Friday, July 12, 2013
Who are Georgia's next all-time greats
By David Ching
ATHENS, Ga. -- Throughout the week, we have highlighted some of the top players in Georgia history with our DawgNation all-time draft series.
Included among our draft picks were former Bulldogs such as Jarvis Jones, Brandon Boykin, Drew Butler, Ben Jones and A.J. Green who played for Georgia within the last couple of seasons. Along those lines, let’s take a look at four active Bulldogs who might someday rank among the program’s best at their respective positions.
Todd Gurley and Aaron Murray can add to their eye-popping numbers.
Quarterback Aaron Murray: Murray is the closest to making the all-timer list, having already set a handful of program and SEC passing records. He’s the only quarterback in SEC history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in three different seasons. By the end of this season, Murray could conceivably hold conference records for pass attempts, completions, passing yards and touchdowns. The one knock against him is that Georgia hasn’t won a conference title with Murray directing the offense. If he remedies that issue this season, Murray will undoubtedly rank among Georgia’s best quarterbacks of any era.
Tailback Todd Gurley: Only one true freshman running back enjoyed a better debut year at Georgia than Gurley: Herschel Walker in the 1980 national championship season. To be mentioned in that class, obviously Gurley is doing something right. There is plenty of competition to rank among Georgia’s top tailbacks, so Gurley has to stay healthy and put up more stats like his 2012 numbers (1,385 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns). But if he keeps running like he did last fall, it’s easy to imagine Gurley ranking up there with the many star tailbacks who have emerged from the program through the years.
Outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins: The jovial outside linebacker wasn’t shy in telling Jones of his plans to break the UGA sack record that Jones set just last season. Now it’s time to deliver on his promises. Jenkins had a strong freshman season last fall, ranking second on the team with five sacks and 23 quarterback pressures. With Jones now in the NFL, Jenkins is Georgia’s go-to pass rusher, and the Bulldogs need him to take a big step forward from a consistency standpoint. Outside observers have taken notice of Jenkins’ potential, however, as ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Jenkins among the best defensive underclassmen in college football last fall and wrote that fans should “Get to know him now because he'll be a huge name next year -- and he'll only be a sophomore.”
Offensive tackle John Theus: Bulldogs coach Mark Richt happily placed enormous expectations on Theus’ shoulders when the big offensive lineman signed with Georgia last year, saying Theus possesses the same football potential as former UGA first-round NFL picks Matthew Stafford and A.J. Green. Theus started all 14 games last fall at right tackle, making a number of Freshman All-America and Freshman All-SEC lists. Theus hasn’t become a dominant player yet -- in fact, after foot surgery kept him out for a portion of spring practice, he isn’t even listed as a starter on Georgia’s summer depth chart -- but he has plenty of time to place himself among Georgia’s top players at his position.