Has NFL-caliber talent underperformed at UGA?

UGA certainly didn't get the championships it expected out of Matthew Stafford's time in Athens. (Associated Press)

UGA certainly didn't get the championships it expected out of Matthew Stafford's time in Athens. (Associated Press)

In anticipation of Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft, Rivals.com came up with a Top 10 for total draft picks since 2000 and UGA placed fourth with 61 behind Ohio State (73), Southern Cal (69) and Miami (67) and just ahead of Tennessee, which had 60.

The rest of the Top 10 was rounded out by Florida and FSU (both with 59), LSU (55), Virginia Tech (52) and Michigan and Oklahoma (both with 49).

When it came to having the most first-round picks, the Dogs were ninth, with 11, including the No. 1 overall pick in 2009 with Matthew Stafford. UGA trailed Miami (26), Ohio State (16), Southern Cal (15), FSU and Texas (14), and Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee (12). Penn State followed Georgia with 10.

As a Georgia fan, there are two ways of looking at this.

On the one hand, Georgia’s consistent status as a producer of NFL players no doubt was a factor in Mark Richt landing this year’s Dream Team, and is likely to continue drawing talent to Athens.

But while the Dogs won two SEC championships during the period this listing covers, and finished as high as No. 2 in the country, the most recent conference title was in 2005 and the Dogs brought home no BCS championship.

So you could argue that all that NFL-caliber talent underperformed while at UGA. That argument would be particularly on the mark for the Stafford-Knowshon Moreno era.

Richt got the Dream Team to Athens. But now he’s got to show he can do more with that talent than simply produce future pro players.

Johnathan Taylor (University of Georgia)

Johnathan Taylor (University of Georgia)

JT AT THE TED!

It was fantastic seeing the big smile on the face of Johnathan Taylor in the dugout with the Diamond Dogs Tuesday night as they beat Georgia Tech 6-4 before a crowd of 18,156 at Turner Field in the Spring Baseball Classic for Kids.

It was JT’s first time being reunited with the full team since breaking his neck in a game against Florida State in early March, and it no doubt helped spur the Dogs on to the win over the No. 9-ranked Jackets.

Go JT! Go Dogs!

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

231 comments Add your comment

1eyedJack

April 27th, 2011
11:08 am

Jacks are better to open.

true tech

April 27th, 2011
11:12 am

Glad to see JT last night. Praying for his recovery.

chiefdawg

April 27th, 2011
11:13 am

Moreno’s talent was wasted. Stafford used UGA to get to the pros. He didn’t care anything about UGA.

Ohio-on-the-Gulf Dog

April 27th, 2011
11:14 am

Of the eight teams in the top 10 in both number of draftees and number of first round picks, only Georgia, Tennessee, and FSU failed to win a national championship between 2000 and 2010.

Tennessee won an NC in 1998 and FSU got one in 1999.

The answer to the question presented, “Has NFL-caliber talent underperformed at UGA?” seems to be, sadly, yes.

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
11:15 am

go back 20-25 years and look at UGA football.

There has been no underachieving the last 10 years because the bar got raised.

We had not won anything since 1982.

1990-2000 no SEC titles. 78 wins.
2001-2010 Two SEc titles. 96 wins.

The bar has been raised by richt. He iks a victim of his own success and it is hard to stay more than 7 or 8 years at any one school nowadays. Folks are way too fickle. Too much information available on the internet.

D A DoubleU G

April 27th, 2011
11:15 am

How did that Charlie Sheen pep talk work out for the nerds???

Answer: In a LOSS to UGA!!!

Paul H

April 27th, 2011
11:16 am

AJ didn’t underperform but his teams did.

The Stafford/Moreno era peaked against Hawaii when it should’ve peaked the following year.

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
11:18 am

If Richt doesn’t survive after 2011, he can blame it on one of his good character traits-LOYALTY. He should have done everything he could do to get Van Gorder to stay in Athens. Those teams had the same offensive characteristics as today’s team but the defense the past 6 years has gotten progressively worse.

If Grantham can do something about that, richt survives.

sogadog

April 27th, 2011
11:19 am

Football: Yes, the NFL talent at UGA has underperformed. The down side to recruiting NFL caliber players is that they are more concerned about how much money they are going to make in the NFL than winning a championship for their school. A prime example is Stafford who could have stayed his senior year and competed for a championship but chose to cash in. Compare Stafford to Tebow who stayed his senior season and won championships.

Baseball: The Diamond Dawgs are a much improved team this year playing in the nation’s toughest division. (Vandy, SC and UF all in the top 5). I look forward to watching them become better.

D A DoubleU G

April 27th, 2011
11:19 am

I absolutely HATE the “what if” game, but stop for a second and imagine if NOBODY left UGA early, and played out there commitment to the Dawgs….

Unfortunately that’s just not how it works though.

And how dare anybody say we underperformed the last decade. The fact that we are even having this conversation, only shows that other teams (especially Georgia Tech) expects us to win National Titles every year, and I take that as an extreme compliment to Coach Mark Richt and the University of Georgia Football Program.

1eyedJack

April 27th, 2011
11:19 am

Has NFL-caliber talent underperformed at UGA? I would have to say no. If they got drafted then they performed up to NFL standards.

Nick

April 27th, 2011
11:26 am

Richt has top 5 most talented state. Has a top 10 recruiting class almost every year.

Yet has gone 7-5, 6-6 last 2 seasons.

Richt doesn’t play playmakers early enough (Stafford, Moreno, Murray, Tavarres King).

Richt doesn’t get playmakers enough touches:
Charles, Ealey, King, Boykin, Smith…

Steve Superior

April 27th, 2011
11:27 am

You are what your record says you are. 6 – 7 and off from a 10 – 6 bowl loss to mickey mouse U.

Nick

April 27th, 2011
11:28 am

The last 2 teams have both underachieved, largely due to poor QB play.

Nick

April 27th, 2011
11:29 am

Gotta beat SEC East teams to be relevant.

Damon Evans

April 27th, 2011
11:29 am

Dont toke and drive…..

Fridawg

April 27th, 2011
11:34 am

Stafford and AJ are terrible leaders. It’s a shame that we’ve had to pull out the Ol’ Dawgs (Boss Bailey, etc…) to get guys fired up in recent years. I think Reshad Jones was a huge disappointment too. Those guys really seemed to just coast through college hoping to get a payday in the NFL. Moreno had fire, but nobody seemed to follow.

JDawg1785

April 27th, 2011
11:36 am

NFL-caliber talent hasn’t won Georgia a national championship under CMR, so I’ll say yes. I’d rather see “Georgia’s consistent status as a producer of NFL players” replaced by its “consistent status as a contender for SEC and BCS championships” as a selling point for recruits.

Good to see JT back with the team last night! Keep praying for this young man and his family.

Will

April 27th, 2011
11:36 am

No doubt UGA can recruit talented high school football players as well as any football program in America.

I wish UGA had coaches like Mike Riley at OSU, Peterson at BSU and the head coach at TCU. These coaches cannot consistently attract four and five star recruits to their schools. The coaches can recruit good football players and teach them to be better football players. One factor as to why they can do this is that good football players want to be better football players.

Four and five star recruits already believe they are great football players who don’t necessarily need to be taught to improve. Some don’t believe they need to do anything other than to spin their wheels until they are eligible to play in the NFL.

NCDawg

April 27th, 2011
11:41 am

Ohio-on-the-Gulf Dog good point.

I expect a change this year – for the better. It’s not personnel, it’s coaching. Richt won his first few years, and then he decided, by his own admission, to follow in Bowden’s footstep to be a CEO of football. This is not the right path for Richt. McGarrity’s first action was to re-focus Richt onto football and off of CEO issues. Since then, recruiting improved, off-season problems have dropped, and competion for positions has increased. And if things don’t change for the better, well, there will still be a change.

Also, Nick Saban’s 3-4 defense at Alabama struggle the first year until he had the personnel in place. In year 2, he went 12-0 in reg. season, In year 3, he won a national championship. Looking forward to year 2 of Grantham’s defense.

Columbus Dawg

April 27th, 2011
11:42 am

1eyedJack nailed it. The players who were drafted at a high level played at a high level or they would not have gone to the NFL. Georgia did not get the breaks that the 2006 Gator team, or the 2007 LSU team got in getting to the BCS games when they had the best team in the nation twice in Richt’s tenure. If anyone out there is not football smart enough, and/or willing to admit it, the Ohio State Buckeyes would not have beaten UGA in 2002, or 2007 for that matter. The 2008 team should have never been ranked #1 in the nation after it was learned that half the team was injured, but it was. Then when it did not live up to the billing, the team, and program, and Mark Richt himself was ridiculed for something that he could not do anything about.

Richt was told by McGarity that the off the field issues were going to stop imediately, or else. I know this for fact, as I was told this by two different large contributors to the UGA Atheletic Department. Now I don’t know whether McGarity told Richt and staff that they would be fired if they lost the first two or not, but who knows?

Let’s just all hope for a very quiet offseason, as I believe that is key to the 2011 season, along with some leadership from some players who have not provided leadership before.

T ogether E veryone A chieves M ore.

cantondawg

April 27th, 2011
11:44 am

Some of the comments on this board are so stupid they make my head hurt…

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
11:47 am

Will,

when riley, Peterson and Patterson play an SEC schedule and produce 11-1 and 12-0 records, I will give them some credit.

Oregon state is nothing to braga bout.
boise makes a living off of 1 game a year
Same for TCU

boise beat VT, big freaking deal. ACC Champs? Please.
TCU beat wisconsin. Please. Slow and slower.

The media darlings at ESPN have painted this rosy picture about these overrate dprograms that beat one decent team a year and then play no one.

It is funny how Jared Zabranski was a Heisman front runner and Boise was the BCS darkhorse pick until they ventured into SEC territory.

I expect the same about Kellen Moore in 2011. Then it will be “UGA caught Boise in a down year”.

Bull

Taylor

April 27th, 2011
11:47 am

If quiet off season led to National Championships, Naval Academy and Air Force would be National Champs every year.

DS

April 27th, 2011
11:47 am

yes because no matter HOW GOOD you are on offense, when the defense is bad, then it makes everyone look worse… remember how Eric Zeier lit up the field, but the D couldnt stop ANYONE??

Same thing with AJ Green, stafford, moreno…… the offense would score 40 points and still lose..
Coach Grantham fixes that??? and things turn around….

thanks though for a GREAT anti-UGA headline that the rival fans can just feast on… stupid Bill…

Gary

April 27th, 2011
11:47 am

First of all Miami and FSU have not done much their talent and consider their competition. Georgia’s biggest problem is the conference. Week to week we play potential NC teams. Some of the other schools on the list do not have that issue. Last year the Dawgs were awful, no excuses. Other years we have had tons of talent pleaged by injury. Our best team had a broken O-line a few years ago. That team healthy could run the table. Anyone who doesn’t think a little bit of luck and timing is involved is insane. Look at Auburn. They had two of footballs best players on each side of the field in 1 year. They only had it for one year. The rest of the top of the SEC was recovering from loosing tons of players. The east was a disaster. Timing and luck matter.

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
11:48 am

canton,

recommendations:

1.) Get some glasses
2.) Don’t read the blog

thanks

cantondawg

April 27th, 2011
11:48 am

Last time i check Football is a team sport. You can have an absolute great player at one position but that can be negated by having a weak player at another position. Yes, we’ve had some very good players the past few years (Houston, Jones, AJ, Owens, Atkins) buth their performances have been negated by our weaknesses in other areas. I’m not going to name the weak areas because we all know them. Our record does not mean that these players have underperformed. It only means that we had weaknesses that negated their performances.

D A DoubleU G

April 27th, 2011
11:52 am

Those attempting to make the argument: “UGA recruits top 5/top 10 classes, then what happens”….

The answer is: We win. 96 games in the past decade…. 2 conference titles, 2 BCS bowl games, and a handful of “lesser” bowl victories, and a LOT against Georgia Tech

The argument you want to make is: “How many National Titles have the gotten you the past decade?”

The facts you conveniently ignore: UGA has NEVER had the top 3rd or 4th best recruiting class in the conference. Bama, UF, LSU, Tenn… ALL consistantly have better recruiting classes than UGA…. and look who is winning the championships……

This Dawg fan does not need National Championships to justify the feeling I get when I roll into Athens on a beautiful Saturday in the fall.

GO DAWGS!!!

cantondawg

April 27th, 2011
11:52 am

Dawginlex,

Don’t worry i wasn’t talking about your comment. Actually, you made some good points..

Randall "Pink" Floyd

April 27th, 2011
11:53 am

Right chiefdawg, Stafford never cared about UGA. That’s why he was back at G-Day doing a charity event two weeks ago, why he’s constantly on the sidelines for big games, and why he’s always tweeting about the Dawgs on Twitter. You are clueless.

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
11:56 am

sorry canton, i had you pegged as a troll since there are so many masquerading as dawgs.

My bad

Jeff Paulk

April 27th, 2011
12:01 pm

Stafford didn’t care about UGA? Comically preposterous. On what basis do you make this allegation, Cheifdawg? Stafford spends more time in Athens than any former NFL player from UGA that I know. On to relevant matters: Yes, there’s an issue here. We’ve got too much talent to play as poorly as we have the last 2 or 3 years. At least for the last two years, we’ve had no semblance of a running game, and that’s a glaring problem. Until we start playing solid defense again and start running the ball regularly and with authority, we will continue to flounder. Hoping for a good 2011 for the Red Clay Hounds.

Ohio-on-the-Gulf Dog

April 27th, 2011
12:03 pm

Georgia’s success placing individual players in the NFL seems analogous to individual Braves’ success in the 60s and 70s. Hank Aaron was winning all those NL home run crowns and other Braves were always in the hunt for individual honors. But it seemed fifth place in the old NL West was about the best we could hope for.

It’s well and fine for the ‘Dogs regularly to stock the NFL with talent, but beating Florida more than now and again would be much better appreciated.

Tony Robbins

April 27th, 2011
12:04 pm

You know what UGA football needs??

Sit right there and I’ll tell you what they need!!

UGA football needs to invite community leaders and world renowned roll models such as Charlie Sheen to come spend a day with the guys and “coach em up”!!

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
12:05 pm

It’s real simple folks.

We allowed 22 ppg in 2010
We gave up 30+ points 4 times
Van Gorder gave up 30+ points ONCE IN 4 YEARS.
BVG allowed between 14 and 16 ppg from 2001-2004

Get our defense back to allowing 14-16ppg and don’t give up 30 or more EVER. We will win 10 or 11 games with the schedule we have.

continue to allow 22 ppg and give up 30+ routinely, we will go 6-6 or 7-5 and we will have new coaches in 2012

SSIgator

April 27th, 2011
12:07 pm

It all starts with the coaches and the coaching philosophy. You answered your own question Bill.

cantondawg

April 27th, 2011
12:07 pm

Chiefdawg,

You say Moreno’s talent was wasted. How so? You think he should have played as a freshman. It amazes me how people use this as a condemnation against Richt but forget the circumstances.

In 2006, Moreno’s freshman year. UGA had three very good running backs ahead of him. Kregg Lumpkin, Danny Ware and Thomas Brown. Any reasonable coach would not rush a freshman rb into the mix UNLESS absolutely necessary. All 3 of these players signed contracts for NFL teams so it wasn’t like there was no talent in front of him. In his sophomore year, Moreno split time with Thomas Brown. Guess what, Thomas Brown was a helluva player. He gained over 200 yards against Mississippi State that year. I certainly cannot blame CMR for splitting time when TB had that kind of production. In the middle of the year, TB got hurt and KM took over. For one and a half years, KM was great. He left after 3 years. Please tell me how he was underutilized when there were 3 other NFL caliber talent player there at the same time as he was..

It kills me when people spout out stuff and don’t know the circumstances behind it..

Cran

April 27th, 2011
12:08 pm

Bill,

61 NFL Draft picks.

Ranked #4 out of 120 college football programs.

You somehow twisted that into a negative article?

Unreal.

Adam

April 27th, 2011
12:08 pm

“Where’s all the talent?” Bill, I ask myself the same question every time I read one of your articles.

sldkfjslk

April 27th, 2011
12:08 pm

Blame the coaches, not the players.

Cran

April 27th, 2011
12:09 pm

Defernse finished #4 in scoring, offense #8 in SEC against ranked teams.

Defense ain’t the problem.

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
12:12 pm

Yes bill, I have to say, while I enjoy your articles, to say Moreno and Stafford underachieved is just wrong.

Stafford played as a freshman and led us out of a quagmire in 2006.
2007-we blew the SC game at home or we would have played LSU for the SEC title.
2008-they both performed admirably.

OUR DEFENSE SUCKED FROM 2006-2008.

Our problems are not that our offense is lousy, it is our defense.

your article is a negative nellie IMO

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
12:14 pm

Cran, my stats can not be disputed.

I know who you are. You are the “I hate Aaron Murray troll” who changes his blog handles and talks to himself.

I GUARANTEE YOU. If UGA gets its defense back to the levels I describe from 2001-2004, Murray will lead us to 10, 11 or 12 wins in 2011.

JDawg1785

April 27th, 2011
12:17 pm

Agreed, DawginLex. CTG has things headed in the right direction on D and that alone should take care of the anti-Murray trolls who somehow blame him for last season.

sam

April 27th, 2011
12:17 pm

For all of you UGA fans who claim the ACJ is not pro UGA – wake up. UGA takes 1 of 3 baseball games from Tech this year (barely) AND WHICH IS THE ONLY OF THE 3 GAMES THAT GETS ANY COVERAGE???

??

April 27th, 2011
12:20 pm

D A, why do you hate Tech so much man? I know you are PRO Bulldog, but come on. Every statement you make on these blogs is “we own Tech, or beat the nerds” Come on man, you should hate UF, they own you!

DawginLex

April 27th, 2011
12:21 pm

sam,

none of the baseball games got an individual blog. The results fom last night got mentioned on the junkyard blawg just like the 2 Tech wins did.

i don’t see any difference

dawgfacedboy

April 27th, 2011
12:22 pm

Whether it was the D’s fault, the O’s fault or the poor coaching, the answer is yes. Overall the team has underperformed given how much talent they have. I don’t want to hear how many games they’ve won or “they won 10 games blah blah blah”. Is the object to win 10 games or to play for the SEC title??

Making an irrelevant team relevant is admirable and deserves a pat on the back but their are probably 50 relevant teams in college football. Their are 10 teams every year that are in the mix for the NC and we aren’t one of them and should be given he amount of talent we have every year.

jw

April 27th, 2011
12:25 pm

My understanding is that Stafford really wanted to return for his Senior season but when he learned he was the likily frist pick he changed his mind. You have to be complete fool to blame him. And do you really believe that Stafford would not have won a NC if he played on a more complete team like
OK at the time. It takes a complete team effort and some luck to win the mythical national championship as the smart folks on this blog continuously point out!