Friday, July 16, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 50 Days to Go

50: Billy Bennett, Kicker #30 (2000-2003)

Billy Bennett, a Damn Good Dawg, is the all time leading scorer in UGA and SEC History. He didn't have to travel very far to start his college kicking career, walking on at Georgia from Athens Academy. As a young Georgia fan, I remember the Kicker position being a big question mark going into the 2000 season. This quickly proved to be the case as starting scholarship kicker Brett Kirouac hooked the ball all over the place and, in my mind, the backup was a midget in 17 states. However, what Billy lacked in height, he made up for in accuracy and grit, making 13-14 field goals as a Freshman. This quickly erased the memory of past Kicker Hap Hines, unfortunately it didn't replace the frustration and memory of Quincy Carter's junior season.

After making the All-SEC Freshman team, Billy struggled with blocked field goals and inconsistency in 2001. However, he set the stage for his last two seasons my making 6 of 6 (another UGA and SEC record) field goals against the North Avenue Trade School, ending three years for futility against the nerds. Bennett's last two seasons cemented his legacy in Athens as he made more field goals over this span (57) than any other Kicker over a two year span in NCAA history. For his career he made 87-110 field goals to amass 409 total points including PAT's, earning multiple All-SEC and All-American honors.

Billy was also one of the great characters, from a fan perspective, on the football team. He was well known to fans for his band and hair, both being mentioned frequently by Larry Munson during radio broadcasts:

A local kid himself, Billy knew his way around the local scene and I was lucky enough, on multiple occasions, to see him around downtown Athens (funny guy). After his playing career, Billy would try out for the Carolina Panthers and make a cameo appearance in the 2006 film "We Are Marshall" before becoming a sound technician with the band MGMT. While being the smallest player on this countdown list, he was "Man Enough" to be a great Georgia Bulldog.

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