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.
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.
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