Many phenomenal athletes have played in "Between the Hedges" for the Red and Black over the last decade. Those great athletes led the team to SEC Championship wins in 2002 and 2005. Along with the two SEC Championships, the Georgia won 9 bowl games in the decade, the most notable being the 2008 All State Sugar Bowl. Feel free to comment with the names of players that you believe are snubs. With that being said, here is my list of the top ten players to walk under the "Sacred Arches" this decade:
He has been one of the most consistent and successful players in UGA history. Butler was an All American in 2009 and 2010. Along with his All American selection in 2009, he was awarded the Ray Guy Award; the award for the best punter in the Nation. He has been able to pin opponents deep in their own territory. Even though Georgia defenses have struggled, Butler has shinned.
As a dominant force in the secondary, Jones was a 2003 All American selection. Jones was a nightmare for opponents. He accumulated 250 tackles in his career. Not only was Jones great on the defense, he was a beast for the special teams units. Jones was an all around great player for the Bulldogs.
Another one of UGA’s All Americans of the decade. He was an anchor on the Georgia line in the early 2000’s. In his last year as a Bulldog, he helped to lead his team to a SEC Championship as well as a Sugar Bowl victory.
Knowshon was the fan favorite on a team led by Matthew Stafford. He is one of two Bulldogs ever to rush for 1000 yards as a freshman; the other is Herschel Walker. As a freshman and a sophomore he was named to the All SEC first team and was the Freshman of the Year. He made a huge difference in the running game with his elusive running style. His efforts allowed Georgia to win a BCS bowl game in blow out fashion against Hawaii. He would have been much higher on the list had he not entered the draft after his sophomore season.
As a five star recruit, the expectations for AJ were extremely high. Despite these high expectations, AJ never let the pressure get to him and he just performed. Although he played with a different quarterback each year, he was consistently the best player on the team. He holds every UGA freshman receiving record and finished his three year career with 23 touchdowns. AJ carried the offense for his final two seasons as a Bulldog he carried the offense. He is definitely one of the most talented players to play “Between the Hedges”.
Although he is not the prototypical pro-style, Shockley was an absolute beast at quarterback. He had a good enough arm to carry the team and had the running ability to keep any defensive coordinator awake at night. Georgia won an SEC Championship in his only year as the starter. He was an All SEC performer and received votes for National Player of the Year.
The quarterback with a rocket for an arm, Stafford could make any throw. He used his skills to lead the Bulldogs as a true freshman. He was named to the All SEC freshman team in 2006. More important than his individual stats, Stafford was exceptionally clutch with a 3-0 bowl record which included a Sugar Bowl victory. Despite the fact that he left after his junior season, Stafford is one of the most polished quarterbacks in Georgia’s storied history.
Though he played some of his career in the 90’s, he had his most dominating season in 2000 with 78 tackles from the defensive tackle position. In that season he was awarded All SEC honors as well as All American honors. He controlled the interior of the line of scrimmage with teammate Marcus Stroud. Seymour is one of the best linemen ever to walk under the Arches.
At the end of the day, the only statistic that really matters is wins. David Greene was not the most talented quarterback to play at Georgia, but he does have the most wins. Until Colt McCoy passed him in 2009, Greene was the winningest quarterback ever to play the game. He was the SEC Freshman of the year in 2001, and was on the All SEC team for his next three years. Greene led the Bulldogs to a SEC Championship in 2002 and three bowl victories. He was simply a winner at Georgia, and that is all that anyone can want from a quarterback.
It would be hard to find a player from any university in the country that was more successful in college than David Pollack. He was simply a playmaker. He is the only defensive player at UGA ever to be a three time All American. It would take a page to list all of his awards because Pollack won virtually every possible award that a defensive lineman is eligible for. He dominated every offensive lineman that ever tried to block him on his way to 36 career sacks, a UGA record. He was a team captain and played a huge role in the 2002 SEC Championship. Pollack epitomized the “perfect” player on and off the field. Pollack is hands down the best Bulldog of the decade.