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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dawgs of the Decade: The Wide Receivers

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 12th ballot is for Georgia’s top wide receivers of the decade, and the nominees are:

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

Terrence Edwards (1999-2002). The owner of virtually every receiving record at Georgia, Edwards was a beast for four seasons at both split end and flanker. He led the Bulldogs in receiving in every year of his career, culminating with a 1,004-yard senior season – the only time a Georgia player has ever eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. His 204 career receptions, 3,093 career yards, 30 TD receptions and 11 touchdown grabs in 2002 are all school records, while his 59 catches in 2002 are the second-most in a season in Georgia history. His career yardage total is also an SEC record. He was an All-SEC selection as a senior and helped Georgia to its first SEC title in 20 years. He played with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL for one season.

Fred Gibson (2002-2004). If Edwards set the standard for four-year starters at Georgia, Gibson wasn’t far off the mark. While not officially a starter as a freshman in 2001, Gibson was probably Georgia’s most dangerous receiver. He had five 100-yard games that season, including a nine-catch, 201-yard, two-touchdown performance against Kentucky. The 201 yards in one game remains a UGA record. As a sophomore in 2002, Gibson chipped in with two more 100-yard games and added 93 more in an SEC championship game victory over Arkansas. Gibson’s numbers dipped as a junior, but he ended the season with a two-touchdown game against Purdue in the Capital One Bowl. He rebounded his senior year, posting a career-high 801 yards and seven TDs, including a 169-yard effort against Arkansas. He was named a first-team All-SEC selection that season and finished his career with 161 receptions (third in UGA history), 2,884 yards (second in UGA history) and 20 TD receptions (second in school history) before being drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Reggie Brown (2003-2004). Gibson’s partner in crime throughout most of his career was the fleet-footed Brown, who, along with Gibson, gave Georgia one of its most dynamic duos of all time at the receiver position. Brown arrived at Georgia more heralded than his counterpart, but injuries derailed his early career. By his junior season in 2003, however, Brown was ready to explode. He made seven receptions for his first 100-yard game and added two touchdowns in a win over South Carolina that season, and finished the year with 662 yards receiving. As a senior, he finished second in the SEC with 860 receiving yards, added six touchdowns and highlighted his season by torching LSU for 110 yards and two scores. He ended his career with 2,008 yards receiving – one of just six Bulldogs to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark – and 12 touchdowns and was a second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bryan McClendon (2005). McClendon was mostly reserve material for much of his career, waiting in the shadows while Gibson and Brown made headlines. But like many of the members of the 2005 SEC title team, he made the most of his last opportunity. He was easily the most consistent of Georgia’s receivers that year, leading a young group with 35 receptions and 529 yards while grabbing six touchdowns, including a crucial grab in the end zone to beat Georgia Tech 14-7 in Atlanta. McClendon spent a preseason with the Chicago Bears after graduating, but an injury ended his career. He then came back to Georgia and helped coach another of the Bulldogs’ great receivers, A.J. Green, before being named the team’s running backs coach in 2009.

Sean Bailey (2005, 2007). One of the great big-play threats in recent years for Georgia, Bailey’s career was stifled by injuries, but when he played, he played well. He found the end zone three times as a sophomore in 2004, including grabbing to scores against Kentucky. In 2005, he was a break-out performer in the passing game, helping Georgia to an SEC title with a remarkable two-touchdown performance in the conference championship game against LSU, and his 22.8 yards per catch was the fifth-best mark in Georgia history. A knee injury in bowl practice that year cost him the 2006 season, but Bailey returned in 2007 to turn in the best performance of his career. He caught 39 passes for 615 yards – tops on the team – with his best games coming against some of the Bulldogs’ toughest opponents in Oklahoma State, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia Tech. He finished his career with 75 receptions for 1,269 yards. He played in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers.

Mohamed Massaquoi (2005-2008). Quite simply one of the most consistently productive players of the Mark Richt era, Massaquoi burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2005, leading the team with 38 receptions and helping the Bulldogs to an SEC title. His production dipped as a sophomore while Georgia rotated quarterbacks, but he still finished the year with 30 grabs to lead the team while starting nine games. He rebounded as a junior in 2007, helping Georgia to a Sugar Bowl win while catching 32 passes for 491 yards and four TDs. His career year came as a senior, however, when he led the team with 58 receptions – fourth-best in school history – and earned All-SEC honors, while hauling in 920 yards receiving (fourth in school history for a single season) and catching eight touchdown passes. He topped 180 yards receiving in two of his final four games, and his 11-catch, 191-yard day against Kentucky ranks as the fifth-most productive in school history. His three TD receptions against Georgia Tech that year make him one of just four players to accomplish that feat in school history. He wrapped up his career fourth in career receiving yards with 2,282, fourth in career TDs with 16 and fourth in receptions with 158. Massaquoi was selected in the second round by the Cleveland Browns in the 2009 NFL draft.

A.J. Green (2008-present). While there is still much more time left in Green’s career, he has already established himself as perhaps the most skilled receiver in school history after less than two full seasons. As a freshman in 2008, Green earned All-SEC honors by catching 56 passes (a freshman record) and 963 yards (the third-best total in school history) and was named the SEC’s freshman of the year. As a sophomore, he was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award and made his second straight All-SEC team despite missing three of the final four games of the regular season. His 47 catches and 751 yards both led the team and he hauled in six touchdown catches, including a career-long 61-yarder against Vanderbilt. In just 22 career games, Green has already tallied 1,714 yards receiving, 103 catches and 14 touchdowns.

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.

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