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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dawgs of the Decade: The Punters

As we wind down the 2000s, Georgia fans may not be thrilled with how the decade ended, but the Bulldogs have had plenty to celebrate during the past 10 years. Georgia has been to three BCS bowl games, won the SEC East three times, earned its first two SEC championships since 1982, had 10 All-Americans, dozens of All-SEC selections, finished in the top 10 in the polls six times, and won at least eight games in every season with a chance to add to that legacy this year.

Through all that 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. We’ll go position-by-position, and you’ll pick the winners by going to to vote.

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

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

Jonathan Kilgo (1999-2002). Although Kilgo’s first season didn’t come in this decade, the majority of his career was spent booting long bombs in the 2000s. In 2001, Mark Richt’s first year with the Bulldogs, Kilgo had 10 punts of 50 yards or more. He improved that mark by one a year later. As a senior in 2002, Kilgo averaged 42.3 yards per punt, including a career best of 66 yards, landing 12 punts inside the 20-yard line, helping Georgia to its first SEC championship in 20 years.

Gordon Ely-Kelso (2003-2006). A four-year starter, Ely-Kelso was among the best punters in the SEC throughout his career. He holds the school record for punts (227) and punting yardage (9,140). Ely-Kelso earned second-team All-SEC honors in 2005 on a team that won an SEC championship and had a career-high 66 punts on the 2003 team that won the Eastern Division. He finished his career with an average of 40.3 yards per punt and even handled kicker duties during a two-game stretch in 2006.

Brian Mimbs (2007-08). A key contributor to Georgia’s Sugar Bowl team in 2007, Mimbs finished his career second in school history with a punting average of 43.1. Known for his consistency, Mimbs had a few high points, too, including a 77-yard punt against South Carolina in 2008. He finished 12th nationally in punting average that year and earned second-team All-SEC honors. His seven punts against Vanderbilt in 2007 were key in a victory that turned around the Bulldogs’ season, and he averaged 48.3 yards per punt in the Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii to end the year.

Drew Butler (2009). Not a year has passed this decade in which Georgia hasn’t had a consistent option at punter, but the Bulldogs may have saved the best for last. Butler, the son of legendary Georgia kicker Kevin Butler, earned All-America honors as a sophomore after leading the nation with a 48.8 yards per punt average – more than three yards per punt better than the No. 2 finisher. He was a vital cog in keeping the Bulldogs competitive despite an offense that struggled through much of the season.

So, who gets your vote? Go to to cast your ballot 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.


Dawg '85 said...

Great topic DH... it will be fun looking over these lists the next few weeks.

I was interested to hear this morning that S.I's Peter King released his NFL All Decade team with Champ Bailey and Hines Ward both listed... that's a pretty strong showing for Dawgs playing at the next level.

I hope the program will be on the rise for the next 10 yrs.

Kevin B. (class of '85) said...

Those are all great players, but this one is a no-brainer. Drew Butler is easily the greatest punter ever in this history of our universe.

Anonymous said...

Man, Jonathan Kilgo and Gordon Ely-Kelso. Haven't thought about THOSE names in awhile. Georgia's been blessed for a long time to have great punters, and it's something that we kinda take for granted. I'm tempted to vote for Kilgo or Ely-Kelso because they brought championships to Georgia, but I think I'm casting my vote for Butler. He's an All-American, and leads the nation. And I can honestly say, even though punting means the team's just failed, I actually got excited about seeing his punts this year. Watching those beautiful spiraling drives was a nice consolation prize after missing out on yet another scoring drive this year. Hopefully we'll have to stick to seeing more of him in warmups than on the field next year.

jferg said...

What are their "Net Punting" averages? I would submit that while Butler can boom it with the best of them, 3 yards shorter but 2 more seconds of hang-time could be more effective in coverage. Not to mention how many times CMR used our punters' deft touch to pin opponents down deep earlier in the 2000's.

Universal Remonster said...

My vote goes to Wynn Kopp.

aladawgy said...

I got a good laugh when Brian Mimbs did this in the Sugar Bowl. GATA DAWG!