If A.J. Green leaves early, what’s his place in UGA football lore?

If the quarterback could get the ball anywhere near A.J. Green, he usually came down with it. (Associated Press)

If the quarterback could get the ball anywhere near A.J. Green, he usually came down with it. (Associated Press)

A.J. Green tweets he isn’t gone yet, no matter what Channel 2 reports, but you’re not likely to find many observers of the Georgia football program who expect A.J. to be putting on the red No. 8 jersey next season.

He’s already considered a lock to go in the first round of the NFL draft, so about all he could do by returning for another season in Athens is run the risk of an injury that could endanger his pro career.

Oh, I’d love it if he came back. And if he shocks the world and does that, he’ll instantly elevate himself to the highest level of Bulldog Nation folk hero status. But I don’t expect it to happen.

So, assuming Green is gone after this season, what will be his place in Georgia football history? As was the case with Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, he won’t have helped bring a championship to UGA before leaving early. And generally it’s the players who at least bring home an SEC championship trophy who are the most beloved among fans.

However, there’s one big difference when it comes to Green. Stafford and Moreno were top-notch players, but they weren’t the best I’d ever seen play at their positions for UGA. Stafford had the biggest arm but never completely mastered the mental side of the quarterback position and  wasn’t the team leader he could have been. Moreno was a fantastically talented back, but he was no Herschel Walker.

Merry Christmas, Bulldog Nation! (Danbury Mint)

Merry Christmas, Bulldog Nation! (Danbury Mint)

But A.J. is, hands down, the best receiver I’ve ever seen play for Georgia.

He might not have lived up to his full potential, due to injuries and the missed games caused by his stupidity in the jersey-selling affair, but those circus catches, his running after the catch and, most importantly, his ability to go up high in double or triple coverage and still snag the ball in a clutch situation are unequaled.

It’s been a pleasure to watch him play. If I could get my Christmas wish for the Bulldogs, he’d return for his senior season. I don’t think we’ll be that lucky, though.

Speaking of Christmas wishes, here’s hoping you and yours have a safe and enjoyable holiday and all of you come back next week for some bowl talk.

Go Dogs!

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211 comments Add your comment

7576DAWG

December 23rd, 2010
10:45 am

AJ doesn’t have any place in Georgia’s football lore . So the answer is none. You have to be a leader and role model for that and AJ failed at both.

FaithfulDawg86

December 23rd, 2010
10:50 am

I’d give anything to see AJ stay for another season… with another year of maturity for Murray, just think what those two could do! Despite all the naysayers (especially the armchair coaches on these blogs), I think UGA will have a good team next year. Murray will be a year older and wiser (he’s gonna be agreat QB), Grantham will have had a year to solidify his D, our special teams are solid. I’d like a better running game, so if Santa is in the mood for giving, I’ll take a couple of good recruits in that area along with keeping AJ :)

Lindsey

December 23rd, 2010
10:51 am

It was been so awesome to watch AJ, he has made some amazing catches!! One of my many favorites was the one handed catch in Colorado..incredible! Merry Christmas to Bill and the Bulldog Nation, GO DAWGS!!

dawgonit

December 23rd, 2010
11:04 am

I never saw Herschel play but to me from my 20+ years of watching Bulldawg football he is the best i have seen at Georgia and one of the best college players I have ever seen.

Bulldawg1444

December 23rd, 2010
11:13 am

Dawgonit I did have the pleasure of watching the GREAT HERSHEL WALKER.He was truly great in every aspect of his game.I reminisce about him all the time.AJ is the best receiver I have seen at UGA,but he is no Hershel Walker.My first UGA game was in 1966 and no one can touch AJ.It is only to bad he decided to sell his jersey,if not for this his status would surely be elevated. One more thing I remember 1979 also. We wound up 5-6,the cry was to fire Dooley. He stayed and the rest is history.Hopefully lightning does strike twice.

sprouse27

December 23rd, 2010
11:15 am

AJ is great, but I don’t see how he can pass on those NFL millions. It’s amazing the talent that has passed through Athens, without even an SEC championship game. It’s been chronic under-achieving and that’s really a shame. Some teams (Miss St) seem to do more, with less. The Dawgs seem to do less with more. Oh well. Let’s see what 2011 brings….

RxDawg

December 23rd, 2010
11:16 am

His lore? The without a doubt best Dawg wide receiver to ever play the game. He’s our Herschel Walker of wide receivers. He just happend to play with some really bad players, especially on defense.

1 More Year

December 23rd, 2010
11:19 am

We need to be sure AJ knows we still have faith that he will stay for one more shot at college football legacy…spread the word for a 4th quarter AJ chant! We need to rock that stadium to make him realize the passion we once had as Dawgs fans and the passion we once again need! No more empty seats at kickoff for nationally televised games against major opponents…no more negativity at the coaching situation…and no more players in jail! Bring back the Sanford stadium people were once afraid to play in! And don’t forget… AJ one more year!!!

CUNK ROGERS

December 23rd, 2010
11:21 am

Love the comment from Bulldawg1444. Just wrap your brain around Isaiah Crowell coming to UGA and being a true freshman, just like Hershel was in ‘80′ and us coming off a season pretty much like we did in ‘79′. You never know!

AJs Jersey

December 23rd, 2010
11:24 am

1) AJ Green
2) Hines Ward
3) Fred Gibson
4) Reggie Brown
5) Mo Mass

UGA Insider

December 23rd, 2010
11:28 am

AJ is one of the top 5 players of all time at UGA. He is truly the most amazing talent I have ever seen catching a football. It’s not his fault that the defenses he played with stunk and didn’t win any championships. The same can be said for Moreno and Stafford. If Sweet Wilie Martinez doesn’t give up 50 points to UT in 2007 then we probably win the mythical national championship.

Einsteindawg

December 23rd, 2010
11:33 am

AJ is the latest of our five star recruits that was not “coached up” nor taught discipline, but will excell in the pros. I wish him well; however, it would have been great to see him play last season with Murray or Mett, not our Division 3 QB.

Pago Pago Dawg

December 23rd, 2010
11:35 am

Is it just us, or does it seem like a lot of assistant UF coaches have been hired to be head coaches ….wonder how many schools come knocking at UGA looking for head coaches? Just sayin……

1eyedJack

December 23rd, 2010
11:43 am

Most Florida fans are helping Addazio pack.

DawginOH

December 23rd, 2010
11:44 am

A.J. definitely has the title of “best Georgia receiver ever” locked up and probably will for years to come. However, given the jersey incident earlier this year, I don’t think there’s much he can do to be held forever dear by the fans apart from returning for his senior season and helping the Dawgs win an SEC championship.

close..

December 23rd, 2010
11:44 am

in 07 UT scored 35 points. 35-14. and the only other game we lost, the D gave up 16 points. it was 08 that willie lost us a chance at an sec or national championship.

Supes

December 23rd, 2010
11:52 am

I will look at A.J Green’s career @ UGA as what could have been…to be as talented as he is, UGA didn’t win anything major as a Dawg…but then again Football is a team sport, so its hard to pin it all on him…but his career will be remembered as “what could have been”.

nostrodamus

December 23rd, 2010
11:55 am

aj will win rookie of the year in the nfl next year. he will also pass all nfl pass catching and receiving yards. he is the next jerry rice, he has attitude and work ethic, plus more skills than randy moss.

sam

December 23rd, 2010
11:59 am

To me he is the most talented WR UGA has ever had. Hines Ward is close, but I doubt anyone thought he would go on to a potential HOF NFL career.

However, Lindsay Scott probably will rank higher partly because of 2 catches: the 80 yard TD pass to open the Tech game and of course “Run, Lindsay, Run”. (Still waiting to hear from Larry if he scored or not). AJ made some spectacular catches, but none as big as those two. Did AJ ever have a game winning TD catch? (The LSU game should have been…)

how2fish

December 23rd, 2010
12:01 pm

Bill Happy Holidays to you and your family and thanks A.J your one heck of a DGD!!!

tbomachine

December 23rd, 2010
12:06 pm

didnt aj catch the game winner against kentucky in 08?

saban

December 23rd, 2010
12:08 pm

Have to admit Green was one tremendous football player. Too bad he played for Richt.

Somewhere else like Boise State he might have had an incrediable career, and one an national championship or two.

Oh well next year back to 6-6, 5-7.

tbomachine

December 23rd, 2010
12:08 pm

either way, he is a DGD. AJ, good luck with whatever you choose. GO DAWGS, sic em!!!!

RxDawg

December 23rd, 2010
12:09 pm

“he is the next jerry rice, he has attitude and work ethic, plus more skills than randy moss.”

I’m going to break that statement down..

“he is the next jerry rice” – We’ll see about that. AJ’s body will have to hold up for a lot of NFL years.

“he has attitude and work ethic” – I agree 100%. The people that try to bash AJ as a man because of the jersey thing are short sighted or trolls. AJ has been a class act at UGA and has exactly the kind of personality you want in a player.

“plus more skills than randy moss.” – Umm… sorry but I can’t agree with that. Just go to youtube and search for some Moss highlights. Say what you want about Moss’s attitude, his physical ability as a WR is unmatched. Some of the catches he’s made… I’ve never seen anything like it. Now can AJ develope into, match, and maybe even surpass Moss? Yes I think he can. But I wont agree with that statement at this time in AJ’s football career.

@AJ – Whatever you decide, this Dawg supports you. Go AJ, Go Dawgs!

dawginmemphis

December 23rd, 2010
12:11 pm

The problem I have with all this is that its part of a sour tasting larger picture. UGA could not win diddly squat with the:
(1) Best receiver in UGA history.
(2) Most talented quarterback in UGA history.
(3) 2nd best running back in UGA history

ALL IN THE SAME DAMN OFFENSE ! Say what you want about Stafford and his leadership and desire issues, but those fall on coaches. Coaches are supposed to be able to know how to get a guy like Stafford on the right track. But from a pure talent standpoint, he’s the best we ever had.

I love Richt &Co., but this is why I think next year is delaying the inevitable. Next year will be Mark Richts last year at Georgia. Mark it down.

buzzDawg

December 23rd, 2010
12:17 pm

I wish AJ the very best in the NFL. It’s hard to pass up the money he’ll be getting and risk injury for another year of college football. Another year would not raise his draft prospects – he is already right at the top. It looks like we’ll have a group of very good receivers next year but no great receiver. Crowell would be a great addition as a RB. I think his impact would be similar to Lattimore at South Carolina.

Ed (The Original)

December 23rd, 2010
12:18 pm

His place will be similar to Emmitt Smith’s at Florida. A great player who was at the wrong school at the wrong time. Emmitt was 0-3 against Georgia with zero championships, Green is 0-3 against Florida and has zero championships. Not his fault, that’s just the way it is. Everyone loves a winner.

Smith erased his college futility by being a key part of several Super Bowl winners. Green still has an opportunity to establish a championship legacy in the NFL.

Like Smith, Green was underserved by a mediocre coaching staff.

bird dawg

December 23rd, 2010
12:24 pm

1. A.J
2. Terrance edwards
3. hines ward
4. mo mass
5. lindsey scott
6. fred gibson
7. andre hastings
8. reggie brown
9. brice hunter
10.hmm….champ bailey

Dawg 39

December 23rd, 2010
12:26 pm

AJ is the best Dawg WR that I have ever seen & I was in the stands in 59 when Butts won his last SEC title. I was a season ticket holder during the Dooley years. AJ is not a Herschel but then who is? Finally I still consider Richt, today, to be the best HC the Dawgs have ever had. With that I still expect next year to be his last year. I just hope the next HC does as well. I have my doubts.

RxDawg

December 23rd, 2010
12:30 pm

bird dawg
December 23rd, 2010
12:24 pm

That’s a good list. I’d change a few in the order. Think I’d move Gibson down a slot or two, Hastings and Brown up some. But still, nice list.

how2fish

December 23rd, 2010
12:37 pm

Nothing to do with A.J bit I was just watching the CNN live coverage of Tattogate at OSU they are suspending 5 players for 5 games for getting discounts for TAT’s…4 of then are starters…is the NCAA making the rules up as they go ?

BG

December 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

AJ is the man! AJ made some awesome catches while at UGA. I hope AJ comes back and plays 1 more year for the DAWGS. AJ could win the Heisman and break all the SEC records.

Pago Pago Dawg

December 23rd, 2010
12:49 pm

Good riddance…not a team player…not a real DAWG!

Loran, Whatayagot?

December 23rd, 2010
12:50 pm

Even though A.J did stupidly sell his jersey, there’s no evidence of other immoral behavior, lack of work ethic, or arrogance. It apprears he always gave 100% (you can’t realistically give 110%, or 200%, only 100% max). He lifted up the whole program. Thanks A.J.

Dorsey Hill

December 23rd, 2010
12:51 pm

The thing about AJ isn’t whether he’s the best to play the position at UGA, that’s clear. It’s that he is so far better than whoever you list #2. He is one of the three most talented players ever to play at UGA: Trippi, Walker and Green. There is good, great and special and these are the few who are special.

Columbus Dawg

December 23rd, 2010
12:52 pm

I would expect A.J. to keep denying his leaving until after the bowl game. He knows that as soon as Christmas is over that the media attention gets all cranked up again once the Dawgs get to Memphis. He does not want a lot of hooey from Dawg fans, or the media next week about his leaving early, and or his jersey selling episode leading up to the bowl game. That way the only media he gets is positive bowl game type attention, and the raving from the idiot sports media pundits about how wonderful he is. Once the bowl game is over, he knows that there will be very little media attention given to UGA football, at least until the National Signing Day hoopla starts up. That will be when he quietly announces his leaving. Seems Stafford and Moreno did the same thing.

tree&rambo

December 23rd, 2010
1:13 pm

J Houston & Aj 1 more YEAR!!! Crowell hope your listening!!!

Tide roll

December 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

Great looking kid, great athlete.
At any other school would have been a legitimate Heisman candidate going into next year

whatchathink

December 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Do any of yall think that the 5 million dollar pre-nfl insurance policy is going to influence his decision?

oledawg

December 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

With breaking news of OSU players selling items IN 2009! why doesn’t the application of rules that fit AJ fit those 5 players? This is an outrage whereby we held AJ out until there was a ruling from NCAA only to learn that it extended to 4 games. The reason he was held out was because he would have been ineligible if he played and we would have to forfeit games in which he would have played.

Why don’t those same rules apply here? The players from OSU did the same rule breaking AT THE SAME TIME AS AJ! They should all be ruled ineligible and should forfeit all games that they played in this year. Just because they hid this during the time that AJ was being punished (and the team with him) is no reason to ignore and investigate later. They saw what happened to AJ and they (the players and the school) held off until season’s end. Makes no difference! They were guilty of the same act at the same time ; therefore, they are ineligible and there should be an outcry for forfeiture of all OSU games that they played in this year. It applied to ,Reggie Bush and AJ-why doesn’t it apply to OSU?

For their collective deception the games should be forfeited, OSU should not be eligible for the Sugar Bowl and Boise State should be switched to that BCS game. I don’t understand why there is no outcry against the plain favoritism afforded OSU and no further punishment meted out for covering it up. The players knew, the school had to know and told them to shut up until too late to punish them except in 2011. OSU and the NCAA have to be whistling thru the graveyard right now and figuring that the rest of football outside the Big10 is too timid to demand such action at this late date.

This should not be tolerated, both in the activity and the following subterfuge. The challenge to keep activities under the blanket and the school fess up later is a realistic application of “Do as I say, not as I do” that is infolding the NCAA Rules Committee as well? OUR NCAA RULES COMMITTEE? We, the member schools, are the teeth with Slive as our conference representative who should DEMAND action today.

This is the most outrageous “in your face” anti rules move that the Big10 ,OSU, Tressel and “Big Jim” have ever blandly sat down, looked in the camera with a straight face and tried to pull off.
Someone at ESPN will write (or already have written) an article asking the same questions here , but will decide to publish it when it is too late to switch teams.

Someone had better do something fast because right now there is an ineligible team about to play a BCS game.

Dawg 39

December 23rd, 2010
1:22 pm

On further reflection I must comment on Garrison Hearst. He should have won the Heisman. I consider Him to be the second best Dawg RB that I have ever seen, not Moreno. Hearst was as close to being a Herschel Clone as it was possible to be.
Back to AJ. He was the second best football player in the SEC last year. Only a little behind the Hiesman Trophy winner as far as being valuable to his team.

Demote BoBo

December 23rd, 2010
1:32 pm

AJ s gone! The show must go on.. I feel bad for Murray next year.. The receiver core is gonna be horrific next season.. Micheal Bennit? Wootin?King? Brown? ..Combine all there numbers and your looking at 600 yards and maybe 6 tds.. WE ARE IN TROUBLE NEXT YEAR WITHOUT AJ! UGA should’ve demoted BoBo years ago.. Somebody answer me this…. How does BoBo recruit Cam Newton as a TE but envisions Richard Samual as a S.E.C running back?… D.C can read Bobos scheme easily.. He’s had 3 1st round players under his watch …NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT!!! Crowell is not coming to UGA cause he’s not gonna to know who the HC is gonna be by his sophomore year.. Good luck in the pros next year AJ.. Sorry for being stuck with an OC that’s so underachieving..

nostrodamus

December 23rd, 2010
1:34 pm

I knew you would say that rxdawg….you tube some high school footage of aj, RMoss was thrown to by Pennington and leftwich every other play(exaggerated a bit, I know, so dont say it, i already knew you would), hence more highlite chnaces, yes, Jerry Rice has longevity, as a foreseer of the future, and the new emphesis on head shots to unexpecting receivers, AJ will play many many years.

Demote BoBo

December 23rd, 2010
1:36 pm

GT is a 4th rate high school team

December 23rd, 2010
1:38 pm

So much unfulfilled potential.

bill

December 23rd, 2010
1:41 pm

We’ll miss you AJ…another great player who was under-coached. Go out with a bang against UCF…

collegeballfan

December 23rd, 2010
1:43 pm

Georgia lost 3 games while Green sat out the early part of the season. Georgia lost 3 games after Green returned to the team.

Green is a gifted receiver. If I was the Falcons in the next draft I would take whomever was available from the trio of Green, Jeffery and Jones. All three suburb receivers. And I would trade up to get one of the three.

Is Green the best UGA receiver ever? How about John Carson for that honor.

RxDawg

December 23rd, 2010
1:58 pm

Good to know you saw me coming nostro :)

KimZ'spackage

December 23rd, 2010
2:06 pm

It will be fun to see if he can be 1/3rd the Receiver HINDS WARD is. Hines played whatever the Dawgs needed, but in the NFL AJ has a long way to go to measure up to what H Ward has done.

waiting for fireworks

December 23rd, 2010
2:07 pm

Unfortunately Green will not have much lore in Ga Bulldogs history. Like many other talented UGA players he was under utilized and did not get to play up to his potential. Look at Mathew Stafford. He did not even make the UGA team of the decade. Like Stafford, Moreno, and a list of others Green will hardly be mentioned in the years to come. Too many other players will overshadow these highly talented players who were victims of a bad scheme and poor coaching. Good luck in the NFL Green for it is there you will achieve stardom! Sad but true.