Bulldogs Beat

Chris Burnette's public engagement

ATHENS - Georgia offensive lineman Chris Burnette is now an engaged man. And everyone knows about it - just like he wanted.

The junior proposed to his girlfriend, Arielle Haynes, during Sunday's church service at Athens Church. If you weren't there for Burnette's very public proposal - and, luckily, acceptance - then you can watch it here on YouTube.

Popping the question in such a public way could be risky, Burnette acknowledged a day later.

"I was about 99 percent sure (she would say yes)," Burnette said, laughing. "I told coach (Will) Friend about it on Thursday, and he was like: 'Well you better make sure she's gonna say yes before you invite all these people.'"

Burnette ended up telling almost everybody on the team, encouraging people to come to the noon service. Plenty did.

The proposal began with a video introduction from Burnette, who talked about the courage it takes to take on Jarvis Jones in practice every day. That transitioned into doing something that required even more courage. He wrapped up by saying: "I have a question." Burnette took a knee, there was a shriek from the crowd, Haynes smiled.

"Will you marry me?" Burnette, kneeling, finally said.

Haynes nodded and said yes quietly. And with that, Burnette slipped the ring on her finger.

Burnette didn't know of anybody else on the team who is engaged or married. Marcus Washington, a linebacker a few years ago, was hitched while on the team.

They haven't set a date yet, but they're aiming for next summer. So Burnette would play his senior year as a married man.

Arielle Haynes, 24, is from Tampa, and was introduced to Burnette, now 21, through former Georgia tight end Orson Charles, also a Tampa native.

"Both of them went to Plant High School, and she was looking at grad school here (during) my freshman year," Burnette said. "It really just happened naturally. We were friends for awhile before we started dating, so it was great."