Valdosta, Ga - Before the 2012 season even began, stretching as far as last November when their previous season ended, they could only imagine what it would be like to win a national title. More than a year later, the Valdosta State Blazers soaked in that dream, that once-in-a-lifetime moment, as the buses pulled into the practice facility, bearing what seemed to some unimaginable.
Their faces showed a compilation of pride, devotion and fulfillment.
"It was very emotional for me," said Quin Roberson, a junior wide receiver. "Its been a rough year for me. But I finished the year up pretty good, so you know it was a very emotional time for me."
Roberson, a Moultrie native and Colquitt County alum, almost quit football a couple of years ago. He was struggling to adapt to the college game.
But his drive to win a championship lured him back.
"That's always been the ultimate goal here and it feels good to get it done this year," he said.
That sentiment he shares with the rest of the Blazers.
"Being a senior, all the hard work I put it in for the years, all the hard work the guys, us seniors put in, knowing we were able to leave our mark on the program with a national championship means a lot," senior cornerback Matt Pierce said.
"You practice to win championships. You lift weights to win championships," Head Coach David Dean said. "And for us to be able to do that and say we walk off the field as a national champion, it just doesn't get any better than that."
Dean is the first VSU Head Football Coach to win two national titles. He didn't celebrate this second one for long. He's back to recruiting. The rest of the team also has other plans.
"It's time to train and win the next one," Roberson said.