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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dawgs of the Decade: The Results

OK, I'm assuming by now you've had a chance to go pick up your copy of today's Macon Telegraph. If not, do me a favor and buy one to help me remain employed for a few more days.

That said, I know there are plenty of you who don't live close enough to buy a copy, so I don't want to keep you in suspense about our Dawgs of the Decade. So, without any further a do, here are the results...

Drew Butler 60%
Gordon Ely-Kelso 26%
Brian Mimbs 8%
Jonathan Kilgo 6%

Drew Butler, Punter
Career: The son of hall-of-fame kicker Kevin Butler, Drew followed in his family legacy, earning All-American honors in his first year as a starter in 2009, averaging nearly 49 yards per punt to help salvage several games for the Bulldogs.
Highlight: Butler set the tone for his season early, booming a 68-yard punt in his first attempt as a starter in Georgia’s opener against Oklahoma State this year.
They say: “He’s always been capable, but his work ethic is just unheard of. He comes in and works hard every day whether it’s in the weight room or out there dropping balls, just anything – anything he can do to get an edge, he’s doing it.” – Georgia kicker Blair Walsh.

Billy Bennett 51%
Brandon Coutu 38%
Blair Walsh 11%

Billy Bennett, Kicker

Career: Upon graduation, Bennett was the SEC’s career leader and second in NCAA history in points with 409. Bennett booted 26 field goals in 2002 to help the Bulldogs to an SEC title and his 31 connections on field goals a year later set the SEC mark.
Highlight: Bennett’s best day ranks as one of the all-time best by any player at Georgia – a six-field goal effort in 2001 in a win over rival Georgia Tech, tying an SEC record. His 19 points in that game (including one PAT) is still the single-game record at Georgia.
They say: “I believe Billy Bennett kept Georgia in a lot of games they might have lost. He and Brian Van Gorder’s defense were the strengths of the early (Mark) Richt teams.” – national championship-winning Georgia kicker Rex Robinson.

Damien Gary 37%
Mikey Henderson 27%
Brandon Boykin 16%
Thomas Flowers 9%
Fred Gibson 8%
Asher Allen 4%

Damien Gary, Returner

Career: A four-year star in the return game for Georgia, Gary holds the school record for return yards in a career with 1,253 – nearly 200 more than the No. 2 player on the list – and returned two punts for touchdowns in his career.
Highlight: It wasn’t Georgia’s biggest opponent, but Gary got to showcase his skills in a 2002 win over New Mexico State in which he racked up 130 all-purpose yards and two TDs – one receiving and one on a punt return.
They say: “Damien Gary gets my vote. As a classic Munson disciple who was raised to see the negative in everything, Damien Gary gave me comfort. I never really held my breath when he was back there. Great hands, great decisions, and a few good moves on top of that.” – Bulldogs Blog reader B Man.

Jon Stinchcomb 81%
Clint Boling 10%
Daniel Inman 4%
George Foster 3%
Chester Adams 2%

Max Jean-Gilles 58%
Russ Tanner 23%
Ben Jones 5%
Nick Jones 5%
Fernando Velasco 4%
Kevin Breedlove 4%
Chris Davis 1%
Alex Jackson 0%

Runoff Vote:
Ben Jones 35%
Fernando Velasco 32%
Nick Jones 20%
Kevin Breedlove 14%

Jon Stinchcomb, Tackle
Career: Following in the footsteps of his older brother Matt, Jon Stinchcomb made his mark as one of the most dominant blockers in Bulldogs history as a four-year starter and three-time All-SEC selection. He helped Georgia to an SEC title that season and earned All-American honors in 2002.
Highlight: In 2002, he recovered a fumble in the end zone in a win over Auburn, becoming the first Bulldogs’ lineman to score a touchdown in 17 years.
They say: “He’s a winner. His teams won. I don’t think that’s a coincidence when it happens in high school, college and in the NFL. That speaks a lot to the intangible stuff Jon did. He’s not a physical freak. He just goes out and executes at a really high level.” –former Georgia lineman and Jon’s brother, Matt Stinchcomb.

Max Jean-Gilles, Guard
Career: One of the largest linemen ever to play at Georgia checking in at close to 350 pounds, Jean-Gilles was a three-year starter who paved the way for some of Georgia’s most successful offensive seasons. He earned All-SEC honors in each of his three seasons as a starter and was named a Walter Camp All-American as a senior in 2005 when he won his second SEC title. In 40 career games, he allowed just three sacks.
Highlight: Held the line together after starting QB D.J. Shockley went down against Arkansas in 2005, protecting Joe Tereshinski and helping the Bulldogs hold on for a 23-20 win that kept them alive for the SEC title. He earned conference lineman of the week honors for the effort.
They say: “He chose Georgia early on but never told anyone throughout the recruiting process. He surprised a lot of people, but he loved Georgia, and he had a great career here.” – Head coach Mark Richt.

Ben Jones, Center
Career: Aggressive, confident, and perhaps a little crazy, Jones won the starting center job just four games into his career, earning a freshman All-SEC nod in 2008. His blocking earned him offensive lineman of the week honors in the SEC after Georgia beat Kentucky that year. In 2009, he blossomed into a veteran leader on the line despite being just a sophomore and was named second-team All-SEC.
Highlight: Before Caleb King’s game-winning touchdown run against Auburn in 2009, Jones took him aside after the huddle and simply said, “Follow me into the end zone.”
They say: “Him before the game is hilarious. He’s a crazy guy and gets real excited. You just have to be around him.” – Georgia quarterback Joe Cox.

Russ Tanner, Guard

Career: Tanner started throughout his final three seasons in Athens, culminating with a second conference championship in 2005. He was named to the Remmington Trophy Watch List his final two seasons and a member of the Academic All-SEC team. He graduated as part of the winningest class in Georgia history.
Highlight: In his final SEC game, he helped pave the way for Georgia’s breakout offensive attack against LSU in the conference championship game, earning his second SEC title in his career.
They say: “Russ was one of those big boys from South Georgia who played hard on every single play. He came to work, gave his all, played hurt and was always reliable.” – former Georgia quarterback David Greene

Clint Boling, Tackle
Career: A freshman All-America in 2007 Boling has been one of the most versatile and effective linemen in Georgia history. In 2008, he started 12 games and played at three different positions, but it was his move from the right side of the line to left tackle that finally settled a chaotic season on Georgia’s line. In 2009, Boling again started the year on the right side of the line, but moved to left tackle midway through the year, earning All-SEC honors both times.
Highlight: His move to left tackle helped set the tone for Georgia’s revitalized running game in 2009, culminating with a huge performance against Georgia Tech in which the Bulldogs tallied 339 yards on the ground.
They say: “A lot of times in that situation you have to play guys early, but him coming in as a freshman and play well and play a number of positions just shows how valuable he's been. He's a smart guy that gives a lot of effort and is a team guy. He's been very productive at every position he's played. He's played four out of the five and to do that, do it consistently and held us together.” – offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

David Greene 78%
D.J. Shockley 11%
Matthew Stafford 11%

David Greene, Quarterback
Career: Until Texas’ Colt McCoy broke the mark this season, Greene held the NCAA record for most victories by a starting quarterback with 42 in four seasons. His career began as a redshirt freshman the same season Mark Richt arrived in Athens, and he was as much a part of Georgia’s resurgence as anyone. He holds the SEC record with 214 pass attempts without an interception and won the 2002 SEC title, earning three straight All-SEC nods. He holds the school record for completions, attempts, passing yards and touchdowns and ranks third all-time in completion percentage.
Highlight: Call it what you want – the “Hobnail Boot” play, “P-44 Haynes” or simply, “the play,” Greene’s screen pass with 44 seconds left to beat Tennessee in 2001 was the signature play of the decade and perhaps the biggest score of the Mark Richt era.
They say: “You could just watch him make his reads with such precision early on, you just knew he was going to be a great one. He was everything you want in a quarterback.” – Head coach Mark Richt.

Wide receiver
A.J. Green 56%
Terrence Edwards 22%
Mohamed Massaquoi 14%
Fred Gibson 4%
Reggie Brown 3%
Sean Bailey 1%
Bryan McClendon 0%

A.J. Green, Wide Receiver
Career: As a freshman in 2008, Green earned All-SEC honors by catching 56 passes for 963 yards and was named the SEC’s freshman of the year. As a sophomore, he was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award and made his second straight All-SEC team with 47 catches and 751 yards, both of which led the team, and he hauled in six touchdown catches.
Highlight: Making a rare special teams appearance, Green blocked a short field goal attempt by Arizona State that could have won the game, then hauled in a crucial catch on the sideline to set up the game-winning field goal for the Bulldogs.
They say: “He has everything you’d want in a receiver, but what makes him different is his ability to move his body and get in position to catch passes. He can move in ways that are unbelievable.” – Georgia receiver Mike Moore.

Terrence Edwards, Wide Receiver
Career: The owner of virtually every receiving record at Georgia, Edwards was a beast for four seasons at both split end and flanker. He led the Bulldogs in receiving in every year of his career, culminating with a 1,004-yard senior season – the only time a Georgia player has ever eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. His 204 career receptions, 3,093 career yards, 30 TD receptions and 11 touchdown grabs in 2002 are all school records.
Highlight: Edwards had plenty of big games, but it was his 127-yard, three-touchdown performance against Kentucky in 2002 that marked the high-water point in terms of sheer production.
They say: “He’s the one who took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. There’s no telling where I would be or how I would have ended up if it weren’t for him doing that for me.” – Former UGA receiver and current running backs coach Bryan McClendon.

Tight end
Ben Watson 41%
Leonard Pope 31%
Randy McMichael 28%

Ben Watson, Tight End
Career: A transfer from Duke, Watson helped bring the position of Georgia tight end to the forefront of college football. He caught 31 passes in 2002 for 341 yards to help Georgia to an SEC title and was an All-SEC selection in 2003.
Highlight: Georgia had trouble finding much offense in the 2003 SEC title game, but Watson was the exception, hauling in a career-best 86 yards and the Bulldogs’ only touchdown.
They say: “He is an all pro tight end but he cares about his family and the well being of others and that is special. Not many in this sport at that level are like him, and I look up to him for sure, not only as an athlete but also because of the person he is.” – Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch.

Running back
Knowshon Moreno 90%
Thomas Brown 4%
Musa Smith 4%
Danny Ware 1%
Kregg Lumpkin 0%

Knowshon Moreno, Running Back
Career: Moreno burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2007, rushing for 1,334 yards and was a freshman All-American and an All-SEC selection. In 2008, he was a full-fledged starter and turned in an All-American performance, rushing for 1,400 yards (fifth-best in Georgia history) and 16 touchdowns (fourth-best in school history). His 5.49 yards per carry average was the seventh-best mark of any running back in a career at Georgia, and his 19.2 carries per game average was the second best. He is one of just two tailbacks in school history with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Highlight: Getting the bulk of the load on offense, Moreno ran 33 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Florida – just the second time during the Mark Richt era that the Bulldogs topped the Gators.
They say: “It didn’t matter what was going on, he was going to give it his all on every play. That’s what I tried to pick up from him. He played every play like it was his last.” – Georgia running back Caleb King.

Brannen Southerland 70%
Verron Haynes 28%
Shaun Chapas 3%

Brannan Southerland, Fullback
Career: Earned his stripes as a freshman on Georgia’s 2005 SEC championship team, scoring three touchdowns. A year later, he was Georgia’s primary short-yardage runner and 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.
Highlight: Scored twice on the ground – the only points of the game – in a 14-9 win over Ole Miss in 2006 to help move the Bulldogs to 5-0.
They say: “He wasn’t just a fullback. He could do it all. He was a great blocker, but he could run routes, catch passes, score. He had it all.” – Georgia fullback Shaun Chapas.

Defensive end
David Pollack 88%
Charles Grant 5%
Charles Johnson 3%
Quentin Moses 2%
Will Thompson 1%
Marcus Howard 1%
Robert Geathers 0%

Defensive tackle
Richard Seymour 62%
Johnathan Sullivan 15%
Marcus Stroud 10%
Kedric Golston 4%
Jeff Owens 4%
Geno Atkins 3%
Gerald Anderson 2%

Charles Grant, Defensive End
Career: Grant finished his Georgia career with 136 tackles, 27 TFLs and 15 sacks, despite only playing two full seasons at defensive end. His 15 career sacks ranks ninth all-time at Georgia. His junior season in 2001 resulted in 63 tackles and six sacks and was named to the All-SEC team.
Highlight: Grant’s four-sack performance against Auburn in 2001 ranks as the second-best performance in school history.
They say: Entertaining Charles Grant story, courtesy of Bulldogs Blog reader, Chess…
Munson: "whattaya got on the field for us loran?"
Loran:" I got Charles Grant down on the field here Larry, so Charles, youre from South Georgia, arent you? So I suppose you probably like boiled peanuts?"
Grant: "yes sir"
Loran: "Alright, back up to you Larry"

Richard Seymour, Defensive Tackle
Career: Seymour only played one year during the decade – but it was a heck of a year. He was a first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC as a senior in 2000, playing along three other future NFL first-round draft picks. He started 10 games that season, making 78 tackles, including 10.5 for a loss.
Highlight: Had six tackles, two sacks and a pressure that resulted in an interception in a win over South Carolina in 1999.
They say: “Him and (Marcus) Stroud, they got drafted high and they left a legacy. Seymour led the team in tackles one year. That’s a legacy.” – defensive tackle Jeff Owens.

Johnathan Sullivan, Defensive Tackle

Career: It was never about the numbers for Sullivan, who was a constant disruptive force on the defensive line. He was an All-SEC selection in 2002, helping Georgia to a conference title by making 74 tackles and four sacks.
Highlight: Sullivan’s final SEC game earned him a conference championship as he and the Bulldogs’ line held Arkansas to just 1.9 yards per carry on the ground and just three total points.
They say: “He’s one of the most talented kids I ever coached. He had the athleticism of (Richard) Seymour and the power of (Marcus) Stroud. He could have done anything he wanted to do.” – Rodney Garner, Georgia defensive tackles coach.

Player of the Decade
David Pollack 67%
David Greene 24%
Knowshon Moreno 5%
Thomas Davis 3%
A.J. Green 1%

PLAYER OF THE DECADE: David Pollack, Defensive End
Career: One of the most decorated athletes in Georgia history, Pollack was a three-time All-American, who holds the school records for sacks with 36 and was named the SEC’s player of the year in 2004. In his career, he had 58 tackles for a loss, made 283 total tackles, holds the single-season record for sacks with 14 in 2002. His high-energy style made him a fan favorite and his impact on the football field was unparalleled by any Bulldogs player during the past decade.
Highlight: His interception of South Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins in the end zone in a 13-7 win remains one of the signature plays of the decade and helped propel the Bulldogs to an SEC title.
They say: “I think he’s the most decorated defensive player to play here and he set the standard for us. Everybody tries to continue that on, but he set the bar real high.” – defensive end Rod Battle.
“Pollack was one of those rare guys that you find who is really a game-changer. He played with such energy and the things he would do would really change the whole outcome of a game. He could swing the whole momentum of games.” – Pollack’s former teammate David Greene.
“What made David different was his relentless pursuit. Something inside of him made him go hard on every practice, every rep in the game and every mat drill every single year. He could not help it. That’s just what made him great. Another thing about David was he didn’t care what you thought or what you said about him. He was going to do exactly what he wanted to do against you.” – Head coach Mark Richt.

Boss Bailey 40%
Rennie Curran 21%
Odell Thurman 21%
Will Witherspoon 7%
Tony Gilbert 6%
Tony Taylor 4%
Dannell Ellerbe 1%
Danny Verdun-Wheeler 1%
Chris Clemons 0%

Rennie Curran, Linebacker
Career: The heart and soul of Georgia’s defense for the past two years, Curran has been a tackling machine. He was led the SEC in tackles in 2009 and became the first Bulldogs player to top 100 tackles in consecutive years in more than a decade. He won All-SEC honors as both a sophomore and junior.
Highlight: Curran salvaged a win by forcing a fumble at the goal line against South Carolina in 2008, then defended a last-second pass at the goal line to preserve another win over the Gamecocks a year later.
They say: “Truthfully, every play, you think, oh man, I’ve got to be on my Ps and Qs, I have to be on top of my game because you have a guy like Rennie, and every play he’s going hard. When I’m out on the field, I’m just like, I’m going to match Rennie.” – Georgia linebacker Nick Williams.

Odell Thurman, Linebacker
Career: A Ju-Co transfer, Thurman made the most of his two years in Athens. He was an All-SEC selection both seasons and a Butkus Award semifinalist in 2004. He finished his career with 184 tackles and 9.5 sacks.
Highlight: Thurman’s 99-yard interception return for a touchdown against Auburn in 2004 was the second-longest in school history.
They say: “He was a straight playmaker. He was all over the field when you saw him on film. That’s one of the guys I watched when I wanted to get better and learn how to improve my technique, make plays and be around the ball.” – linebacker Rennie Curran.

Boss Bailey, Linebacker
Career: Following in the footsteps of his All-American brother Champ, Boss Bailey was one of Georgia’s most prolific linebackers, a four-year starter and two-time All-SEC performer. His senior season marked a high point, as Bailey earned All-American status, leading the team with 114 tackles and six sacks.
Highlight: Bailey had many big games, but perhaps none loomed as large as an eight-tackle performance in a 24-21 win over Auburn in 2002 when he chipped in with two sacks and a forced fumble that helped preserve Georgia’s shot at its first SEC championship in 20 years.
They say: “I was in Athens for the year-o-highlights when Boss was a virtual super man in blocking kicks. I think he had a 48" vertical...same as some guy named Jordan, by the way.” – Bulldogs Blog reader JFerg.

Thomas Davis 48%
Greg Blue 30%
Sean Jones 15%
Jermaine Phillips 3%
Kelin Johnson 1%
Tra Battle 1%
Reshad Jones 1%

Thomas Davis, Safety
Career: One of Georgia’s all-time hardest hitters, Davis finished his career with 272 tackles, 10.5 sacks and three interceptions and earned All-SEC honors in both 2003 and 2004. His 138 takedowns in 2003 were the most by a Bulldogs defender since 1996 and marked the 12th-best during any season in school history, and he earned All-American honors a year later.
Highlight: Did a little bit of everything in a 2003 win over Alabama, making seven tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and returning a blocked punt for a touchdown.
They say: “He’s like a magnet to the football, and every time I saw him, he went hard and he delivered a blow. That was what he was known for.” – Georgia safety Reshad Jones.

Greg Blue, Safety
Career: No one hit harder than Blue, who still owns one of the most frightening highlight films in Georgia history. In his senior year in 2005, Blue was dominant. He finished with a career-best 96 tackles – the most on the team – and intercepted two passes en route to All-SEC and All-America honors and yet another SEC title.
Highlight: It’s hard to pick just one highlight hit from Blue’s career since he had so many, but it was his knockout blow to Auburn’s Courtney Taylor in 2003 that probably tops the list for sheer violence.
They say: “I think the most physical guy on a consistent basis and was just a mean guy was Blue. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy that played the game as mean as he did, but could also be as kind and soft-spoken and a great kid.” – Former Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez.

Tim Jennings 35%
Paul Oliver 22%
Tim Wansley 20%
Asher Allen 11%
Bruce Thornton 6%
Demario Minter 5%
Prince Miller 1%

Run-off vote:
Tim Wansley 55%
Paul Oliver 45%

Tim Wansley, Cornerback
Career: Wansley was an All-SEC performer in 2000 and 2001, and led the team with six interceptions in 2000 – two of which he returned for TDs. He was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 NFL draft.
Highlight: Wansley’s interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter in 2001 gave Mark Richt his first career win over Georgia Tech and the Bulldogs’ first win in four years against their in-state rivals.

Tim Jennings, Cornerback
Career: As a senior in 2005, he helped the Bulldogs to an SEC title and was named to the All-SEC team, making 56 tackles and four interceptions. For his career, he finished with 170 tackles, 10 for a loss, and made 10 interceptions. His 194 career return yards off picks ranks fifth in school history.
Highlight: Although he won an SEC title as a reserve in 2002, it was his interception return for a TD against LSU in the conference title game in 2005 that served as a highlight to his career, both in terms of personal plays and big wins.
They say: “My vote goes to Time Jennings. Got to love the fight in the little guys.” – Bulldogs Blog reader Universal Remonster.

A few of my thoughts on the final voting...

-- The only positions I'd put up much argument with would be tight end, where I think Leonard Pope was probably the superior player, but Ben Watson is certainly a valid choice, and on the interior line, where I thought Kevin Breedlove was significantly undervalued.

-- Speaking of undervalued, doing this little exercise gave me a far better appreciation of both Mohamed Massaquoi and Thomas Brown, neither of whom were the most outspoken or widley acclaimed guys, but both of whom's numbers stack up with the great ones quite well.

-- The strongest position during the decade? I guess it has to be safety, but man, there have been some solid runs at tight end, at defensive tackle and even at quarterback during that stretch. Plus special teams have been spectacular in terms of individual performers.

-- Weakest position? The O line has had it's ups and downs, but I'd probably give the nod to cornerback. Outside of Tim Jennings, there really hasn't been a consistent stand-out performer during the decade. (Although, yes, I probably undervalued Decory Bryant in my rankings.)

So, what do you think of the results? Anything stand out as a particularly bad vote?


Texas_Dawg said...

Good stuff, David.

The only one I'd really argue with is Blue over Jones. Stafford would have been the best of the QBs had he returned for his senior year and played behind a real OL for the first time (following up his record-setting junior year), but he didn't so Greene is the right choice there.

Only 6 of the 25 first-teamers came from the '07-'09 teams, Curran the only one on defense. Here's hoping for a return soon to our early 00's hit rate on recruiting talent.

Travis Hill said...

How, How, How could Hines Ward could of been left out of the Wide Receivers as a choice?

Please Please tell me why?

Alan said...

Ward played in the 90's...

Anonymous said...

I'd put Breedlove on insttead of Tanner and Jones on instead of Blue. Jones could cover and pick off passes plus he was a great return man when needed (Auburn '02) and he still plays safety in the NFL Blue could not cover. To me McMichael was like a hybrid of Watson and Pope but all 3 are deserving.

Also, Sutherland had way too much hype...Chapas is better. Once Chapas got on the field Sutherland never could get back on the field.

Great list though

Dawg In Maryland said...

Safety is definitely the deepest position. You could even add Kentrell Curry to that list; shame he got hurt.