Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 17 Days to Go

17) Hines Ward, All Everything, #19 (1994-1997)

Hines Ward, a Damn Good Dawg, came to the University of Georgia in 1994 a heavily recruited athlete and undersized quarterback. When he left in 1997, his name was all over the Bulldog record books and entrenched in the hearts of Dawg fans everywhere as one of the most versatile offensive threats in UGA's history.

A graduate of Forest Park High School south of Atlanta, Ward was a consensus prep All-American and two time Clayton County Offensive player of the year. He found a role as a reserve QB before splitting time and later starting games at Tailback. In the 1995 season, Mike Bobo became the starting QB while former CB Robert Edwards took over the RB position and Hines moved to Flanker. He couldn't get comfortable there as Bobo and back-up QB Brian Smith were soon lost to injury forcing Ward's move back to QB. While he struggled in early starts, his 413 yards passing against Virginia in the Peach Bowl kept UGA in the game before a Kickoff Return for a TD from the Cavilers doomed the Dawgs.

1996 Marked the start of the Jim Donnan era in Athens, and while team results were mixed, Wards was outstanding catching 52 passes for 900 yards for All SEC honors. He would help lead the 1997 squad to a 10-2 record and top 10 finish, including memorable wins over Florida, Georgia Tech and Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.

For his career, he had 3,870 all purpose yards (rushing, receiving, and returning), good for second all time in the Georgia record books behind Herschel Walker. His NFL career has been well documented after being a 3rd round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His 895 receptions, 10,947 yards and 78 receiving TD's on Football's biggest stage are Fall of Fame worthy on their own, but when you add 2 Super Bowls, one Super Bowl MVP, endless highlights of helmet jarring blocks, and his philanthropic efforts, you get the idea of how special Hines Ward is and how his grit, determination, heart and hard play are what make him a legendary Georgia Bulldog and truly unique NFL player, both on and off the field.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember when current Griffin High DC, Rusty Easom (I believe it was him), broke Ward's leg in H.S.

Good times.