This is a list of the Top 10 Bulldogs to play "Between the Hedges" under Coach Mark Richt. As I'm sure there are many more great Bulldogs to come, this list is of those whose legacy has already engraved itself into the Georgia Football Hall of Fame.
Of course this list is up for debate so I hope any other suggestions people have will be voiced.
Ben Watson is one of the best tight ends in Georgia football history. The reason I have him at No. 10 is because he is arguably the best tight end that Mark Richt has produced.
He is the epitome of a traditional Georgia tight end. He has had the most successful NFL career of all the other tight ends Mark Richt has coached. He was also a huge part of the 2002 SEC Championship squad's success.
Brandon Coutu was not only a great player at Georgia, but also the spirit of resilience that is Georgia football. Heading into his freshman year of college, Coutu turned down multiple scholarship offers to be a walk-on kicker for the Georgia football team.
Little did we know that we had just recieved one of the greatest kickers to ever play Between the Hedges. Coutu went on to never miss a PAT at Georgia, and he also became the first kicker in Georgia football history to have a field goal percentage over 80 percent.
I've got Blue at No. 8 for the simple reason that he personifies the fierce, hard-hitting football of the Southeastern Conference. Blue recorded a 9.10 one hundred yard dash, so it is only right to assume that when Greg hit somebody, it was like being hit by a train.
Greg Blue was a consensus All-American his Senior season. He recorded 260 tackles in his career, 96 of which were in his last year. Greg Blue was a freak of nature on the football field and that is why I have him as the No. 8 best player of the Mark Richt era.
Jeff Owens will restart his Senior campaign this year at Georgia. I believe that after this year, Owens may be higher up on this list, however, we have yet to see him at work.
While Owens' numbers not off the charts, his work ethic and leadership will make the Bulldog Nation proud. In multiple interviews this year, he has said that he wants to get his team pumped up. He is a key part to the team athletically, but his intangibles are what got him on this list.
Check out my article about Owens for more: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/129182-jeff-owens-the-2009-x-factor
This All-American tackle did the Bulldog Nation proud when he shedded the typical Offensive Lineman stereotype. Stinchomb embodied the perfect student-athlete. Along with being an All-American, he was also a scholar-athelete.
He played a huge role in community service by visiting children in the hospital. If a player like Jon Stinchcomb was on every team, athletes would be taken more seriously. Stinchcomb represented the University of Georgia well both on and off the field, and that's why he is at No. 6.
Boss Bailey is easily one of the best all-around athletes to step on the field during the Mark Richt era. During the Bulldog's 2002 SEC Championship season, Bailey was an All-SEC player, a semifinialist for the Butkus and Lombardi awards, and the teams leading tackler with a whooping 114 tackles.
Bailey went on to play NFL football, and just like Greg Blue, made his mark on Georgia football history by displaying pure athleticism.
There is no doubt that Moreno will go down as one of the best Bulldogs to ever play under Mark Richt. However, the biggest factor that will always keep him out of the Top 3 is that he never won a championship with Georgia.
Knowshon's "never say die" attitude is what got him up to No. 4. Sure, his 2,736 yards and 30 touchdowns are crazy numbers, but the way he played ball is what will forever keep #24 in the hearts of every Bulldog. The instinct that Moreno played with was out of this world, and I expect his legacy to only become greater when he steps onto the NFL field.
I don't know if there will ever be another Bulldog in the Richt era that displayed leadership like Shockley did. Shockley only knew "Second String" until his Senior Season. DJ had the skills and talent to go play football elsewhere, however, he chose to stay in Athens and see what he could make of his Senior year.
Well, as we all know, it paid off. Shockley led the 2005 Dawgs to another SEC Championship and a Sugar Bowl bid. He was also named to National Good Works Team in '05 which shows his true character. DJ Shockley was a great Bulldog and his leadership qualities are what get him up to No. 3.
From the beginninf, Mark Richt installed a team attitude that revolved around family. Pollack fit right into that system when he signed with Georgia simply because, "It was close to home." Pollack's work ethic was what got him as far as he did. His abilities and talent were a result of the hard work he put into football.
Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson once said, "He plays every play as if it was for the National Championship, look at him; he is not as big and strong as others but he plays the hardest." Here is a list of Honors that Pollack brought to himself and the University as a result of his hard work: 2002 SEC Player of the Year, First Team All-American (2002-2004), 2004 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, 2004 Chuck Bednarik Award, 2004 Lombardi Award, 2004 Lott Trophy. The University of Georgia may never see another player like Pollack in the rest of Georgia football history. Pollack earned his accolades through determination and hard work. Georgia football was made for players like David Pollack.
David Greene may not be as decorated as Pollack, may not have the pure talent of Stafford, and may not be the NFL player that Knowshon Moreno will be, but as quarterback, some things matter much more. Greene was the SEC freshman of the Year, the SEC Championship MVP, was Second Team All-SEC, and he is the winningest Quarterback in NCAA history with 42 wins.
He also holds the SEC record for all-time leader in yards gained with 11,270.Although he may not be the most talented player, Greene played with a confidence and swagger that could lead any team to a championship. With these things in mind, why shouldn't Greene be the No. 1 player on the list? He brought an SEC Championship back to Georgia after years of championship drought in Athens. He was the man behind the team that made Georgia relevant again. Everything about Greene portrays what it means to wear that Georgia uniform and what it means to play Between the Hedges. And for that, the Bulldog Nation will forever hold the name of David Greene in reverance.