So National Signing Day has come and gone. Articles and opinions abound on which school did well, and which school did not. I decided to stay out of the predicting business and pass on the opportunity to comment on Georgia's class of 2009.
I'm sure that the 18 players Georgia signed will do well. Hopefully most will qualify. Some will have an immediate impact this fall, others will not see game action for at least a year. No doubt this is a fun time to look ahead.
But I have decided to take this off season and take a look back. In some cases, the memories will be fresh, others you may need to look back in the UGA history books to rekindle those memories.
Today I start what I hope will be a series of "Top 10" list of some of the greatest players in UGA history.
I will tackle most of the positions, one by one, and list those that I feel are the best ten in each category. Of course, this will just be my opinion. Hopefully you will agree with some, and disagree with others.
More than anything I hope you will voice your opinion. Give me your "Top 10", and tell me where I was "wrong"...
So lets have some fun and look back on some great players in UGA history, while we look forward to kick-off in 2009.
First up...here is my "Top Ten UGA Running Backs of All Time"...
10) Thomas Brown - Thomas Brown will always be one of my favorites. He always seemed to be in the middle of the action. Making tackles on special teams, or returning a kick-off for a TD. He was also a pretty good running back! Despite splitting time with others for most of his career, Thomas led the Bulldogs in rushing in 2004 (875 yds) and in 2005 (736 yds). He finished his senior year with almost 1,200 all purpose yards.
Thomas was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 NFL draft. He missed his rookie season after suffering an injury in the preseason.
9) Musa Smith - Musa Smith was a big part of the 2002 SEC championship season. Musa led the team in rushing that year with 1,324 yards. In the 2003 Sugar Bowl Musa led Georgia to a win over Florida State rushing for 145 yards. Musa finished his Georgia career with 2,202 yards and 19 TDs.
In the 2003 NFL draft the Baltimore Ravens picked Smith in the 3rd round.
8) Terrell Davis - Davis could be a little higher on this list. But his Georgia days pale in comparison to his NFL days. Davis claimed that then head coach Ray Goff never liked him, and he was forced to play with injuries that limited his effectiveness.
In Goff's pass happy offense Davis rushed for 824 yards, and 445 yards as a starter. He finished his senior season strong with games of 113 yards and 121 yards. This strong finished earned him an invite to the Blue-Gray game.
The rest is NFL history. Drafted by the Broncos in 1995, Davis would play for Denver from 1995-2002. He finished his NFL career with 7,607 yards rushing and 60 td's. He won the Super Bowl MVP in 1997, and won NFL MVP honors in 1998.
7) Tim Worley - Worley finished his UGA career with just over 2,000 yards rushing and 27 td's. In 1998 Tim led the Dawgs with over 1,200 yards.
Worley was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the NFL draft. As a rookie Tim rushed for 770 yards. Worley retired from the NFL in 1994.
6) Rodney Hampton - Hampton came to UGA by way of Houston,Texas. He left the Dawgs after having rushed for over 2,600 yards. Hampton had a very successful career in the NFL.
Drafted in the first round of the 1990 draft by the NY Giants, Worley would play in the NFL from 1990-1997. He rushed for almost 6,900 yards. Worley rushed for over 1,000 yards in each season from 1991-1995. Tim earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Giants Super Bowl XXV championship team.
5) Knowshon Moreno - What an impact Knowshon had in 2007 and 2008. In just two seasons on the field in Athens, Knowshon rushed for over 2,700 yards. Moreno rushed for 30 TDs in those two seasons. Another in the line of "what might have been", Knowshon announced in January that he will enter the NFL draft, and leave UGA after only two seasons (Knowshon was red-shirted his first year).
Despite his short time in Athens, he will no doubt be remembered as one of the greats. I look forward to watching him play on Sunday.
4) Garrison Hearst - One of the best no doubt. Hearst has numbers that compare with many of the great college running backs of our time. He finished his UGA career with 3,232 yards. In 1992 Hearst rushed for 1,594 yards while averaging 6.99 yards per carry.
Hearst was drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals in the first round of the 1993 draft. Garrison amassed over 7,900 yards in his NFL career. He was named Comeback Player of the Year, twice. With the 49'ers in 1998, Hearst rushed for over 1,500 yards. His last season in the NFL was in 1994 playing with the Denver Broncos.
3) Charley Trippi - Charley was a two time All American while at Georgia. Placed in the backfield with UGA great Frank Sinkwich, Trippi was one of the greatest running backs ever. Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant once stated that Trippi was, "the finest athlete he had ever seen." Trippi led UGA to a Rose Bowl win over UCLA in 1943. He was named the MVP of the game rushing for 130 yards.Trippi's college career was interrupted for two years by World War II.
Trippi played in the NFL from 1947-1955 with the Chicago Cardinals. His first contract was for four years and $100,00. Trippi starred in the 1947 NFL Championship game against the Eagles. The field was icy, so Trippi wore basketball shoes for better traction. He totaled over 200 yards in the game.
He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1968.
2) Frank Sinkwich - Sinkwich did it all while at Georgia. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1942. In his three year career at UGA, Sinkwich rushed for over 2,200 yards and passed for over 2,300 yards. He accounted for 60 TDs during that span. In 1941 he led the NCAA in rushing, and in 1942 was voted the No. 1 Athlete in the country by the AP.
He led Georgia to an Orange Bowl win in 1942 totaling almost 400 yards of offense. He played the game as he had played most of the regular season, with his broken jaw wired shut. His number "21" is retired at UGA.
Drafted by the Lions as the number one pick in 1943, Sinkwich played in the NFL from 1943-1947. He was named league MVP in 1944. His career was cut short by a serious injury at the age of 25.
Sinkwich died in 1990 in Athens at the age of 70.
1) Herschel Walker - Many believe that Walker is the greatest college running back to have ever played the game. I agree with that assessment. Almost any list of the greatest college players ever will have Walker listed in the top five.
While at UGA, Walker rushed for over 1,600 yards in each of his three seasons. Many feel that he should have won the Heisman as a freshman, when he set an NCAA record rushing for almost 1,900 yards and 18 td's.
While at UGA, Walker was named a consensus All American three times, set 10 NCAA records, 15 SEC Conference records and 30 UGA records. Led by this freshman, UGA won the National Championship in 1980. His number "34" was retired by UGA.
Again, the "what could have been" steps in, and Walker left for the USFL after his junior year. Walker played for the New Jersey Generals from 1983-1985.
Walker moved on to the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys in 1986. He played in the NFL with the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and Vikings. Walker retired after the 1997 season.
During his career Walker rushed for over 8,200 yards and scored 61 TDs.
So that gets us through the running backs. Let me know what you think. Give me your Top 10...
Check back in a couple of weeks for another Top 10 list...