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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dawgs of the Decade: The Fullbacks

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 to vote.

Our eighth ballot is for Georgia’s top fullback of the decade, and the nominees are:

(Note: Years as Georgia’s starter in parentheses.)

Verron Haynes (2001). Haynes only big season at Georgia came in Mark Richt’s first year when he worked primarily at fullback but saw plenty of action as a runner. Always a strong blocker, Haynes showed his athleticism by leading the team with 121 carries and 691 yards rushing. He scored nine times that season and finished the year by racking up 521 yards in his last three games. His 207 yards rushing against Georgia Tech to cap the regular season helped the Bulldogs to their first win over their in-state rivals in three seasons and remain the high-water mark for a single game since Richt became coach. He was taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft and currently plays for the Atlanta Falcons.

Brannan Southerland (2005-2007). A four-year contributor, Southerland was the prototypical fullback and earned his stripes as a freshman on Georgia’s 2005 SEC championship team, scoring three touchdowns. A year later, he was thrust into the role of Georgia’s primary short-yardage runner as the Bulldogs struggled to find consistency on offense. Southerland was the first fullback to lead the Bulldogs in scoring in 49 years, tallying 10 touchdowns on the year. As a junior, his role as a runner decreased but he still scored six touchdowns and helped lead the way for Knowshon Moreno to total 1,334 yards – the most at Georgia in 15 years. An offseason foot injury cost him much of his senior season, but Southerland wrapped up his career with 460 total yards and 22 touchdowns.

Shaun Chapas (2008-present). Chapas got a taste of action as a freshman in 2007 totaling 63 yards as an understudy for Southerland. As a sophomore in 2008, however, Chapas role increased dramatically and he proved he was up to the challenge. He started all 13 games for the Bulldogs and paved the way for Knowshon Moreno to rack up 1,400 yards on the ground despite a patchwork offensive line in front of him. But it wasn’t just as a blocker that Chapas excelled. He showed he was a versatile player, handling rushing duties in several short-yardage situations and catching nine passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. As a junior in 2009, he again was the Bulldogs’ primary fullback and added eight more receptions and another touchdown to his career tally.

So, who gets your vote? Go to 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.


Anonymous said...

Love it. Under Mark Richt, fullback has become a position that I'm really proud of. We've had some great ones, and it seems like we're always plugging in a new tough guy to steamroll a lane for the tailbacks.

But, where's J.T. Wall? I have no idea what his numbers were, but he was a monster and he cleared the way for Musa Smith during the 2002 SEC Championship.

WaldenDawg said...

I agree with Anonymous JT should have at least made the list. Prolly would have gotten my vote.

David Hale said...

You guys may be right. I tried to limit each ballot to three players (at least for the positions that would have just one winner) and the numbers suggested the three I chose. But having not watched Wall a lot in person, you may well be correct that I should have included him.

Harvey said...

These three are great, but give some love to my boy, J.T. Wallbanger!!!

jferg said...

JT was a was Southerland. They both were like wrecking balls blowing up defenders.

Verron was more a hybrid (remember we was our tailback for nearly an entire year). So, he wasn't really the prototypical fullback but had his niche no doubt.

1. Southerland
1.5 JT
2. Verron

Funny story about Verron. He was in one of my business classes and the Monday after "the catch" the entire class gave him a standing ovation when he walked in! It was a great moment!

James said...

Not piling on for the sake of piling on, but J.T. Wall was the first name that came to mind when I saw that we were voting on fullbacks today.

Paul said...

Dave, this is a great test and it would have been even more difficult if Wall had been included. I voted for Verron simply because of P-44 Haynes.

I'd argue he made the switch to tailback after mid-season, but he's legendary if only for that play.

Funny, but that particular drive also determined my tight end vote. Without exceptional catches on back-to-back plays by Randy M, we're in no position to win that game - and I think that game was one of the defining games of the Richt Era.

All three of these players and JT Wall are deserving of the honor.

But, I'd have to agree that if JT were on the list, I'd have very likely voted for him and his 2 TDs vs GT - the last in front of his dad in the west endzone. (Was that 51-7?)

Anonymous said...

You are correct Paul, that was 51-7. JT Wall was an absolute brick hithouse. That second touchdown of his helped to dismantle Georgia Tech football, as the entire program rode him into the endzone. A limp, flaccid, yellow attempt to tackle him. He also had a badass screen pass and run in the SEC Champ game against Arky that's worth looking at again.

Who was the guy after him? A transfer from Air Force? Can't remember his name. He wasn't bad either.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:54, you're thinking of Jeremy Thomas, who was also awesome. I swear, from JT Wall on down to present day, the guys are almost interchangeable. They even LOOK the same.

JasonC said...

I know Sutherland was injured, but I figured he would have tallied more TOTAL yards. He also caught some balls.