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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dawgs to Watch No. 20: Carlton Thomas

There are exactly 20 days left to kickoff, and I'm always a big fan of countdowns (as I previously detailed when discussing how much I enjoy Europe's "The Final Countdown"). So, each day from now until the season, we're going to profile (briefly -- 250 words or less) one player who isn't at the top of the depth chart at his position who might have a chance to help the Bulldogs this season.

Today, we'll take a look at freshman running back Carlton Thomas...

At just 5-foot-7, Carlton Thomas can be hard to spot on Georgia's practice field. As a true freshman playing the same position as star running back Knowshon Moreno, he tends to be hidden behind bigger players on the depth chart, too. But put the ball in his hands, and suddenly the speedy tailback from Frostproof, Fla. turns heads.

"He's going to be a quick back, a slasher," running back Caleb King said. "Everybody says he's small, but I don't think it matters because he's fast and quick."

With Moreno, King and two other impressive freshmen in the mix, Thomas wasn't even listed on Georgia's official preseason depth chart, but that doesn't mean he won't get some playing time.

"I could see my role being catching a few passes, return some kicks, maybe a little spot playing out of the backfield," Thomas said, "but that's probably about it for now until I learn the offense."

Head coach Mark Richt pointed to Thomas as a player who could fill a void as either a kick or punt returner, and Ahser Allen compared Thomas to former Georgia returnman Tyson Browning.

The comparison Thomas would prefer, however, is to last year's star punt returner, Mikey Henderson, who earned a reputation as a special teams phenom for two seasons at Georgia.

"I know we had Mikey Henderson last year returning punts and making a name for himself," Thomas said. "I see that and know that could be a way for me to make my name, put my name in the record books maybe, do something big for the team and myself."

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