Georgia Football: The 3 Best Players of the Mark Richt Era
Who is the best he has coached?
Lately, Georgia coach Mark Richt has been on and off of the hot seat. Under him, the Bulldogs have been to four SEC Championship Games and won two championships (2002, 2005). He has amassed a 106-37 record and won two SEC Coach of the Year awards in the years that he won the SEC Championship. Up until 2009, he was as consistent of a winner as there comes.
This isn't about Richt, though. This is about the players who helped him achieve those feats.
For simple reasons, players that weren't even recruited by Richt (Jim Donnan) are eligible. This is simply the three best players since Richt took over (2001-present). If he coached them, then they were eligible.
The original rankings were going to be a top 10, but three former Bulldogs were ahead of everyone else by a wide margin. Great players have come and gone, so a longer list is in the works, but for now, these three who wore the red and black stand alone.
Let the debate begin, Dawg fans!
3. David Greene
David Greene started off his career as a redshirt freshman in coach Mark Richt's first year at Georgia. His career seemed to ultimately take off after the infamous "hobnail boot" game at Tennessee, when his touchdown pass to Verron Haynes gave Georgia the upset over a highly-ranked Tennessee squad.
In his second season behind center, Greene guided the Bulldogs to their first SEC Championship since 1982 and capped it off with a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida State.
Greene's time at Georgia was a golden one for Bulldog fans. It was the time of the two David's. Greene and Pollack had virtually grown up playing football together, and they were able to make history during their time between the hedges.
Greene finished his college career as the winningest quarterback in NCAA Division I history with 42 wins in four years, breaking the record previously held by Peyton Manning. The record has since been broken twice, once by Colt McCoy and then this year when Kellen Moore notched his 50th victory.
Greene is the Southeastern Conference all-time career leader in yards gained, with 11,270.
2. A.J. Green
In terms of talent and production, there can only be two Bulldogs to be spoken in the same breath as Herschel Walker. One is Champ Bailey, and the other is A.J. Green.
Green was as good as advertised the second he stepped onto the Athens campus. This past NFL season was proof that Green was special. He just played at another level. Bulldog fans hopefully treasured those three years, because a talent like Green comes along about once every 15 to 20 years.
Matthew Stafford was ecstatic each day, because he, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, got to throw it to A.J. Green.
1. David Pollack
David Pollack was the easiest selection here. He joined Herschel Walker as the only Georgia player to have the luxury to be called three-time All-American. His motor was unmatched at the collegiate level. What he lacked in size and skill, he made up for it with will and determination.
Pollack racked up many awards during his career at Georgia, but those who watched him every Saturday knew that was inevitable. It all started on a rainy Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina, a day that I am sure many Bulldog fans remember exactly where they were when Pollack entered the hearts of Bulldog Nation.
On Sept. 14, 2002, Pollack knocked down a pass from South Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins while Jenkins was in the end zone, and he somehow managed to catch the ball prior to the ball hitting the ground. For his efforts, Pollack's play went down in the books as a zero-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The rest, as they say, is history....
David Pollack ended his college career as the all-time sack leader at the University of Georgia with 36.