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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dawgs of the Decade: The Punters

As we wind down the 2000s, Georgia fans may not be thrilled with how the decade ended, but the Bulldogs have had plenty to celebrate during the past 10 years. Georgia has been to three BCS bowl games, won the SEC East three times, earned its first two SEC championships since 1982, had 10 All-Americans, dozens of All-SEC selections, finished in the top 10 in the polls six times, and won at least eight games in every season with a chance to add to that legacy this year.

Through all that 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. We’ll go position-by-position, and you’ll pick the winners by going to to vote.

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

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

Jonathan Kilgo (1999-2002). Although Kilgo’s first season didn’t come in this decade, the majority of his career was spent booting long bombs in the 2000s. In 2001, Mark Richt’s first year with the Bulldogs, Kilgo had 10 punts of 50 yards or more. He improved that mark by one a year later. As a senior in 2002, Kilgo averaged 42.3 yards per punt, including a career best of 66 yards, landing 12 punts inside the 20-yard line, helping Georgia to its first SEC championship in 20 years.

Gordon Ely-Kelso (2003-2006). A four-year starter, Ely-Kelso was among the best punters in the SEC throughout his career. He holds the school record for punts (227) and punting yardage (9,140). Ely-Kelso earned second-team All-SEC honors in 2005 on a team that won an SEC championship and had a career-high 66 punts on the 2003 team that won the Eastern Division. He finished his career with an average of 40.3 yards per punt and even handled kicker duties during a two-game stretch in 2006.

Brian Mimbs (2007-08). A key contributor to Georgia’s Sugar Bowl team in 2007, Mimbs finished his career second in school history with a punting average of 43.1. Known for his consistency, Mimbs had a few high points, too, including a 77-yard punt against South Carolina in 2008. He finished 12th nationally in punting average that year and earned second-team All-SEC honors. His seven punts against Vanderbilt in 2007 were key in a victory that turned around the Bulldogs’ season, and he averaged 48.3 yards per punt in the Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii to end the year.

Drew Butler (2009). Not a year has passed this decade in which Georgia hasn’t had a consistent option at punter, but the Bulldogs may have saved the best for last. Butler, the son of legendary Georgia kicker Kevin Butler, earned All-America honors as a sophomore after leading the nation with a 48.8 yards per punt average – more than three yards per punt better than the No. 2 finisher. He was a vital cog in keeping the Bulldogs competitive despite an offense that struggled through much of the season.

So, who gets your vote? Go to to cast your ballot 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.


Bill said...

They are all excellent choices, so it's very hard to elevate one over the other. How does UGA get so much consistent talent at punter, but so little at QB? I digress.

I chose to pick Kilgo simply because he was on the best UGA squad that I can remember seeing in person, the magnificent 2002 SEC Champs.

dawgjammin said...

Espn has a link on its main college football page that says "Mark Stoops to UGA as defensive coordinator"? Of course its on the rumors/insider section so you can't see with out paying for access.

You got any info on that?
Lets hope not. His defense only created 19 turnovers this season and was ranked 26th overall

Anonymous said...

Butler...just think if we had switched field position instead of throwing it into the opposing teams hands how different this year could of been. Butler continuing to punt well and Murray/Mettenberg not throwing stupid picks (don't call the underneath dump pass Bobo) will help us get to 9 wins next year.

Anonymous said...

On statistics alone you have to go with Butler. But... Mimbs did push that Samoan to the ground during the Sugar Bowl. So i vote for him.

Phil said...

Let's not get too carried away with Butler here. Sure he is fresh in our minds but must prove that he is consistent year after year before he can get this honor. My vote is for Ely-Kelso. Consistency personified.

Riley said...

Eagles agree new 3 year extension with Reid...sorry, David.

Bernie said...

I'm with Phil. Although I think Butler may eventually be the best punter to wear silver britches, it's hard to vote him into this esteemed award based solely on one season.

I'll go with Gordo.

David Hale said...

Yes, the Andy Reid era continues. Fun times, indeed.

Here's the "rumor" on ESPN...

"The buzz in Athens is that Arizona defensive coordinator Mark Stoops is a candidate for the Georgia defensive coordinator gig.

Stoops is the younger brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Arizona coach Mike Stoops. ESPN affiliate The Big Spur reports that there's an 80 percent chance the job goes to Stoops or Alabama assistant Sal Sunseri.

Another name that might be mentioned is South Carolina associate head coach Ellis Johnson, but that's purely speculative.

Stoops led Arizona's 21st ranked defense in allowing just 315.83 points per season."

I'll have more on this later.

Anonymous said...

Will never forget that 75 yd bomb Mimbs hit against USC two years ago that flipped the field late in the game and helped us win the game! It was a thing of beauty and was shot out of a cannon. Most amazing punt I've ever seen!

Anonymous said...

I have to go with ole' Dublin (Mimbs).

By the way, his best play for UGA was not as a punter.

Who remembers what that play was and what postition he was playing?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to go with his onside kick against Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl.

Dog44 said...

I was just going to mention Mimbs' onside kick against VA Tech in what I believe was the "inaugural" "Chick-fil-A Bowl." (But you beat me to it.) That play turned that whole game around.

We have had some great punters in the Mark Richt era. Have to disagree with the commenter's quip about not having the same level of talent at QB. I think we've probably had more than our fair share in the Richt era between Greene, Shockley, and Stafford. (and I still think Cox is a great Bulldog, although perhaps not as talented a QB.)

WFdawg said...

Mimbs had a lot of heart. I'll never forget when he pushed down that big Samoan kid for Hawaii after the guy knocked him over. Mimbs chased him down and cleaned his clock. Atta boy.