 1,206 yards and earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

Hearst spent two more seasons in San Francisco before joining the Denver Broncos for the final season of his NFL career.

He retired from football after not being re-signed by Denver in 2005.

Garrison Hearst Now

Now that his football career is all said and done, Hearst is mainly focused on being a father. He and his wife Jennifer O'Neal have four children together.

Their oldest son, Gerard Hearst, 17, is following in his father's footsteps as a fellow running back recruit within the state of Georgia.

Perhaps we'll see Gerard lighting up the field at Sanford Stadium in a couple years time.

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