This time a year ago, George Fant was learning how to play offensive line for the first time.
Fant had played fewer than 10 snaps of football during his only year of college football at Western Kentucky after four years as a member of the school’s basketball program. None of those plays came as an offensive lineman. Nevertheless, Fant’s athleticism earned him a contract as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks last year.
Despite being a football neophyte, Fant ended up starting 10 games at left tackle for the Seahawks as a rookie. Fant has since built a relationship with Hall of Fame inductee Walter Jones as the Seahawks’ legend has taken Fant on as an apprentice.
“He was around every now and then and it was just one day I was like ‘hey, let me talk to you because I know you’re watching. I know you’re watching the left tackle position.'” Fant said. “Cause I know when I turn the TV on and I’m watching the game, that’s the person I’m looking at. I just asked him what he thought, what he’s seen and he told me and I respect it and I thought he was right and we moved on.
“Me being the undrafted rookie and the new guy in the system, just was just like, swallow your pride and go ask this great legacy person, ‘What do you see, what do you think?’ So that’s what I did.”
Fant first reached out to Jones during the middle of last season and has been able to use him as a continued resource.
“Just sitting with him and just talking. Just kind of adding things. Just taking what he says, taking it in, soaking it in, then applying it to my game at some point,” Fant said of his relationship with Jones.
Fant has also sought to put on more weight this season to be able to physically handle the demands of the position. He’s up to 320 pounds now after playing most of last season at 296 pounds.
“I can’t be at 290 getting bull-rushed,” he said. “I knew I needed some weight for sure.”
Fant believes he’s been able to maintain his ability to move despite the extra weight. With Luke Joeckel still limited while recovering from an ACL tear last season, Fant remains the leader in the clubhouse to be the team’s starting left tackle in September. He feels he’s much better prepared to handle the task now than he was a year ago.
I was actually laughing about it earlier today, about how I can actually understand what’s going on around me and be able to make a play, make a call to let (center) Justin (Britt) know something’s coming or let (Russell Wilson) know something’s coming,’’ Fant said. “It’s just so much better to know what you’re doing and not have a doubt in your mind.”