- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
ORLANDO, Fla. -- In many ways, the 2012 season was historic for Georgia’s football program.
Although the Bulldogs fell just short of their goal of playing for the BCS title, they still won the SEC East for the second consecutive season, finished a season with at least 12 wins for just the third time in school history and certainly locked up their first top-10 final ranking since 2007. In addition, standouts such as Jarvis Jones and Aaron Murray etched their names atop Georgia’s record book in several season and career statistical categories.
The Bulldogs wanted to be playing in Miami for the BCS title next Monday, not Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day, but what the 2012 team accomplished ain’t half bad. It was certainly a far cry from the 6-7 result of just two seasons ago, thanks in large part to the players who occupy the top spots on this list.
Let’s review our final Georgia power rankings for the 2012 season (last ranking in parentheses):
1. Jarvis Jones (1): If Tuesday was Jones’ final game at Georgia, he finished his career in style. Along with eight tackles, he got the two sacks and two tackles for a loss necessary to set single-season program records. He finished the season with 14.5 sacks and 24.5 TFLs, which should leave him as the FBS leader in both categories when bowl season ends.
2. Aaron Murray (3): Murray set multiple program and Capital One Bowl records by passing for 427 yards and five touchdowns and hitting Chris Conley for an 87-yard score. The junior also set new UGA season standards for touchdown passes (36, breaking his own record from last season), total offense (3,825 yards), passing yards (3,893) and touchdown responsibility (39).
3. Alec Ogletree (2): The final play of Ogletree’s college career was a fourth-down sack to end Nebraska’s final drive. The junior linebacker, who declared for the NFL draft after the game, totaled a game-high 13 tackles, three TFLs, a sack and forced a key fumble that he also recovered. He finished the season with 111 tackles in 10 games.
4. Todd Gurley (4): Gurley rushed 23 times for 125 yards against Nebraska, including a 24-yard touchdown run on a direct snap. It was his ninth 100-yard game of the season. He finished the season with 1,385 rushing yards (sixth in UGA history and second most by a freshman) and 17 rushing touchdowns (tied for third).
5. Tavarres King (5): King helped get Georgia’s offense rolling with a 75-yard touchdown catch late in the first quarter -- the third-longest touchdown catch in Capital One Bowl history. The senior finished with three catches for 104 yards, giving him 950 receiving yards this season (fourth-most in UGA history) and nine touchdown catches (tied for second). He also ended his career fourth in career receiving yards (2,602) and third in touchdown catches (21).
6. Shawn Williams (9): Georgia’s defense didn’t live up to its preseason billing, but Williams certainly seemed to try to will his team to that level of performance throughout. The aggressive senior safety often seemed to tiptoe along the lines of legal and illegal play, adding a nasty streak that a sometimes lethargic defense needed. Williams totaled 11 tackles in his final college game, blocked a first-quarter punt that led to a safety and finished the season ranked second on the team in tackles with 98.
7. Bacarri Rambo (7): Rambo notched six tackles against Nebraska and finished his senior season with 73 tackles and three interceptions in 10 games. His tackle total was actually greater than what he posted in 2011, when he was a first-team All-American. But he fell well short of the eight interceptions from last season that made him such a weapon in pass defense.
8. Malcolm Mitchell (6): Mitchell left the Nebraska game in the first quarter after absorbing a big hit while returning a kickoff. One of the Bulldogs’ most dynamic playmakers on offense, Mitchell finished his sophomore season with 40 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns.
9. Damian Swann (NR): The sophomore wrapped a solid first season as a starter by recording six tackles and two interceptions against Nebraska. That gave him four picks for the season, which led the team. He will be one of the few experienced players on Georgia’s defense when the Bulldogs open the 2013 season at Clemson.
10. John Jenkins (8): Jenkins was academically ineligible for the bowl game, missing out on a chance to play one final game in a Bulldogs uniform. The senior nose guard finished the season with 50 tackles, second among Georgia’s defensive linemen. Like Jones (should he declare for the draft) and Ogletree, ESPN’s draft experts still project Jenkins as a first-round NFL pick.
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