Jayan Patel


Student Equipment Manager




Class of 2024


Marietta, GA

Jayan Patel’s love for Georgia football began long before he set foot on campus as a freshman. It started with his mother, Heena, who was an athletic trainer for the Bulldogs in the 1990s during Coach Kirby Smart’s playing days. His uncle, Harris Patel, also worked as a trainer for the Dawgs into Jayan’s childhood and would take him down to the locker room after games and play catch with him on the field at Sanford Stadium.

“I always dreamed of actually playing on that field,” Jayan says.

So even before taking his first college classes, Jayan was already sending messages to Georgia football staff to see how he could get involved.

Jayan was a wide receiver in high school and even had an offer to play college football in the Northeast. But a spinal injury his senior year ended his playing career. This season, Jayan will be between the hedges catching and tossing the ball on game days. It’s just now it’ll be as a ball boy—part of his role as a student equipment manager with the football team.

And just what does an equipment manager do?

“It’s hard to describe,” Jayan says. “It is anything and everything that has to do with football.”

And that’s only a slight exaggeration.

Jayan Patel assisting Dan Jackson while he stretches
Jayan Patel helps defensive back Dan Jackson reach a deep stretch in the Bulldogs’ locker room.

Relationships can take you anywhere. I was a very shy person, and it took a little bit to break out of my shell, but opening up definitely helped me get where I am now.

Jayan Patel

Student Equipment Manager

Jayan Patel working with football equipment

At its core, equipment managers ensure players can focus on practice or the game without worrying about locating specific gear or accessories. Jayan takes care of equipment setup before games and practice, assists when players take the field, and helps with breakdown and laundry when everything is done.

It’s not a glamorous job, but Jayan says he loves every minute of the fast-paced environment, especially since it means staying close to the game he loves. Plus, he gets to travel with the team for road games. He lists standing on the sidelines of the national championship game in So-Fi Stadium as one of the “top five experiences” of his life.

His involvement with the football squad has also helped Jayan foster his networking skills and consider his career path.

“Relationships can take you anywhere. I was a very shy person, and it took a little bit to break out of my shell,” he says. “But opening up definitely helped me get where I am now.”

The finance major in the Terry College of Business came to UGA expecting to one day work in corporate finance but now aims to build a career in sports management at the college or professional level.

“My goal is to eventually run a program at one of those levels,” he says.

He picked up a minor in sports management, offered through the Mary Frances Early College of Education. The combination of coursework and hands-on experiences has been eye-opening.

“I’ve learned that you have to stand out and be unique to get noticed in the sports world, so I try to diversify myself,” he says.

In addition to equipment management, Jayan has worked in the ticketing office, the business office, operations, and even a little with coaches. All that combined with being a student poses a grueling schedule, but Jayan has consistently made the Dean’s List.

It’s something he’s proud of, he says. “It shows that I can work long hours at football during the school year while also staying on top of my schoolwork and making good grades.”