For the second time this fall, Georgia’s football team lost a key wide receiver to a season-ending knee injury.
Marlon Brown will undergo surgery and miss the remainder of his senior season as a result of a left ACL injury suffered during Saturday’s victory over Ole Miss, Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday.
“His career at Georgia will be over, or is over,” Richt said. “… We’re very sad and sorry it happened for Marlon – and for Georgia, too.”
Nine games into the season, Brown is tied with Tavarres King for the team lead in receptions (career-high 27) and is second on the team to King in receiving yards (career-high 469). Brown finishes his UGA career with 55 catches for 851 yards and eight touchdowns (four this season).
His injury came one month after fellow receiver Michael Bennett sustained a season-ending ACL tear in his right knee at practice. Bennett led the team in catches and receiving yards at the time of his injury.
Unlike Bennett, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, Brown was in his fourth and final season. But Richt predicted a full recovery and an NFL future for the 6-foot-5, 222-pound Brown, who came to UGA from Memphis as a highly touted recruit in 2009.
“That is an injury people recover from well,” Richt said, “and we know he’ll continue on (to) his pro career, because I think he was well on his way to having that happen for him.
“He will do fine. It’s just a hard thing to swallow right now.”
In Georgia’s 37-10 win over Ole Miss, Brown had three catches for a team-high 113 yards, including a memorable 66-yard touchdown on a second-quarter trick play.
The injury occurred in the third quarter as Brown was tackled following a 30-yard reception. Richt indicated after the game that the tackle did not strike him as a dirty play. He didn’t elaborate on that Sunday.
“I didn’t really study that (on film),” he said. “… We didn’t just sit there and labor over that.”
Before the injuries to Bennett and Brown, wide receiver was perhaps Georgia’s deepest position. The team’s top remaining receivers are King and Malcolm Mitchell, and Richt said more opportunities will come for Rantavious Wooten, Chris Conley, Rhett McGowan and Justin Scott-Wesley.
“We still have some playmakers,” Richt said. “… But Marlon and Michael were just two outstanding football players . … And they actually had a nice physicality to them them (at) that position. We’ll miss that. Other guys are just going to have to step up and get after it.”
Meanwhile, the status of another starting offensive player injured against Ole Miss is unclear for Georgia’s game at Auburn on Saturday. Right guard Chris Burnette suffered what UGA described as a left shoulder contusion in the second quarter against the Rebels and did not return to the game. His status is day-to-day, Richt said Sunday.
– Tim Tucker