Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 42 Days to Go

42: Brice Hunter, Wide Receiver #88 (1992 – 1995)

One of the greatest receivers in Georgia history is often overlooked because he happened to play alongside two other receiving legends in Andre Hastings and Hines Ward. Brice hunter starred for the Dawgs from 1992 until 1995. Like Buck Belue before him, Hunter played high school at Valdosta but was not heavily recruited. He found a home in Athens and during the 1993 season, made a lot of school around the country regret not offering him a scholarship.

In 1993, Hunter turned in what can arguably be considered the greatest receiving in Georgia history. He caught a Georgia single season record 76 passes for 970 yards (second best single season total in Georgia history). He also caught 9 touchdown passes from quarterback Eric Zeier ans was named to the All-SEC squad following the season.

1994 was another great season for Hastings as he once again led the Dawgs in receiving. He caught 59 passes for 799 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was named All-SEC for the second consecutive season. He finished his Georgia career the following season. For his career, Hunter ranks second in career receptions at Georgia with 182. He is third in receiving yards with 2,373 and third in career touchdown receptions with 19. You can see Hunter in action at the 4:18 mark in the video below:

Brice Hunter was drafted in the 7th round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He later played two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring after the 1998 season. Brice Hunter was tragically killed by a gunshot wound in 2004.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 43 Days to Go

43: Richard Seymour, Defensive Tackle #93 (1997 – 2000)

Richard Seymour player all four years at Georgia under Coach Jim Donnan in what may have been the most talented group of defensive linemen the Bulldogs have ever had. Playing alongside the likes of Marcus Stroud, Charles Grant, and Jonathan Sullivan, Seymour was a four year letterman that made 25 career starts at Georgia. The Hopkins, South Carolina native played sparingly during his freshman season in 1997 but finally cracked the top of Bulldogs depth chart in 1998.

Seymour made 4 starts during his sophomore season in ’98. He played in every game that fall, racking up 69 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 14 quarterback pressures. Seymour played a key role in Georgia’s come from behind victory over Virginia in the Peach Bowl. Fully entrenched as a starter for the 1999 season, he once again had a great year in Athens. Seymour led the team in tackles from his right defensive tackle position, tallying 74 total including 10 for a loss. He had 4 quarterback sacks, 7 quarterback pressures, and even had an interception. He was named to the first team All-SEC for the first time.

2000 was Richard’s final year at Georgia (it also marked the end of Coach Donnan’s career as well. He played a key role in the early season victory over Tennessee. For those of you don’t remember, this is what happened at the end of that game:

For the season, Seymour totaled 78 tackles, including 10.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He was named to the first team All-SEC team for the second year in a row and was named a first team All-American.

For his Georgia career Seymour had 233 tackles, 10 sacks, and 26 tackles for a loss. He was drafted in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots where he became a key member of the Patriots’ multiple Super Bowl victories. He has been a 5-time Pro Bowl selection and was named to the NFL’s 2000’s All Decade team. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders in 2009 and recently signed a one year contract that will pay him $12.4 million this fall.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Retrovideo: Stafford vs. Snead

I randomly ran across this video yesterday. It features a Texas high school game between two players who would enjoy great SEC careers: Matt Stafford and Jevan Snead. The video is fun to watch because it is clear to see that both of these two players are far better than most of the others on the field. It is a back and forth battle, with each player making play after play.

Stafford is #7 for the team in blue (Highland Park). Snead is #4 in white (Stephenville). Highland Park won the game on a last minute touchdown pass by Stafford.

Look for the countdown feature on Stafford in the next week. Go Dawgs!!!

The Countdown 2010: 44 Days to Go

44: John Little, Safety #19 (1983 – 1986)
Replacing a legend is always a tough job and it was John Little’s job to take the place of Georgia great Terry Hoage. Little played quarterback in high school in Lynn Haven, Florida, and remained at the position during most of his redshirt season in 1982. In 1983, he moved to defense where he saw limited action during the first three games of the season. But injuries, including one to Terry Hoage, allowed Little to earn a starting spot on the defense. He started six games in ’83 and became a fixture in the Georgia secondary for the next three seasons.

Following Terry Hoage’s graduation, Little took over the position of rover for Georgia in 1984. Little played well, but his breakthrough performance came in the regular season finale against Georgia Tech. The Dawgs fell to the Yellow Jackets, 35 – 18, but Little had an amazing game totaling 25 tackles. This total still stands as the second most tackles recorded by a single player in one game at Georgia.

In 1985, Little took on another role for the Dawgs in addition to playing defense. He led the Dawgs in punt returns that season, returning 21 punts for 169 yards (average of 8 yards per return). He also turned in the greatest single game performance of his career. Against rival Clemson, Little picked off two Tiger passes in the fourth quarter to help secure a Georgia victory. He was named to the All-SEC squad and named an All-American by Football News following the season. His senior season was another successful one, as he once again was named first team All-SEC and an All-American by Football News and the Walter Camp foundation.
Playing with other Georgia greats such as Jeff Hipp, Knox Culpepper, and Jeff Sanchez, Little was not the most high profile of Georgia stars but definitely one of the most consistent. For his career, he had 381 total tackles, good for 7th on the all-time Georgia list. The two-time All-American also had 10 interceptions and broke up 18 passes. He completed his college career playing in the 1987 Senior Bowl.

Why TMZ represents everything that is wrong with America today

The 21st Century has become the era of envy in America. Why live your own life, when you can live vicariously through celebrities whose lives are plastered all over the television 24 hours a day. Magazines like People and Us weekly, TV networks like E!, and shows like Extra and Entertainment tonight were at the forefront of this revolution that has only seemed to get worse over the last few years. But the worst of this group (in other words, the captain of the celebrity-gossip BS team) is TMZ.

TMZ was launched in 2005 as a website reporting on celebrity news. The name, TMZ, comes from the term "thirty mile zone", referring to the so called studio zone in Hollywood. The show moved onto television in 2007, providing even more crap to the public. The premise of the TV show is even worse than the online site, as a bunch of "writers" at TMZ stand around and talk about celebrities they or the paparazzi saw out and what they said to them. They then proceed to show pictures or video clips and laugh about these celebrities. They do realize that without these people, they would have no life, right?

So, why am I writing an article about TMZ on a Georgia blog? Because last night TMZ had to chime in on the "Agent-Gate" investigation coming to Georgia and suggested that AJ Green may have attended the now infamous party in Miami over Memorial Day weekend. From everything I have read, AJ Green was at home in Summerville that weekend. And while there was no evidence to suggest that AJ was there, people ran wild with a report on TMZ that AJ was at the party and could face the same penalties as Marcell Dareus of Alabama.

Now I ask myself, why were people so quick to make a judgment even though there was no evidence other than a report on TMZ? Because TMZ is a sign of the "now, now, now" culture that we live in. TMZ runs a BS story with no facts and just to get hits, and by god people believe it. As a blogger, I understand the natural pitfalls on online journalism. There are no rules concerning credibility and we can write whatever we want. But America has become a society where sites like TMZ are reputable new sources and that is just sad.

Right now, it appears that everything will turn out okay for AJ. But at what cost? The University has already suffered enough bad publicity with the Damon Evans case. Having our most high profile athlete linked to a story that is quickly becoming a national sports scandal is not what we need. TMZ, get back to your coverage of Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan. Leave the sports world to people who actually know what they are talking about (though I have no clue who that is anymore. It surely isn't ESPN.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 45 Days to Go

45: Wilbur Strozier, Offensive Line/Defensive Tackle #79 (1983 – 1986)

Wilbur Strozier played for two season in the NFL as a tight end for the Seattle Seahawks and the San Diego Chargers. But the road to becoming an NFL tight end began as a highly recruited defensive end from La Grange. Following Georgia’s run of three straight SEC Championships, Strozier joined the Georgia signing class of 1983 along with fellow Georgia greats Jeff Sanchez and John Little. After arriving in Athens, it took a few years for the Georgia coaches to finally figure out what position fit Wilbur the best.Wilbur Strozier began his Georgia career on the defensive line, moving from his high school position of defensive end to defensive tackle. During the next season, he would continue to play defense but also began to see time on offense at tight end.

Entering his junior season in 1985, the coaches finally found a permanent home for him at offensive tackle. Recognized as one of the most consistent tackles in Georgia history, Strozier started all but one game at offensive tackle during his final two seasons. In 1986, he played a key role in the 20-16 victory over the Auburn Tigers. He was recognized as a member of the All-SEC First team and was named an All-American by Football News. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1987 NFL Draft and remains one of the most versatile players in Georgia history.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 46 Days to Go

46: Ray Rissmiller, Offensive Tackle #70 (1961 – 1964)

Pennsylvania native Ray Rissmiller lived up to the nickname of “Big Ray” when he became at starter during his sophomore season in 1962. Weighing in at over 245 pounds, Rissmiller and fellow big guy “Big Jim” Wilson, formed a large wall for the Georgia offense. While they were both imposing forces on the offensive line in 1962 and 1963 but the arrival of Vince Dooley in 1964 would turn these two into one of the best 1-2 line punches in Georgia history.

Coach Dooley hired his brother, Bill, to become the offensive line coach and together they worked Rissmiller into one of the best linemen in the country. By the start of his senior season, Rissmiller’s weight dropped to 225 and he became a key member of the first edition of Dooley’s Dawgs. Following the season, Ray was named first team All-American and won the Jenkins Award, given annually to Georgia’s best lineman. He was by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 1965 NFL draft and played three seasons for the Eagles, Bills, and the Saints. Ray’s son Scott continued to family tradition, suiting up for the Dawgs under Coach Goff in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 47 Days to Go

47: Max Jean-Gilles, Offensive Lineman #74 (2002 – 2005)

One of the top lineman in the country in 2001, Miami native Max Jean-Gilles was a great recruiting get from Florida during the early years of the Mark Richt era at Georgia. Gilles became an immediate contributor for the Dawgs in 2002. He played in every game that season for the SEC’s top scoring offense as Georgia won its first SEC Championship in 20 years. He made his first career start in the SEC Championship game against Arkansas and had an outstanding spring in 2003. After earning the Coffee County Hustle Award during spring practice, he earned a starting spot at right tackle.

In becoming Georgia’s most improved offensive player during the 2003 season, Jean-Gilles started all 14 games and registered 60 “dominator” blocks. He was to the All-SEC second team by the SEC Coaches and Honorable Mention by the Associated Press. In 2004, he moved positions from tackle to guard where would become an even more powerful force. A pre-season All-American candidate and an Outland Trophy Candidate, he once again earned second team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press and first team All-SEC honors from the coaches.

In 2005, he was named the permanent offensive captain of the team that earned a second SEC title in 4 years. Max was credited with 17 touchdown resulting blocks and allowed only ½ of a sack for the entire season. He was named first team All-SEC and first team All-American honors by multiple outlets. He finished his Georgia career with 40 career starts and never missed a game due to injury. His class won 44 games, one of the highest totals for a class in school history. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles where he has continued his football career.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 48 Days to Go

48: Andre Hastings, Wide Receiver #1 (1990 – 1992)

With the exception of Herschel Walker, Andre Hastings may have been the highest profile recruit in Georgia history. The Morrow native caught 184 passes for 3,196 yards and 43 touchdowns during his high school career and earned the title of USA Today High School Offensive Player of the Year for 1989. A fierce recruiting battle between Florida State, Notre Dame, and Georgia did not end on National Signing Day. The player that Sport Illustrated predicted would be an NFL All-Pro by 1995 ultimately chose to stay home, joining Garrison Hearst in a star studded class for second-year Coach Ray Goff.

During his freshman season in 1990, Hastings would get off to a great start for the Dawgs. The freshman caught 24 passes in a backup role, but made a much larger impact on special teams. Hastings took over the kick returner role for the Dawgs, averaging 28.1 yards per return (4th best single season average in Georgia history). This included 159 yards on only 3 returns against Kentucky.

In 1991, Hastings and Hearst would combine with new quarterback Eric Zeier to form an explosive offensive unit. He led the Dawgs in receiving in 1991, with 683 yards on 48 receptions. He was named to the All-SEC second team and returned for his junior season in 1992. As Garrison Hearst was making a run at the Heisman, Hastings continued to make big plays on offense and special teams. He totaled 860 yards on 52 catches that fall and was named first team All-SEC.

Hastings left for the NFL after the ’92 season, failing to meet the insanely lofty expectations that were placed upon him. For his career, 8th all-time at Georgia with 124 receptions. He averaged 15.1 yards per receptions (for a total of 1,876 yards) and 13 touchdowns. As a kickoff returner, he is Georgia’s all-time leader with a 25.5 average per return. He is 3rd all-time in yardage with 1,096 yards and scored 1 touchdown. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 3rd round of the 1993 NFL Draft and spent a number of years in the league with the New Orleans Saints.