If A.J. Green is indeed gone to the NFL, as two sources close to the Georgia program have told Zach Klein of Channel 2 Action News, he’ll leave a hollow legacy at Georgia. He’s the best-ever Bulldog receiver, and his surpassing has taken Georgia, in chronological order, to the Capital One Bowl, the Independence Bowl and the Liberty Bowl.
Part of this can blamed on circumstance: Green worked with three different starting quarterbacks in his three seasons. Part can be blamed on Green himself: At a time when his team needed him most, he got himself suspended for the silly sin of selling his jersey from a nondescript bowl for $1,000. On cue, the 2010 Bulldogs lost three of the four games he missed, thereby relegating them to yet another nondescript bowl.
There can be no complaints about Green the player. He made big plays, spectacular plays, winning plays. Had he arrived at the beginning of the decade and not its end, he might have been the difference between Georgia coming close to playing for a national championship and actually seizing one. But his first season was 2008, which was the beginning of the slide that has seen the Bulldogs go from 11-2 in 2007 to 6-6 now. He was the right man at the wrong time.
He’ll be a great pro. Of this there’s no doubt. Mel Kiper of ESPN lists him third on his latest Big Board, behind only Andrew Luck of Stanford and Da’Quan Bowers of Clemson. If there’s a difference between Green and Tech’s Calvin Johnson as collegians, it can be measured in Angstrom units. But the great Johnson at least helped lift Tech to an ACC title game in 2006. For all Green’s excellence, Georgia got worse over his time in Athens. Which doesn’t seem fair. But sometimes life just isn’t.
Twitter update: A.J. Green — he’s @ajgreen_uga8 — says he’s not going pro. Or at least not yet.
Tweet at 12:19 a.m. Thursday: “Idk where these ppl got that I’m going pro..this is def not true.”
Tweet at 12:34: “Haven’t even made a decision yet!”
By Mark Bradley