When Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason met with the media Friday, his first official media day as the Bulldogs starter, he did so wearing a No. 43 pin.
The pin, which Mason said he plans to wear a lot this season, bears the Auburn jersey number of his good friend Philip Lutzenkirchen, who was killed in a single-car accident in late June.
— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) August 1, 2014
Mason and Lutzenkirchen had been friends since they were 7 years old. They played high school football and baseball together, and though Lutzenkirchen decided to play at Auburn while Mason went to Georgia, the two kept in touch regularly.
In fact, the two spoke just 48 hours before Lutzenkirchen’s fateful crash.
“It’s a conversation I’ll cherish,” Mason told the Marietta Daily Journal. “It seemed like it was God-ordained. He reached out to me and said he was praying for me. He wanted me to have a big year this season after all the things I went through (waiting four years for the chance to start).
“I was lucky Friday to have that conversation. I’m counting my blessings. I just wish I had a superpower where I could go back and tell him not to get in that car.”
Lutzenkirchen, 23, was a passenger in the 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe when it ran a stop sign, careened out of control and flipped several times before coming to rest on its roof. Lutzenkirchen, who was sitting in the second row of the vehicle on the driver side, was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. He suffered a neck injury that resulted in a spinal fracture. Driver Joseph Davis also wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and suffered blunt force trauma to the skull as he was partially ejected from the SUV. They were the only two casualties. Two other passengers were injured.
Mason said he planned to honor his friend this season and the pin is probably just the first of many tributes especially since Mason credits Lutzenkirchen for helping him get recruited to Georgia.
“Philip really helped me with the recruiting process,” said Mason, who is a senior and getting his first opportunity to start. “Once he was done (with recruiting), he got me in touch with all his recruiting contacts. He helped me get my highlight tapes and my name out there.
“He really was the older brother I never had.”
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