How did Julio steal the spotlight from A.J.?

Two freshman wide receivers made big splashes last season in the SEC: Alabama’s Julio Jones and Georgia’s A.J. Green. 

Both had big, high-profile games early on. Green had eight catches for 159 yards and a touchdown against Arizona State while Jones caught five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown against Georgia. Both were named second-team All-SEC by the coaches while Green made AP’s All-SEC first team and Jones the AP’s second team. Green was the coaches’ freshman of the year while Jones was the AP’s freshman of the year.

Their numbers for the season were quite similar, with a slight edge for Green, who played in 13 games and snagged 56 passes for 963 yards and eight TDs. He averaged 17.2 yards per catch. Jones played in 14 games and had 58 catches for 924 yards and four TDs, averaging 15.9 yards per catch.

So how is it that as the 2009 season approaches, Jones seems to be the media favorite over Green? Phil Steele has Jones second-team All-American while Green is third team. Jones is on Lindy’s All-America second team; Green didn’t make it. And when Sporting News Today’s Matt Hayes picked his 25 best players in college football, Jones was No. 15 while Green didn’t even rate a mention.

A Sporting News Today reader called Hayes on this last week, saying Jones “is not so much better than A.J. Green that he deserves 15th best in the nation and A.J. doesn’t even make your list.”

Hayes responded that “Green is a terrific talent, but he’s not the same player as Jones. Not even close. Green benefited last fall from Matthew Stafford, and developed into a dangerous threat. Jones was saddled with John Parker Wilson, a serviceable quarterback who was told not to mess up.” With a better QB, Hayes concluded, Jones would have had a “monster” season as a freshman.

OK, I’m not here to knock Jones. He is a terrific receiver. But so is Green and I frankly didn’t see that much difference between them. Maybe Jones is due a little extra credit because he didn’t have a QB like Stafford delivering those balls, but I recall Green having to make a few catches that weren’t exactly perfect passes.

So what’s the difference in how Green and Jones are being perceived? Does Jones being on a team with the magic name of “Alabama” that went to the SEC Championship play into it? And if Green keeps pace with Jones this season while both have uncelebrated former journeyman backups throwing to them, what will that mean?

What do you think about Green’s preseason media treatment?

150 comments Add your comment

Otto

June 19th, 2009
10:45 am

Let the press rave about who they want. I am glad UGA does not have those things hanging over their head. Maybe AJ and the team will play with something to prove this fall.

The Ole Ball Coach

June 19th, 2009
10:46 am

let the play on the Field decide

SimpleDawg

June 19th, 2009
10:47 am

Bill, you mean “Who’s better?”. Best is for 3 or more…Oh well, doesn’t matter how you ask – AJ will be the better receiver this year.

WTF???

June 19th, 2009
10:49 am

Possibly because AJ & Julio had very similar stats even though AJ was catching passes from #1 draft pick Stafford & Julio was getting the rock tossed to him via John Parker Wilson.

I also think it is kind of hard to compare these two kids, they both have completely different skill sets.

Julio is big & physical, AJ is lean & more a finess guy.

Apples to oranges, both are good.

Cuz

June 19th, 2009
10:52 am

I am happy with AJ and I assume the Bammers are happy with Julio. No trades wanted by either side.

Bamma fans, does Julio have a decent QB in the wings to throw to him this year. I know Joe Cox will be able to deliver for Green.

Sad day with the Georgia Theatre burning up. I saw Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, REM and many more at that venue. It was a great place for a show.

Gator Fan

June 19th, 2009
10:54 am

Having had to watch the Gators play against both. I will say this, going into the Georgia and Bama game, I was more concerned with Stafford than Green. Whereas versus Alabama, Jones tore us up at times, and Sarah jessica parker wilson was not as much a cause for concern. I will say both are good, and if UGA can get decent receivers around green, then look out. Jones was amazing b/c he was really their only go to guy but even then he made plays.

Both are good, Jones gives you more to worry about in my opinion.

jim

June 19th, 2009
10:55 am

Clearly the national media hates us, I can’t put up with this crap anymore.

Tide Rising

June 19th, 2009
11:00 am

They are both great receivers who will have great years. Hard to compare though when they play in different offenses. Bama is definitely a run first, ball control type of offense. UGA will sling the ball downfield more often so AJ definitely has the advantage of more passes being thrown to him.

We can argue this one all day. Dog fans will say AJ is better while Bama fans will say Julio. If you asked pro scouts, 3rd party fans around the country, and all the talking heads in magazines, sports shows, ESPN, etc. they for the most part give Julio the nod. I don’t think there is any doubt about that and Bill just confirmed it for us.

It doesn’t really matter though. They are both special talents and I think we will all have a great time watching them for the next 2 years. I say 2 because I’m sure they’ll both be going pro after their junior years. On that most of us can certainly agree.

reservoirDAWG

June 19th, 2009
11:00 am

Both are great. AJ is better because I’m a DAWG!

heyberto

June 19th, 2009
11:02 am

Publicity can only hurt… I say, let everyone keep thinking Julio is better… we got more a chance of sneaking up on somebody (not really) and it will keep some of the media pressure off of A.J.

NRBQ

June 19th, 2009
11:03 am

Bill,

Hayes is a Gator homer. He can’t bring himself to credit AJ, which is consistent with his usual biased blathering.

Herman Archie

June 19th, 2009
11:03 am

Both are studs and have much better hands than me. Hopefully AJ won’t cost us a NC like I did.

Otto

June 19th, 2009
11:03 am

Cuz, McElroy did break Chase Daniel’s records in HS and has looked great in what little playing time he did get. If I were a Bama fan I’d be glad to see him under center. IMO he could compete to be starter with any of UGA’s QBs.

Sanford Drive

June 19th, 2009
11:05 am

Hasn’t this been discussed previously?

RxDawg

June 19th, 2009
11:06 am

Thats easy. He played in Atlanta during december. Is it relevant? Not really, but it’s the reason.

DR

June 19th, 2009
11:09 am

AJ!! Look at the numbers!!

Clint

June 19th, 2009
11:11 am

Sure Jones had JPW, but he was the only WR Bama threw to. Green had to split catches with MoMass. He’ll have a huge year this year being the #1 man. AJ is better all around than Julio. If you go back and check the indivual rankings on Rivals, they had him ranked better than Julio in the most relevent categories(catching, speed, jumping). Both are great, but AJ will have the better career. AJ will be drafted higher, and AJ will be the better pro. He is Larry Fitzgerald 2.0.

Diamond Dawg

June 19th, 2009
11:14 am

Wonder if Julio could catch some of Staffords heaters like Green could?

David

June 19th, 2009
11:20 am

Basically the Ga people don’t get it. JPW never thru a deep pass in his life. He doesn’t have the arm. Stafford was the number one pick in the NFL not for his good looks. He had to throw it to someone. Julio is better because of after the catch. You can put half the defense on him and he will drag the pile 10 yards. He came on your field and basically beat you. Go watch the Alabama LSU game for a look at piggy back rides. Greene is basically a tall, fast string bean with excellent hands. Julio is the same except with an NFL body. The only thing I don’t like about him is the NFL is licking their chops.

Dawg Fan

June 19th, 2009
11:24 am

Didn’t see enough of Jones to comment on him other than he’s obviously very good. Green looked like possibly the best pure WR I have ever seen play at UGA and I can’t wait to see some more! The guy’s athletic ability and soft hands are poetry in motion.

jacketbacker

June 19th, 2009
11:26 am

who cares??…why is this crap on a tech page??

jeffrey d

June 19th, 2009
11:27 am

Why did the AP put AJ over Julio in the All SEC teams, but not in freshman of the year?

Cuz

June 19th, 2009
11:27 am

Sanford Drive, it is the summer rerun season.

Nachos

June 19th, 2009
11:28 am

Because Julio stomped on the mutts with a metal spike during the blackout game of 2008. AND took his team to Atlanta in December. AJ took his team to the Citrus bowel.

jeffrey d

June 19th, 2009
11:31 am

Clearly the national media hates us, I can’t put up with this crap anymore. jim

I can’t understand why they’re not drooling over a 4 loss team 2 years ago and 3 loss team last year. We should have Gameday in Athens every week…even when we have an off week.

There’s too much bias in college football. Perhaps our team isn’t as good as it is in our heads?

Dawg Fan

June 19th, 2009
11:32 am

Hey Nacho cheese, UGA’s defense took them to the Citrus bowl, not AJ.

CLTDawg

June 19th, 2009
11:32 am

Let the season play out and then let’s decide. As many are saying, Cox will be fine at QB and so we shouldn’t see a big dropoff in AJ’s performance.

Besides after all the press we got last year and seeing where that got us, I am OK with getting less publicity this year.

Go Dawgs!

Ben

June 19th, 2009
11:32 am

Completely different receivers with two completely different games. That beign said, it is a little funky that they mention one without the other… having Stafford shouldn’t have factored in, because as i recall a guy named Massaquoi also had over 900 yds this last season… Alabama had no one else close.

Go Gators

June 19th, 2009
11:37 am

Follow the money….Alabama sells more magazines than Georgia

75tranzam

June 19th, 2009
11:39 am

It should be mentioned that Julio Jones had three surgeries this off season including one for a sports hernia and one for wrist surgery. You would think that their would be some question of Jone’s durability.

Otto

June 19th, 2009
11:41 am

UGA’s special teams put UGA in the Citrus. Besides if Bama played in the East they would have most likely not made a BCS Bowl.

TampaGator

June 19th, 2009
11:42 am

Green and Jones are the two best receivers in the SEC, but they are totally different types of receivers. Both will be in the pros after their jr. years. Jones will be the better pro because of his size and ball possession skills. Green will be more of a deep threat. Wish both played for the Gators.

MiltonDawg

June 19th, 2009
11:42 am

Bama had the hype behind them last year with Saban & Co rolling over the SEC west. The hype increased espcially when they played UF & UTAH and got smaacked around by both. UGA’s season was considered fair by many, so AJ does not get all the attention.

Bamafan

June 19th, 2009
11:46 am

It does matter who is better than Julio or AJ! I would love to have both on the same team! Bama’s
problem is they really don’t have any other receiver that can take the double team off Julio. Georgia
has better receivers than Bama so that helps AJ to get open better than Julio!
ROLL TIDE AND GO DAWGS!!

thomas

June 19th, 2009
11:46 am

Julio would kick A.J.’s @ss in a fight.
thats all that matters.

Happy Valley Lion

June 19th, 2009
11:51 am

AJ VS JULIO

The writer answers his own question. The Alabama player is getting more hype for one reason. Alabama is the bigger name. Michigan and Notre Dame suck. But you know what? They are still Michigan and Notre Dame and will get more love and pub because of their names. Same thing with Bama. They sucked half this decade but the bottom line is that they are still Alabama.

When we northerners think of big time marquee programs around the country and we think of the South we think of Alabama. Florida also even though they don’t have the history of the Bama program but they have dominated the way Bama used to.

There are names in every region of the country that simply stand out and some that don’t. Bama stands out and Georgia, which is a fine program in its own right, just doesn’t command the attention that a tradition laden program like Bama does. Hence Bama players like this Jones kid will always get a little more media love than the Georgia kid. Its just the way it is.

This roaring Penn State nittany valley lion appreciates the Bama name but its not going to stop us from coming down to Tuscaloosa next year to lay a whooping on your Southern boys. Roarrrrrr!!!!!!!

Lazy Dawg

June 19th, 2009
11:56 am

Both are great ,no need to compare!!!!Enough allready..

rvadawg

June 19th, 2009
12:00 pm

Julio has swag, AJ doesn’t. Shouldn’t matter but it does. The media loves players with strong confidence, and from what I hear from my friends at U of A Julio

bushwacker

June 19th, 2009
12:01 pm

Hey go gator, you mean they can read in Bama?

bushwacker

June 19th, 2009
12:03 pm

AJ or Julio, who has the best looking girlfriend, that’s all that matters!!

Herman Archie

June 19th, 2009
12:07 pm

Who would place higher in a spelling bee?

Mobile Dawg

June 19th, 2009
12:12 pm

Julio has size and is more physical, AJ has quickness and finess. Both have good hands. It will be great watching both of them play in the SECCG this year, gig to you Gators. Who cares who’s best, they are what they are, nothing we say changes that….

Cuz

June 19th, 2009
12:18 pm

They are who we thought they were.

Mikey

June 19th, 2009
12:21 pm

Yes, this is a re run from one of Tony’s blogs back in the early spring…
When does the dam season start ???

aldawg

June 19th, 2009
12:22 pm

NACHO….AJ won the citrus bowl…how did Julio do in his bowl???

Graham

June 19th, 2009
12:22 pm

Its because Jone plays for Bama. Bama is the king of Hyping something, especially when they have had a little success recently.

Maddog

June 19th, 2009
12:26 pm

I’d take either one, but I’m partial to Green because he’s a Bulldog.

Utah fans LOVE Nachos

June 19th, 2009
12:28 pm

Better yet, how did Who-lee-oh do in the first quarter?

21 – 0 at the end of the FIRST QUARTER??

Mobile Dawg

June 19th, 2009
12:29 pm

Whoever has the best season will probably get the most accolades, ya think?

uga_b

June 19th, 2009
12:30 pm

Personally, I am okay with Julio Jones being the “better” receiver as long as AJ continues to have more yards, TDs, and avg yards per catch.