Catching up with former UGA DB CJ Byrd about SEC Championship memories
Former UGA DB CJ Byrd
When CJ Byrd was a freshman at Georgia, the Bulldogs won the 2005 SEC Championship. He thought it was going to be an annual event for Georgia. Byrd was a special teams standout that year, and later ended up being a two-year starter at safety for the Bulldogs. These days, Byrd, 26, works in the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in business development. He aspires for a career in administration in a collegiate athletics department, or as an athletics director.
- What do you remember the most about the 2005 championship game? “That was my first year of college. It was a big memory for me. I thought it was easy, to be honest, because I was a freshman and we won the SEC Championship. I was like ‘We can do this every year.’ But I guess one of my biggest memories would be celebrating in the locker room after the game. Everyone was excited. The seniors were there, and tears were shed. We had this running back from Florida, Mike Gilliam. I remember he was the one that kind of shed tears. He was an older guy. We referred to him as ‘The Old Man.’ He had been at Georgia for a long time and he was a senior. Everybody was jumping around. You could see a different side of your coaches and teammates after that win.”
- Who do you think is Georgia’s best player on defense? “I would have to go with Shawn Williams. He brings his lunch pail to every game. He hits, he knows the playbook, and I think he’s a leader on that defense. When he says something, people listen. I would categorize him as the best all-around player, to me. I don’t think he’s missed a game. I’m sure he has been banged up being the hard-hitting safety he is. He’s No. 1 in my book. He’s a hard-working guy who will hit you in the mouth. He’s not a guy that looks like he makes a lot of excuses about anything, not saying that anybody else does.”
- Georgia or Alabama? And why? “My pick is Georgia. I think Georgia is on a roll. I think the defense has gotten it totally together. I think Aaron Murray is going to go out and play big. I think he’s had a couple of mishaps against some of the bigger opponents he has played. But I think this time he’s really going to come out and show what he’s all about. He’s on a roll himself. He has been playing well against the past few opponents. I think the coaches have a lot of faith in him, and I think he knows that. I think he is going to go out and perform the way we all know he can. I’m going with Georgia. I think the defense will play well. But I think it’s more about if the offense shows up. I’m sure the defense will. If the offense shows up, we should be fine.”
AJC’s SEC CHAMPIONSHIP COVERAGE
AJC’s UGA blog