In keeping with the whole March Madness thing, SouthernPigskin.com has created a 64-choice bracket to determine the top Southern college football player of the past 10 years. If I told you that three Georgia Bulldogs were in the running, you’d probably be able to guess two of the names right away: all-everything defensive end David Pollack and record-setting quarterback David Greene.
Their third choice from the Dog ranks might surprise some folks. It’s not tight end Ben Watson or safety Thomas Davis. And, no, they didn’t go for NFL signees Knowshon Moreno or Matthew Stafford. The third Dog is offensive lineman Max Jean-Gilles, which actually is a great choice. He was a consensus All-American and was considered by many observers as the most dominant offensive lineman in college ball during his time at UGA.
Overall, the selections are pretty much the usual suspects. The Pigskin folks ranked the top 16 players from this past decade in the ACC Atlantic Division, ACC Coastal Division, SEC East and SEC West and split them into four regions to create their Fan Vote Player of the Decade Tournament. From the SEC East, Florida was tops with five choices (Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, Alex Brown and Reggie Nelson), Tennessee had four (Eric Berry, John Henderson, Travis Henry and Albert Haynesworth), Vandy had two (Earl Bennett and Jay Cutler) and Kentucky (Andre Woodson) and South Carolina (Sidney Rice) had one each.
FINDING A PLACE FOR THOMAS
The Macon Telegraph looks at diminutive running back Carlton Thomas, who continues to wow folks in practice, just as he did last year, but who never found much success on the field last season. It didn’t help that he’s so small and blocking is such a big part of a tailback’s job at Georgia.
Sitting behind Caleb King and Washaun Ealey, Thomas recognizes that he has to be versatile to get the ball. “Going into the spring, I just want to get my hands on the ball any way possible, whether it’s out in the slot, running some screens, returning some balls,” Thomas said. “That was one of my main goals was to not just wait on carries but to get on the field and do anything the coaches need me to do to make a play.”
I like the idea of Thomas as a kick returner, as I’ve said before. And using him as a slot receiver is something I was expecting to see a lot more of last season. With the Dogs as thin as they are at receiver and with Thomas’ speed out in the open, it makes good sense.
I hope he gets his chance.
ONE MAN MAKES A DIFFERENCE
The Red and Black examines the importance of Josh Davis to Georgia’s offensive line.
Davis missed the first six games last season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and without him the Dogs’ highly touted offensive line wasn’t the unit everyone had expected. Consequently, the running game faltered. But when Davis returned, things got back on track.
Without Davis, the Dogs ran for just 697 yards in six games. With Davis (and the addition of Washaun Ealey), the running game chewed up 1,396 yards in seven games.
“It was big,” Mark Richt said of Davis’ impact. “We looked at the games where he started for us and how we ran the ball. It was an almost 100-yards-a-game difference.”
With all those guys back, plus Trinton Sturdivant, the Dogs should be able to run on just about anybody this year.