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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dawgs of the Decade: The Fullbacks

Through a decade of success, there have been plenty of players who have made their mark in a Georgia uniform, and for the next two weeks, The Telegraph will be giving you the chance to vote on your picks for the Bulldogs’ All-Decade team for the 2000s. We’ll go position-by-position, and you’ll pick the winners by going to to vote.

Our eighth ballot is for Georgia’s top fullback of the decade, and the nominees are:

(Note: Years as Georgia’s starter in parentheses.)

Verron Haynes (2001). Haynes only big season at Georgia came in Mark Richt’s first year when he worked primarily at fullback but saw plenty of action as a runner. Always a strong blocker, Haynes showed his athleticism by leading the team with 121 carries and 691 yards rushing. He scored nine times that season and finished the year by racking up 521 yards in his last three games. His 207 yards rushing against Georgia Tech to cap the regular season helped the Bulldogs to their first win over their in-state rivals in three seasons and remain the high-water mark for a single game since Richt became coach. He was taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft and currently plays for the Atlanta Falcons.

Brannan Southerland (2005-2007). A four-year contributor, Southerland was the prototypical fullback and earned his stripes as a freshman on Georgia’s 2005 SEC championship team, scoring three touchdowns. A year later, he was thrust into the role of Georgia’s primary short-yardage runner as the Bulldogs struggled to find consistency on offense. Southerland was the first fullback to lead the Bulldogs in scoring in 49 years, tallying 10 touchdowns on the year. As a junior, his role as a runner decreased but he still scored six touchdowns and helped lead the way for Knowshon Moreno to total 1,334 yards – the most at Georgia in 15 years. An offseason foot injury cost him much of his senior season, but Southerland wrapped up his career with 460 total yards and 22 touchdowns.

Shaun Chapas (2008-present). Chapas got a taste of action as a freshman in 2007 totaling 63 yards as an understudy for Southerland. As a sophomore in 2008, however, Chapas role increased dramatically and he proved he was up to the challenge. He started all 13 games for the Bulldogs and paved the way for Knowshon Moreno to rack up 1,400 yards on the ground despite a patchwork offensive line in front of him. But it wasn’t just as a blocker that Chapas excelled. He showed he was a versatile player, handling rushing duties in several short-yardage situations and catching nine passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. As a junior in 2009, he again was the Bulldogs’ primary fullback and added eight more receptions and another touchdown to his career tally.

So, who gets your vote? Go to to cast your ballot or vote in our previous categories, and be sure to pick up a copy of the December 27th issue of The Telegraph to find out the winners.

And don't forget to leave your comments here on the blog. Tell us about why you made your selection and your favorite memories of those players, and your comments could appear in our final results issue of The Telegraph.


Anonymous said...

Southerland before the foot injury was by far the best though Verron probably could have been a bigger impact if he had been discovered earlier (but then he would have been in the RB section).

Anonymous said...

I think that JT Wall did a pretty good job for the Dawgs.

bdawg said...

I would pick Sutherland, but I think JT Wall deserved consideration.

Anonymous said...

Write-in vote for JT Wall - don't know how he was left off. Ask Musa and Verron who'd they rather run behind.

The 31st Floor said...

Another vote for JT Wall.

Great leader on the '02 team and also the best player I ever had to block against in HS. He was like running into a brick wall

David Hale said...

You're right guys... I screwed up. Chalk it up to me not covering the team in the early part of the decade. I clearly failed to acknowledge how good Wall was.

Kathleen said...

The video on the official Georgia football website that shows highlights of Saturday's practice has a great minute or so of drills where Chapas takes down a defender. It's a good laugh, too!

Anonymous said...

I think including Haynes in the great fullback thing is sort of funny. He had big games at the end of 2001 while playing tailback. He ran for a lot of yards against Ole Miss, Houston, Tech, and BC dotting the "I".

Anonymous said...

Another vote for JT Wall.