ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia football lettermen Fernando Velasco and Ray Fulcher were named to the University of Georgia Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2023 announced on Wednesday.
Velasco is currently the Director of Engagement for the Atlanta Falcons, while Fulcher is an award-winning songwriter/artist in Nashville.
Velasco (BSED ’08) started every game for the Bulldogs during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, doing to at guard as a junior before sliding to center as a senior. He was named second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press in 2007 and was tabbed SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week three times during his career. Velasco was primarily a reserve during 2003 and 2004 before redshirting on Georgia’s 2005 SEC Championship season. All told, he was a member of Georgia teams that were a combined 50-14 and won four bowl games.
Velasco was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tennessee Titans in 2008 and went on to play eight seasons in the NFL with Tennessee (2008-12), Pittsburgh (2013) and Carolina (2014-15). He started 38 of 83 career outings in the league, including every game he played for the Titans in 2013 and the Steelers in 2014. After retiring, Velasco served as Assistant Director of Player Development for Georgia from 2017-19 before becoming Director of Player Development at Arkansas in 2020 and joining the Falcons in 2022.
Fulcher (BSED 08, MED ’10) lettered as a manager with the Bulldogs during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The native of Harlem, Ga., the Double Dog has gone on to write five No. 1 hits on the country music airplay chart and in 2021 was both a CMA Triple Play Award Winner and a CMA Awards Song of the Year nominee. He also has released his own song “Love Ya Son, Go Dawgs”, which highlights the bond between father and son and his love for the University of Georgia.
40 Under 40 celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of successful UGA graduates under the age of 40. The honorees will be recognized during the 13th annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon on campus this fall.
“We are excited to recognize this year’s 40 Under 40 class and celebrate their achievements in Athens,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, UGA’s executive director of alumni relations. “I am continually impressed by the leadership and service of these young alumni within their communities and industries across the country.”
Nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to March, and the alumni association received hundreds of nominations. Honorees must have attended UGA and uphold the three pillars of the Arch: wisdom, justice and moderation. Additional criteria are available on the UGA Alumni website.
“Across their industries, these graduates represent the pillars of the Arch and the Bulldog spirit as they lead the charge to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Johnson. “We are so proud of their accomplishments and are pleased to welcome them back to Athens.”