Senior writer, Sports Illustrated
Senior writer Andy Staples is biding his time at Sports Illustrated until someone hires him to edit and write for a publication dedicated only to barbecue. Until then, his first dream job will have to suffice.
Staples can rattle off the best hole-in-the-wall dives in America's preeminent college towns. He also knows a little about the football played in those towns. He has covered college football for SI since 2008. Before that he covered University of Florida sports for The Tampa Tribune from 2004-08 and University of Tennessee sports for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He also vaguely remembers how to put on pads. In another life he was the worst walk-on offensive lineman in the history of the Southeastern Conference. In spite of Staples's obvious inability to block, the Florida coaching staff still allowed him to receive a national championship ring for the 1996 season.
At SI, Staples has flown on a private jet with a freshly minted Rhodes Scholar trying to make the second half of a football game. He has mapped the hometowns of the BCS-conference football players to see if there was any correlation between location and success (The answer is yes) and has chronicled the exploits of Johnny Manziel and explained how television caused college realignment.
He has also covered some magical games. In 2011 alone he stood next to the end zone where Michigan State's Keith Nichol hauled in a hail mary to beat Wisconsin and, a few weeks later, nearly got swallowed by a field-storming party after Iowa State shocked Oklahoma State. Staples received first place honors from the Football Writers Association of America's 17th annual Best Writing contest—for his 2008 game story on Georgia-Alabama—and earned an honorable mention in the 2004 edition of the Best American Sportswritinganthology. Staples also makes frequent appearances on sports-talk radio stations throughout the country.
Staples holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Florida. He is married with two children and resides in Gainesville, Fla.