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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dawgs of the Decade: The Defensive Ends

Through a decade of success, there have been plenty of players who have made their mark in a Georgia uniform, and for the next two weeks, The Telegraph will be giving you the chance to vote on your picks for the Bulldogs’ All-Decade team for the 2000s. We’ll go position-by-position, and you’ll pick the winners by going to www.macon.com/decade to vote.

Our seventh ballot is for Georgia’s top defensive ends of the decade, and the nominees are:

(Note: Years as one of Georgia’s starters in parentheses. The top two vote-getters will be selected to the All-Decade team.)

Quentin Moses (2005-2006). A first-team All-SEC selection and second-team All-American in 2005, Moses was a beast off the edge helping to lead Georgia to a conference title. His 11.5 sacks that season were the sixth-most in school history. He finished his career with 25 sacks, also sixth-best in Georgia history. After beginning his career as a basketball player, Moses wrapped up his time at Georgia with 137 tackles, including 45 for a loss. He was a third-round selection in the 2007 NFL draft.

Charles Johnson (2006). Moses’ partner in crime off the edge for much of his career, Johnson may well have been the superior pass rusher. As a reserve in 2005, Johnson was fierce off the edge, notching 23 tackles, four sacks and 28 QB pressures. As a junior in 2006, he became one of the most feared pass rushers in the SEC, making 9.5 sacks, 44 tackles, 19 TFLs, 30 QB hurries and four forced fumbles. He also was the first defensive end in school history to lead the team in passes defended with 10. He was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2006 and after declaring his eligibility a year early and being drafted in the third round of the 2007 NFL draft.

Robert Geathers (2003). Part of an impressive family legacy, Geathers’ uncle, father and two brothers have all played college football, and he definitely lived up to that high standard. He was a starter for just one season, but posted 81 tackles, five sacks and 22 QB hurries in his career while also making two interceptions, including one in a win over Tennessee in 2003. He departed Georgia after his junior season and was selected in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL draft.

David Pollack (2001-2004). One of the most decorated athletes in Georgia history, Pollack was a three-time All-American, who holds the school records for sacks with 36 and was named the SEC’s player of the year in 2004. In his career, he had 58 tackles for a loss, made 283 total tackles, holds the single-season record for sacks with 14 in 2002 and his interception of South Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins in the end zone in a 13-7 win remains one of the signature plays of the decade and helped propel the Bulldogs to an SEC title. He was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Charles Grant (1999-2000). Under the Jim Donnan regime, Grant opened his career as a running back, but it was on the defensive side of the ball that he made his real mark. He finished his Georgia career with 136 tackles, 27 TFLs and 15 sacks, despite only playing two full seasons at defensive end. His 15 career sacks ranks ninth all-time at Georgia and his four-sack performance against Auburn in 2001 ranks as the second-best performance in school history. His junior season in 2001 resulted in 63 tackles and six sacks and was named to the All-SEC team. He was a first-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2002 and has gone on to a successful NFL career.

Marcus Howard (2007). Howard spent the bulk of his career as a linebacker, but his senior season, he moved to defensive end and blossomed into a star. He was named to the first-team All-SEC team after making 41 tackles and 10.5 sacks while forcing three fumbles. In Georgia’s Sugar Bowl win that season, he was named the game’s MVP after making 3.5 sacks and forcing a fumble that he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. For his career, his 12 sacks rank 15th in school history and his 10.5 sacks as a senior is the ninth-best mark at Georgia in a single season. He was taken in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL draft.

Will Thompson (2002-2005). Playing alongside Pollack and Moses, Thompson never earned a ton of spotlight at Georgia, but he was a four-year contributor at defensive end and won two SEC titles with the team. He started 37 games in his career, making 104 tackles, 14.5 sacks – good for 10th in school history – and 24.5 TFLs. In the 2003 Sugar Bowl, he made five tackles and had two sacks to help the Bulldogs to their first SEC title of the decade, but suffered a season-ending injury in the game and missed the 2003 season.

So, who gets your vote? Go to www.macon.com/decade to cast your ballot or vote in our previous categories, and be sure to pick up a copy of the December 27th issue of The Telegraph to find out the winners.

And don't forget to leave your comments here on the blog. Tell us about why you made your selection and your favorite memories of those players, and your comments could appear in our final results issue of The Telegraph.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

HMMMM... wonder who's going to finish first in this one?

Anonymous said...

I liked the fat Pollack better. Just like comedians, when they lose the weight they just aren't as good as they used to be. Plus, his twittering is annoying. The sucking up to ESPN is getting old. Twittering regarding who walks into the Butts-Mehre, really.

The Realist said...

Anon...

That's tongue-in-cheek, right? RIGHT?

Anywho... Pollack by a country mile is #1. My curiosity is #2. I'd have to go with Quentin Moses, methinks.

rbubp said...

No, it's gotta be Grant on the non-Pollack side.

Chase said...

I'd go with Marcus Howard for #2 he was very exciting to watch esp during the sugar bowl against hawaii

Ivy said...

Do you want more interesting?
Joe DeCamillis has been around a few kickers that have played a long time in the NFL Draft (Jason Elam, Morten Andersen) and he believes Nick Folk will be one of them, too.
The Cowboys cut Folk Monday after missing 10 field goal attempts this year and signed Shaun Suisham.
"He works his craft the way you're supposed to work it, so it was a difficult decision obviously," DeCamillis said. "You don't want to see anybody struggle and he was struggling. I think he even knew it. I've got the utmost respect for him, wouldn't surprise me if he started kicking well again the league. He just kind of went into a little funk and unfortunately we couldn't get him out of it. It's disappointing on my part because you hppe to do something to revive it and get him going in the right direction and it just didn't happen."
Merry Christmas!And have a good time!