Georgia Football: Finding the Next A.J. Green
Only 57 days remain until the Georgia Bulldogs take the field against the Boise State Broncos, and with that in mind, I feel that it's time to reexamine some of Georgia's key position players, in particular, the receivers.
After losing A.J. Green, possibly the best Bulldog receiver of all-time, to this year's NFL Draft, Georgia must now rely upon a new star to carry the team's load offensively. Although we'll know more about who this player will be once the team takes the field against Boise State, this list will serve as a way of predicting some of the receivers who will do their best to fill A.J. Green's shoes both this season and beyond.
Last season, Marlon Brown received the team's Most Improved Player on Offense Award after posting career highs in almost every category.
Although Brown's career high in catches in a game is only three, something that he'll need to drastically improve if he plans on filling Green's shoes this season, he did, at times, show glimpses of his talent last season, the most notable of which were his 31-yard reception against South Carolina and his touchdown reception at Colorado.
Look for Brown to step up and improve on all of his career numbers now that Green has moved on to the NFL.
Last season, Tavarres King appeared in 12 games and recorded a total of 504 yards and three touchdowns on 27 receptions for the Bulldogs. He also started in five games, which makes him one of the most likely players to step up now that Green has departed.
One of King's biggest career games came against the Florida Gators, in which he had three receptions totaling 104 yards, which included a 63-yard touchdown. King also tied his career high of four receptions in a game last season against UCF.
Look for King to be one of Aaron Murray's favorite targets this season.
Rantavious Wooten has appeared in 12 games in 2009 and 11 in 2010, meaning his experience on the field could led him to become a top receiver for the Bulldogs this season.
Bulldog fans have seen a glimpse of Wootens' talent, as back in 2009 he recorded two receptions, one from 21 yards and one from 43 yards, that both went for touchdowns.
Although Wooten's career high in catches for a single game is only two, something he's done six times in his time at Georgia, the departure of A.J. Green likely means the ball will be coming Wootens' way much more often this year.
Although Israel Troupe has not gotten to showcase much of his talent in recent years, 2011 looks as though it may be his year. He will be called upon a lot early on in the season, as Georgia will operate in a six-receiver rotation to start the year, and, if he performs, he can staple himself into their receiving corps for the entire season.
Troupe appeared in nine games last season, but only recorded three catches for a total of 28-yards. The year prior, he appeared in 10 games, in which he made four receptions for 90-yards. He does have one career touchdown reception, which came on a 50-yard reception against then-No. 25 Auburn in 2009.
Last season, Michael Bennett was a member of the Bulldogs' scout team. This year, however, Bennett is poised for a major breakthrough season.
Bennett is a 6'3", 202-pound receiver who is both very physical and capable of making the big catch, as is evident by his 4.55 40-yard dash. He was his high school's offensive MVP during his junior and senior years, which shows his leadership capabilities both on and off the field.
Look for Bennett to excel in the six-receiver system early on in the season and ultimately end up starting by season's end.