Georgia Bulldogs: Cornelius Washington

Continuing our run-up to Georgia's spring practice, this week we'll look back at the Bulldogs' five best recruiting classes of the last decade.

Today, we'll look at No. 5: The 2008 class that produced a couple of All-Americans and perhaps the greatest wide receiver in school history.

[+] EnlargeA.J. Green
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesA.J. Green had a stellar career at Georgia.
The stars: A.J. Green seemed destined for greatness even before he became a Bulldog -- and he lived up to that advance billing as soon as he arrived on campus. In three seasons, Green accumulated 2,619 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns (totals that rank third and second, respectively, in school history) before becoming a Pro Bowl receiver with the Cincinnati Bengals. Center Ben Jones and safety Bacarri Rambo also earned All-America honors from at least one group during their careers, and cornerback/return man Brandon Boykin won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile player as a senior in 2011.

The contributors: Several players from this class made a major impact at Georgia. In addition to the previously mentioned players, offensive lineman Cordy Glenn, kicker Blair Walsh, receiver Tavarres King, cornerback Sanders Commings and defensive linemen DeAngelo Tyson and Cornelius Washington all performed well enough to become NFL draft picks. Walsh slumped as a senior, but had two of the best seasons by a UGA place-kicker during his sophomore and junior seasons. King didn't generate the attention that Green did, but his career totals of 2,602 receiving yards and 21 touchdown catches are fourth and third in school history.

The letdowns: About half of this class failed to contribute much of anything. Running back/linebacker Richard Samuel played a minor role for most of his career although he was the No. 35 overall prospect on the ESPN 150. For a variety of reasons, several members of the class either never enrolled at Georgia (Xavier Avery, Toby Jackson), transferred (A.J. Harmon, Marcus Dowtin, Dontavius Jackson, Makiri Pugh, Nick Williams) or struggled with health issues (Bryce Ros, Jonathan Owens) that prevented them from completing their careers in Athens.

The results: The talent in this class was impressive -- 11 players from the group made it onto an NFL roster -- but there were enough flameouts that we won't rank it higher on the list. Nonetheless, many of these players helped the Bulldogs win back-to-back SEC East titles as upperclassmen after a disappointing 6-7 result in 2010. With Green, who looks like a potential Hall of Famer at this point, headlining the group, Georgia's 2008 class definitely belongs on our list.

UGA OLB to watch: James DeLoach

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
7:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- James DeLoach wasn’t the highest-rated player in Georgia’s 2012 signing class.

Heck, he wasn’t even the highest-rated player from tiny Jenkins County High School (enrollment of approximately 400) to sign with the Bulldogs that year. That honor went to defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor, who was ESPN’s No. 53 overall prospect. But DeLoach is on the verge of making an impact alongside the more heralded members of his crop of recruits.

[+] EnlargeJames DeLoach
Radi Nabulsi/ESPNRising sophomore James DeLoach will be expected to make more of an impact after a couple of cameo appearances as a freshman.
DeLoach played sparingly last fall as a freshman, but has an opportunity to become a starting outside linebacker this season. If DeLoach’s progress from a strong spring continues, he’ll prove that even if he didn’t receive as much attention as some of his fellow 2012 signees -- particularly one from his own Class A high school -- he was far from being just a throw-in to secure Taylor’s signature.

2012 review: DeLoach drew consistent praise from defensive coordinator Todd Grantham starting in preseason camp, but the freshman barely made an impact on scrimmage downs. He played in 13 games and totaled just four tackles and two quarterback pressures in limited work.

2013 preview: With veteran pass rushers Jarvis Jones and Cornelius Washington out of the picture, DeLoach stands to figure more heavily in Grantham’s plans this fall. DeLoach was the starting strongside linebacker in the base 3-4 package during spring drills and will battle for that honor this fall.

Spring prospectus: By all accounts, it was a productive spring for DeLoach. With Chase Vasser still sidelined by his recovery from shoulder surgery, DeLoach got a long look at SAM linebacker and finished second on the starting defense with six tackles and a sack in the G-Day game. He’ll have to compete with Vasser and others once the team returns to the practice field in August, but DeLoach seemed to help his cause this spring.

Career potential: Georgia had no idea what it had on its hands when DeLoach signed with the Bulldogs, only that he had a future as a defensive player. He had played multiple positions on either side of the ball in high school and Georgia’s coaches thought he could become a defensive end, inside linebacker or outside linebacker depending on how his body filled out over time. DeLoach has found a home at SAM, although at his listed weight of 270 pounds, he can always slide down to end in certain situations. That versatility is going to make him a valuable player for Georgia over at least the next two seasons.

Post-spring position review: DL 

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
7:00
AM ET
Editor’s note: Last week we started reviewing each of Georgia’s position groups at the end of spring practice. We took a look at the offense last week. Today we begin examining the defense, starting with the defensive line:

Returning players/stats: Garrison Smith, Sr. (Eight starts in 2012. 57 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack); Ray Drew, Jr. (23 tackles, 1 TFL); Michael Thornton, Jr. (No tackles); Sterling Bailey, So. (One tackle); Jonathan Taylor, RFr. (Redshirted in 2012)

Newcomers: Toby Johnson, Jr. (ESPN’s No. 4 overall prospect in the 2013 junior college 100, No. 3 DT. Expected to enroll this summer); John Atkins, Fr. (Hargrave Military transfer. Enrolled in January); Chris Mayes, Jr. (No. 87 in 2013 junior college 100, No. 14 DT. Enrolled in January); DeAndre Johnson, Fr. (No. 84 DT. Expected to enroll this summer)

UGA week in review: Scrimmaging again 

March, 30, 2013
3/30/13
7:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- With G-Day just one week away, Georgia’s football team will return to Sanford Stadium this morning for its second spring scrimmage.

[+] EnlargeRay Drew
Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsRay Drew and the defense dominated Georgia's first scrimmage, though QB Aaron Murray didn't play.
The Bulldogs’ regrouping defense won the day in the first scrimmage of spring practice, which they staged on Tuesday in extremely windy conditions -- and without starting quarterback Aaron Murray in attendance.

The state of the defense continues to be the most intriguing storyline this spring. We took a closer look at two position groups, the defensive line under new position coach Chris Wilson and the inside linebackers, earlier this week.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ATHENS, Ga. -- Cornelius Washington realizes he is something of a walking draft-season cliché, but the former Georgia pass rusher seems OK with that notion. The formerly off-the-radar prospect was simply hoping for an opportunity to impress scouts -- and once that opportunity arrived, Washington was able to capitalize.

He didn’t generate much NFL buzz with a quiet senior season (22 tackles, three tackles for a loss, half a sack), but Washington has turned heads across the league with a series of impressive performances in pre-draft workouts.

“I was kind of at the bottom,” Washington said. “Between the Senior Bowl and the combine and what I’ve been able to do [last week at Georgia’s pro day], my stock I feel like is rising and I’m very proud of that.”

(Read full post)

UGA pro day notes: Chasing history 

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
10:09
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- After 17 of his former players worked out in front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams on Thursday, Georgia coach Mark Richt expressed his opinion that this crop of ex-Bulldogs might set a new program record for the most players picked in one draft.

“I thought they looked great,” Richt said. “I don’t know what kind of times guys ran and all that kind of thing, but if you just look at their body types, how hard they’ve worked and just watched them do the drillwork and how smooth they looked, you could tell there’s going to be a bunch of Bulldogs out of this class make it in the league, and we’re excited about that for them.”

[+] EnlargeMark Richt
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesMark Richt expects at least eight Bulldogs to be drafted off of Georgia's SEC East-winning roster.
Richt’s 2002 draft class holds the program record with eight selections, but it’s highly possible the Bulldogs will have at least that many players selected in next month’s draft. Six players -- linebackers Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones, defensive lineman John Jenkins, safeties Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo and receiver Tavarres King -- all rank among ESPN Scouts Inc.’s top 115 prospects. Others like defensive lineman Kwame Geathers, defensive back Sanders Commings and defensive end Cornelius Washington all stand a good chance of getting drafted, as well, with an additional group of Bulldogs hoping to crack the draft’s later rounds or make a squad as an undrafted free agent.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ATHENS, Ga. -- Aside from tailback Isaiah Crowell, no player in Georgia’s heralded 2011 recruiting class arrived with more hype than defensive end Ray Drew. And yet the rising junior struggled to make much of an impact in his first two seasons as a Bulldog.

But after working his way into the defensive line rotation late last season and acquitting himself well -- including an eight-tackle game against Georgia Tech, a single-game total that tied for second among Georgia’s defensive linemen last season -- Drew entered this spring with a newfound confidence that he can perform at the college level.

“The more you play, the more comfortable you get,” Drew said. “And then after I had my game against Georgia Tech where I think I had about eight or nine tackles there, I guess it kind of just freed me and it was kind of like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ ”

(Read full post)

SEC's DLs, LBs strong at combine

February, 21, 2013
2/21/13
11:46
AM ET

Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Today: Defensive linemen and linebackers.

Georgia Bulldogs


Georgia’s time to shine in Indianapolis will arrive Monday, when the defensive linemen and linebackers take the field for their combine workouts. The Bulldogs will have six players on the field, including a trio -- John Jenkins, Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree -- who have a strong chance to become first-round draft picks in April.
  • NG Kwame Geathers (Position rank: No. 14)
    Strengths: Geathers’ greatest strength as a pro prospect is his size (6-foot-6, 355 pounds), which will likely convince an NFL team to draft him earlier than his college production might indicate. There is always a place in the league for oversized defensive linemen who can occupy multiple blockers, and Geathers certainly has the pedigree to become a longtime NFL performer, with several family members having played in the league.
    Weaknesses: Of the draft-eligible juniors who opted to leave Georgia early, perhaps Geathers’ decision was the most questionable. He has never been a regular starter and was an inconsistent performer for much of his career. A team will likely draft him based on potential, but he still has a lot to work on before he becomes an NFL regular.
    Comparison: Kade Weston. Much like Geathers, Weston was a massive interior lineman at Georgia several years back. The New England Patriots drafted him in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, but injuries kept him from playing for the team. He spent last season with the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL.

(Read full post)

Bulldogs well represented at Senior Bowl 

January, 25, 2013
1/25/13
7:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- No school is better represented this week at the Senior Bowl than Georgia, which sent six players to Mobile, Ala., to participate in college football’s premier postseason all-star game Saturday.

In addition to serving as a high-profile job interview for an assortment of NFL scouts, general managers, coaches and other personnel reps, this week’s Senior Bowl practices are also a mini-reunion for the six Bulldogs in Mobile who scattered throughout the country to prepare for the draft.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Rising stars: Five to watch on D 

January, 11, 2013
1/11/13
9:59
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Richt said Thursday that he wants his up-and-coming defensive players to ask themselves, “Am I going to be good enough to help this team win a championship?” as they work toward playing bigger roles in 2013.

There’s no question that if the Bulldogs return to the SEC championship game for a third consecutive year, those defensive players will have made enormous strides to get them there. They return every key offensive player except receivers Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, but lose 12 important defenders.

So let’s take a quick look at five key players who will lead the rebuilding effort for Georgia’s defense this fall -- and then three more to watch for good measure.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Bulldogs plan to remain among elite 

January, 11, 2013
1/11/13
7:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- As Mark Richt turns the page from one season to the next, Georgia’s coach insists that his expectations will not change this fall.

The Bulldogs lose 12 key defensive players from a team that finished fifth in the final Associated Press poll and fourth in the USA Today Coaches Poll -- the third-best finish for a Richt-coached Georgia team in both polls -- but Richt said he still expects his team to rank among the national elite.

“We plan on being that. We hope to be that. We’ve got to earn that,” Richt said Thursday afternoon on his season-wrapup teleconference.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ATHENS, Ga. -- This won’t be the most crucial offseason of Todd Grantham’s relatively brief time at Georgia -- that honor goes to 2010, when he started installing his 3-4 scheme shortly after joining Mark Richt’s staff in January -- but it might be the one with the most roster uncertainty.

The Bulldogs will lose 11 key players off its 2012 defense, and that number could grow to 12 if junior nose guard Kwame Geathers declares for the NFL draft, so spring practice will feature major competition within every defensive position group.

“I kind of put them up on the board the other day and we’ve got some talented guys. It’s just a matter of developing them and working them and filtering it,” Grantham said. “Our depth is going to be better than it’s been the last couple of years, but it’s going to be young. So there’s a little bit at every spot.”

(Read full post)

Dawgs Snapshot 2013: John Atkins 

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
8:30
AM ET
To gear up for 2013 national signing day, DawgNation's Radi Nabulsi is breaking down every commitment in the Bulldogs' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Defensive end John Atkins, Thomson, Ga./Hargrave Military | 6-foot-3, 321 pounds

Committed: September 2, 2011

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

About Them Dawgs: Christian Robinson

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
7:00
AM ET
Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at linebacker Christian Robinson.

No. 45 Christian Robinson
Senior/Inside linebacker
44 tackles, 6.5 TFL

Role in 2012: Robinson mostly contributed in third-down situations -- although he played a much greater role in defending the option offenses of Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech at the end of the season.

The good: The senior mostly had a quiet season until the final two weeks against Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. He tallied half of his season total for tackles (44) in those two games alone -- 13 against Georgia Tech and nine against Georgia Southern -- and four tackles for a loss. Otherwise, he typically played on third downs while Amarlo Herrera and Michael Gilliard alternated alongside Alec Ogletree on first and second downs.

The bad: Robinson is the first to admit that he isn’t Georgia’s most physically gifted linebacker -- and that was a key reason why he lost playing time to Herrera and Gilliard after opening 2011 as a starter -- instead having to rely on smarts and preparation to get his job done. There were times where opponents exploited that shortcoming with quicker receivers or backs, but by and large he played his role effectively.

Crystal ball: Although he plans to eventually become a football coach just like his father, Robinson hasn’t given up on the idea of playing professional football. He was invited to participate in a postseason all-star game -- the Raycom Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. -- along with teammates Gilliard, Cornelius Washington and Abry Jones. One way or another, he has a promising future in the sport, whether it’s on the field or on the sidelines coaching.

Position scouting report: Defensive end 

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
7:00
AM ET
Editor’s note: Over the next several weeks, we’ll take a look at each position on Georgia’s depth chart today and projecting how it might look in the future. Today we examine Georgia’s defensive ends:

Current two-deep depth chart:
Garrison Smith (Jr.), John Jenkins (Sr.)
Cornelius Washington (Sr.), Ray Drew (So.)

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Georgia's attention is on the Buccaneers
The Georgia Bulldogs take on Charleston Southern Saturday at noon on the SEC Network.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 11/22