There is no denying A.J. Green is a phenomenal wide receiver. At 6'4", 210-plus pounds, he's a hard target to miss on the football field.
He's not the quickest off the blocks, nor is he the fastest man on the field, but his ability to control his body in the air and make plays on any ball within three feet of his reach makes him a special player to have.
Furthermore, his lanky frame belies his overall strength because one would think he could be contained by bigger, more physical, defensive backs. However, whether double or triple-covered, he always manages to win the jump ball battle, despite any size advantage on the opposition's part.
He uses his hands extremely well when battling for position, and he excels at making the most difficult catches look elementary.
All things considered, it's easy for any Georgia Bulldog fan to say that Green is probably one of the best receivers Georgia has ever had—and that is saying a lot considering the Bulldogs history books house the SEC's all-time leading receiver in Terrence Edwards.
So, in just his junior season, where does Green rank among the all-time greats who've played at Georgia?
Terrence Edwards—the SEC's all-time receiving leader who also wore the No. 8 that is now more famously associated with A.J. Green—caught 204 receptions in his career. Green, to date, has 122.
Given that Green might forgo his senior season for the riches of the NFL (he's a projected top-10 pick), Edwards' record appears to be safe.
That said, both Fred Gibson's (161) and Mohammed Massaquoi's (158) totals are well within Green's reach, and it's possible that he enters the all-time list at third before the close of the 2009 season.
Brice Hunter is second all time with 182.
Terrence Edwards also holds this record—not only at Georgia, but in the SEC—as he accumulated 3,093 receiving yards at Georgia.
Fred Gibson ended his career trailing closely behind Edwards with 2,883 yards (imagine what Gibson could have done if he had been blessed with Green's or Edwards' work ethic—hmmm). At present, Green's total rests at 1,986 yards.
He needs only 112 more yards to surpass Lindsay Scott (fifth), 296 to pass Mohammed Massaquoi (fourth) and 387 more to overtake Brice Hunter at third—all very possible this year.
The great Gene Washington, who is most remembered for his part in the Bulldogs' 1975 victory over the Florida Gators (Appleby-to-Washington), averaged 24.6 yards per reception over the span of his four-year career at Georgia.
A.J. Green is currently averaging 16.33 yards per catch for his career—including games played this season. It doesn't seem likely that he will catch up to Washington, Bobby Watson (20.7) or Rex Puntal (20.5) before he ends his career at Georgia.
Terrence Edwards leads the way with 30. It's amazing that Edwards was so dominant during his time, but most of this generation are not likely to ever associate the No. 8 with him again—sad.
Green has 17 career touchdowns entering his third game of the 2010 season. Given the propensity of Aaron Murray to look for Green first, in the red zone, it seems feasible to believe Green will add six to seven more grabs to that count. If he does, he will easily slide into second place behind Terrence Edwards with a chance to surpass him altogether if he returns for his senior season.
The legend of A.J. Green at Georgia, and around the country, hinges more on his skills than his production. While no one can deny he's an absolute beast on the football field, he has been limited in what he can do by several factors:
1) The offense: Georgia is still geared towards the run. The Bulldogs have only one wide receiver in the last 60 years who has tallied a 1,000 yard season—Terrence Edwards did so in 2002 (1,004).
2) The quarterback: Green had the good fortune of playing with Matthew Stafford in his freshman season, but his last two years have been somewhat hampered by inexperience at the quarterback spot, coupled with poor offensive play calling by his still-green offensive coordinator.
3) No offensive support: Terrence Edwards had Reggie Brown and Fred Gibson. Lindsay Scott had Herschel Walker. Gene Washington had Richard Appleby. Brice Hunter had Andre Hastings and Hines Ward.
Who has A.J. Green had?
Mohammed Massaquoi played for one season after the arrival of A.J. Green and, in that season, Green set records by catching 56 passes for 963 yards and eight touchdowns. Imagine what he might have been able to do his sophomore season with a decent No. 2 receiver to take some of the burden off him.
While Green may never surpass the numbers that some of his counterparts have accumulated at Georgia, he's certainly done more with less than any player one can recall in recent memory. He's great for all the things you cannot find on a stat sheet, and that is why he is held in such high regard by both the fans and the coaches.
He's special and everyone knows that when they see him step on the football field—numbers be damned.