Bishop Media Sports Network

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Best Of The Best

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I know this topic will spark some debate among the faithful UGA fans out there who are sheltered in place waiting for football season to roll around again. These are my personal rankings.

My Top 5 UGA Quarterbacks of All-Time:

Aaron Murray (2010-13): The SEC’s all-time passing yardage and touchdowns leader tossed for 121 TD’s and over 13,000 passing yards as a four-year starter for UGA. If Murray was the QB for UGA in 2017 and 2018, I believe UGA would have won the National Championship during those two seasons.

Murray did not have a Kirby Smart defense helping him out during his time at UGA. Murray is the most productive QB in UGA history, but does not seem to be near the top of these types of lists, but AM was the man!

David Greene (2001-2004): Greene led the Bulldogs to a 42-10 record as a starter, and ranks third all-time for career passing yards in the SEC.

Greene will always have a special place in the hearts of UGA faithful as he led the 2002 Dawgs to an SEC title breaking a 20-year title drought in Athens. Greene was his best with the game on the line with dramatic wins at Tennessee in 2001 and at Auburn in 2002.

Buck Belue (1978-1981): Buck came to UGA from Valdosta High School. We saw flashes of the swagger as a freshman in 78 when Belue led a 20-point comeback against Georgia Tech in a memorable 29-28 win that had a 13-year-old Kipp Branch dancing on the dirt road he lived on.

Belue was involved in the greatest play in UGA football history to Lindsay Scott that beat Florida once again and is the only QB on my list with a National Championship. Buck always will get on my greatest UGA QB list.

Matthew Stafford (2006-2008): Stafford is the most talented QB to ever put on a jersey in Athens, Georgia.

The 2007 team ended the season as the #2 ranked team in the country. Stafford pretty much was a pro quarterback playing college football during his time at UGA.

Stafford went on to be the first selection in the 2009 NFL Draft for the Detroit Lions, and has every passing record in Lions history.

  1. J. Shockley (2002-2005): Shockley will always have my respect because he was the ultimate team player.

A five-star QB recruit that waited his turn in Athens behind David Greene and started his senior season and led UGA to an SEC title in 2005. Shockley is the last true dual threat QB UGA has had and will always be loved in Athens.

Just missing the list: Jake Fromm (2017-2019): This will make my wife upset because she loves her some Jake Fromm.

Fromm had a great career in Athens, but every other QB on my list would have won a Natty with the defense Jake had while at UGA.

Great wins against ND, 3-0 against Florida, and an SEC Title will rank Jake near the top of some others list but he can’t crack my top 5.

Ray Goff (1973-1976): Ray may not have been a great coach, but he was the SEC Player of the Year in 1976 for the SEC Champion Georgia Bulldogs. I don’t need to say anything else about that.

Eric Zeier (1991-1994): When Zeier left UGA in 1994 he was the career passing yards leader in the SEC. Led UGA to a 10-2 record in 1992.

Fran Tarkenton was in the NFL when I came into the world so he did not make my list.

There you have it. Aaron Murray is the greatest QB in UGA history because I said so.  Stay safe folks.

Time Waits For No One

By: Mike Anthony

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

There is still plenty of speculation about how much of the 2020 Major League Baseball season – if any – will be played.

But one sure thing is that when play resumes the Atlanta Braves will still be one of the better teams in baseball, with every reason to believe that a World Series title is within their grasp.

However, the agreement reached by MLB and its players’ association regarding pay and service time could put a dent in the length of the Braves’ current run of great play.

Over the last decade, many baseball teams have adopted a roller-coaster philosophy to competing. They will ride out success for a while, but are now more apt to trade off aging and expensive talent.

The rebuilding process can be painful for fans and is done for financial benefit of the club – the thought being that there’s no reason to pay top dollar for declining veteran talent that won’t make the playoffs when a roster full of marginal veterans and young players can lose just the same at a much smaller price.

That’s where the current pandemic and suspension of play is hurting the Braves. If play resumes this season, all will be fine. Atlanta will contend for a third consecutive NL East title, although a shortened season figures to be a disadvantage for more talented teams better suited to handle the grind of a full schedule.

If a shorter 2020 hampers the Braves’ competitiveness or the worst case scenario happens and there is no baseball until next spring, that’s when the numbers will start working against them.

The biggest item in the agreement is that, in the event of a total cancellation of the current season, all players will receive an identical credit of their MLB service time accrued in 2019.

That would mean the Braves’ big offseason adds of Cole Hamels and Marcel Ozuna would again be free agents as both are signed to one-year deals.

Mark Melancon would also be a free agent as the contract he signed before being traded to Atlanta expires this year.

There is also the issue of age as Freddie Freeman will turn 31 this season and has just one year remaining on his deal.

Losing players is one issue, but adding on payroll seems to be an even bigger concern for Braves ownership group Liberty Media, which had often been criticized for being tight with money prior two the last two seasons of winning baseball.

The wave of youth that has been instrumental in the Braves’ rise is about to get a considerable pay raise. Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Sean Newcomb, A.J. Minter and Chad Sobotka will all be arbitration-eligible next season, guaranteeing a pay raise for all and increasing in accordance with their performance over their first three seasons.

Star outfielder Ronald Acuna will be the biggest hit on the payroll. Acuna is slated to make just $1 million in 2020, but the contract extension he signed last year bumps that to $15 million in 2021 and levels out at $17 million per year after that.

Ozzie Albies will also be breaking the bank as he will make an additional $2 million in 2021.

The Braves’ roster, as currently constructed, will remain relatively young, even if no baseball is played this season. But the contract structure of the team shows that 2020 is definitely the year Atlanta thinks it can make a World Series push.

If the Braves don’t see any action this year and want to be in a similar spot for 2021, they’ll have to make tough decisions on free agents while the payroll begins to soar.

Tide Turning In River City?

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Nick Foles, the Super Bowl 52 MVP, to the Chicago Bears for the Bears’ fourth round compensatory pick. Foles, who signed a four year, $88-million contract with the Jaguars a year ago, will now compete with Mitchell Trubisky for the Bears starting job.

The Foles trade qualifies as a disaster for General Manager Dave Caldwell and Coach Doug Marrone. He only played four games last season because of a shoulder injury and earned 30.5 million dollars.

Gardner Minshew, a 2019 sixth round pick out of Washington State, for now, becomes the Jags’ starting quarterback. Minshew went 6-6 as a starter with 21 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and a 91.2 passer rating.

The Foles trade is another move in a busy offseason that saw the Jags trade defensive lineman Calais Campbell to Baltimore, cornerback A.J. Bouye to Denver, placing the franchise tag on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue ($19.3 million this season) and declining the option on defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

The Jags signed former Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert to a 5-year $53 million deal and former Cincinnati cornerback Darqueze Dennard to a 3-year deal worth 13.5 million dollars.

The Jags will have 12 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft: two in the first round (#9 & #20), one in the second round (#42), one in the third round (#73), four in the fourth round (#116, #137, #140), two in the fifth round (#157 & #165), two in the sixth round (#189 & #206) and one in the seventh round (#223).

If you are panicking, thinking the Jags are “Tanking for Trevor”, let’s take a closer look at the trades. Bouye wasn’t the Jags’ best corner last season (Tre Herndon) and my guess is they will address the cornerback position in the draft.

Dareus only played six games last year, and after 9 seasons the wear and tear is taking its toll on Dareus.

Campbell made the Pro Bowl last season but his production has slipped from the previous two seasons.

No matter how you feel about Dave Caldwell, the reality is, he and Doug Marrone are the ones making the moves this offseason. The further reality is the Jags are having a very good offseason.

The Jags are stockpiling draft capital for a lot of players many believed might have to be released.

Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone are running out of time in Jacksonville unless they turn it around in 2020. It’s hard to envision such a turnaround with Minshew.

The best hope for Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone to keep their jobs beyond this season is to sign Cam Newton.

Past Buzzes

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It is very difficult to have one elite team for a university. Having that in multiple sports typically does not happen, especially for football and men’s basketball. I want to revisit 1990, a great year for Georgia Tech.

The basketball team for the 1989-90 season had a great year. They were led by coach Bobby Cremins. They were led by a talented trio of players nicknamed “Lethal Weapon 3”. That consisted of ACC Player of the Year Dennis Scott, National Freshman of the Year Kenny Anderson and Brian Oliver.

They had some big wins during the regular season against ranked teams including No. 18 Pitt, No. 17 NC State, No. 15 Louisville and No. 20 Clemson. They also demolished No. 25 North Carolina, 102 – 75.

During the regular season they were swept by Duke and Virginia. In the ACC Tournament they beat both teams and NC State for the third time to win the conference tournament.

They advanced to the Final Four in Denver. On the way there they beat Michigan State in the Sweet Sixteen. The Spartans were Big Ten champs and the top seed in the region. They were ranked third nationally and led by junior Steve Smith.

In the Final Four they lost to UNLV, 90 – 81. The Running Rebels went on to win the national championship. Tech finished the season 28 – 7.

In the fall of 1990, the football team had a historic undefeated season. They were led by head coach Bobby Ross and quarterback Shawn Jones. For the season the Yellow Jackets offense scored 379 points while the defense allowed 186 points.

Jones passed for 2,008 yards, 13 touchdowns and he had 6 rushing touchdowns. William Bell led the team in rushing with 891 yards, 5 touchdowns and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

On defense they were led by All-American defensive back Ken Swilling. He had 5 interceptions that season. He is said to have predicted an undefeated season before it started, supposedly based on a dream. Safety Willie Clay was second on the team with three picks.

The Yellow Jackets started the season with a home win against NC State. They beat ranked teams like No. 25 South Carolina, No. 15 Clemson and No. 1 Virginia. The game against UVA was nationally televised.

The tie happened at North Carolina, 13 -13. Overtime was not added to FBS football until the 1995-96 bowl season.

They also beat archrival Georgia 40 – 23 in Athens. They went to the Citrus Bowl and played No. 19 Nebraska. Going into the game the Cornhuskers were 9 – 2. The Yellow Jackets won big, 45 -21.

They finished the season 11-0-1 and No. 1 in the Coaches Poll. Colorado was the top team in the AP Poll and they were 11-1-1. I’m not sure how the Buffalos were voted No. 1 since they had a loss.

They also had a game against Missouri where they were given a fifth down. That led to them scoring a touchdown on the last play to win the game 33 -31.

They also have a common opponent, Nebraska. Colorado beat Nebraska 27 – 12.

“A lot of special things happened that season,’’ said Ross said. It was a great accomplishment by a lot of people. We started all the way at the bottom three years before that and went all the way to the top.’’

1990 was an amazing year for Georgia Tech that will never be duplicated.

Back To 1983

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

In most years the first weekend in April means one thing, Final Four.

Even though that’s obviously not taking place this year, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the Final Four in some capacity.

So, in that spirit I thought I’d hop inside the DeLorean in my mind and travel back to 1983, the one and only year the Georgia Bulldog basketball team made it to the Final Four.

Now, before I start, I should let you know I was only two years old at the time this was taking place, so there’s no firsthand knowledge on my part about what transpired. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few things that stood out while reading up on that team and that season.

The team most people remember from that year’s tournament is N.C. State; their improbable run, the team they beat to win it all (Houston), and definitely the way they won.

What I imagine is most people outside of Athens don’t remember, or like me, were completely unaware of, was how improbable Georgia’s tournament run was compared to State’s.

Back then 52 teams made the tournament, which produced a bracket of preliminary games and abbreviated first round games (5-12 seeds only), in order to arrive at the Round of 32. Luckily for Georgia, they were a four seed and got to move directly past go, to the second round.

After squeaking by fifth seeded VCU, they defeated one-seeded (#3 overall) St Johns, and a second seeded (# 8 overall) North Carolina team, whose roster was made up of players like Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, and Brad Dougherty, before losing to NC State in the Final Four.

NC State, by comparison, was a six seed, had to win one more game than Georgia to advance to the Final Four, but did not face the same level of competition to get there.

Since I was watching “Sesame Street” and “He-Man” at this point in my life, I can’t accurately judge the talent on the ‘83 roster, outside of the fact the only name I recognized was Vern Fleming.

As far as I can tell the former Georgia and NBA guard is the only player from that team to make it to the NBA. Based on that, I imagine they were a good college team that had a player or two get hot in the tournament, and probably had a little luck in what looks like fairly competitive games.

The other thing that stands out, and this has to do with the regular season as opposed to the tournament, was how balanced the SEC was that year.

Of the ten teams that made up the SEC, only Kentucky (13-5) and Florida (5-13) didn’t finish somewhere between 8-10 and 10-8. In fact, Florida was also the only team that finished below .500 on the season.

Just for the fun of it, this year’s SEC consisted of fourteen teams, ten different conference records ranging from 5-13 to 13-5 and four teams that finished either at or below .500 for the season.

With sports on an indefinite hiatus, it doesn’t mean we can’t go back and watch highlights of the teams we enjoyed watching while we grew up, or in some cases, before we became sports fans.

If you happen to be a Georgia basketball fan and are jonesing for a fix, the ‘83 team is a great to start.

Hollywood Baseball

By: TJ Hartnett

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It should have been Opening Day 2020.

Unfortunately, global circumstances beyond MLB’s control led them to delay the start of the baseball season. While there’s still hope that we will all get to hear “play ball” before too long, there is currently no end in sight for our collective lack of professional baseball.

If you’re like me, this has been a frankly depressing couple of days but, if you’re like me, you’ve turned to the best substitute available for the hole in your life (outside of re-watching actual games, which for whatever reason I don’t find all that enjoyable): baseball movies.

There have been dozens of baseball movies made and several of them are wonderful and remind me of why I love the game so much. So, in lieu of being able to write about actual baseball, I’m going to provide you with my top 5 favorite baseball movies.

5. A League of Their Own: You know the line. You’ve said the line. Despite the fact that I’ve seen plenty of baseball players cry and in fact I’ve cried over baseball before. Stripping the ideology that “there’s no crying in baseball” of any semblance of truth, the late Penny Marshall’s love letter to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is a warm blanket of baseball goodness any time you watch it.

Tom Hanks is great, but the focus of the movie is the team of women (not girls), led by Geena Davis. It’s a joyful and funny movie and a notable one. Sports movies starring women continues to be a hole in Hollywood’s resume.

4. Bull Durham: This one feels the most like inside knowledge. Probably because writer/director Ron Shelton actually played minor league ball in the Baltimore farm system.

The main plot of this movie, a love triangle between Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins, doesn’t actually do much for me. However, the on field stuff, like meetings on the mound and Costner’s catcher Crash Davis telling the opposing batter what’s coming is why this movie is in the top 5.

3. The Sandlot: Is this movie great? Probably not. But I’m 32 years old and I dare you to find a single baseball fan anywhere near my age who doesn’t absolutely love this movie. You won’t.

This movie is childhood for so many kids who just loved playing pickup ball anywhere they could. It’s top 3 and I won’t apologize for it.

2. Field of Dreams: I’m a sap. You don’t know me well enough to know that, so I’m telling you.

This movie is sentimental, probably to a fault, but this movie celebrates baseball as a pastoral, innocent, and elegant miracle of a game.

Going to an MLB game early and watching players take batting practice and shag fly balls, while the grounds crew puts the chalk down the first and third base lines is the purest form of contentment imaginable to me.

That’s what this movie strives for (it notably doesn’t strive for accuracy – could they not find a lefty to play Shoeless Joe?!) and often succeeds.

It’s always one that I like to revisit during spring training in order to get reacclimated with the love of the game. So, I may have to watch it a few times this year.

1. Major League: Surprised, perhaps? Major League is neither the most acclaimed work of cinema, nor the most celebrated baseball flick by baseball fans. However, it’s a classic sports movie.

It’s still really funny after 31 years (see: literally everything Bob Uecker says) and believe it or not it’s really the only movie on this list that’s actually about a baseball team playing baseball.

My friends and I quote this one constantly; from opposing teams’ home runs being “too high” to the rapid-fire monologue of “hell of a situation we got here,” Major League is full of joy and it’s my favorite baseball movie.

And right now, that’s all we’ve got.

 

Ice Left In The Freezer?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

With the signing of Todd Gurley to add another weapon to the Atlanta Falcon offense, it raises another big question and that is how much gas does Matt Ryan have left in the tank?

Matty Ice will be 35 years of age at the start of the 2020 season.

Ryan had a decent 2019 season in Atlanta, where he passed for almost 4,500 yards and 26 TD’s. Ryan’s 2016 MVP season was thing of beauty for Atlanta, which seems now to only be remembered as the season the Falcons blew a 25-point Super Bowl lead in the final 17 minutes of that contest.

We all know the weakness of the Falcons is defense and the hope is that gets addressed in the upcoming draft in April.

But what about offensive line? Matty Ice has been sacked 90 times in the last two seasons. Interesting stat line is Tom Brady over the past two seasons, has been sacked 48 times while Ryan was sacked 48 times in 2019. That is the most in a single season in his 12-year Falcon career. For the Falcons to be successful in 2020 then steps have to be put into place to protect Matt Ryan.

Ryan has always been known as a great distributor of the football. His career completion percentage is 65.4, which means he is accurate with the ball.

Julio Jones, who may be the best wide receiver in football, has caught 797 balls in his nine-year Falcon career with Matt Ryan being his starting QB for every single season he has been in the league.

Ryan is not a mobile QB, so protecting him must be a high priority. Ryan has averaged tossing 27 TD’s per season. The production is there for the former MVP.

Another interesting stat is that Matt Ryan has beaten every team in the NFL except two and those are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.

Yes, that means he has never beaten the QB that just landed in his division; the GOAT Tom Brady.

Matty Ice gets two shots at Brady this upcoming season and don’t think for one second that Matty Ice does not have those games circled on the calendar. All of the hype now in the NFC South is surrounding Tampa Bay.

Every great player has a nemesis they had to overcome. Michael Jordan had to get past the Detroit Pistons. LeBron James had to get past the Boston Celtics, Peyton Manning had to get past Tom Brady and the Patriot domination to win a Super Bowl and now Ryan will have two chances at Tom Brady in 2020.

Let’s take a look at the division:

Tampa Bay: Now that they have Brady, they may become a trendy pick in the NFC South

Carolina: Now that Cam Newton is gone the Panthers look like they are in full rebuild mode and may get in position to land Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 draft.

New Orleans: The Saints on paper are the team to beat, but seem to choke in the playoffs every season now.

Then you have the Atlanta Falcons, who currently have 10 former first round draft picks starting on offense in 2020.

On paper, with Matt Ryan distributing the football to Julio Jones, Todd Gurley, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, Russell Gage, and Laquon Treadwell, the Falcon offense potentially could one of the most explosive in the NFL.

Matt Ryan is the straw that stirs the drink in Atlanta. Ryan loves the city of Atlanta dearly and wants to bring a championship to the city.

Matty Ice is still a valuable asset in the NFL and will not take a back seat to any QB in the NFC South.

Matty Ryan still has ice left in freezer.

Treasure Hunter

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have addressed their starting quarterback situation in the boldest way possible; by signing one of the greatest of all time, Tom Brady.

Does Brady’s arrival make them a Super Bowl contender? Which is asking a lot, considering the Buccaneers finished in the bottom half of the NFC South in 10 of the past 12 seasons (eight last place finishes). The Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs since 2007.

Is Tom Brady immune to father time? While he has yet to fall off performance wise, he is starting to show signs of slowing down. Brady will be 43 years old when the next NFL season begins.

Brady replaces Jameis Winston as the Buccaneers starting quarterback. Winston led the league with 30 interceptions and 5 fumbles. Brady has thrown nine or fewer in seven of the past 10 seasons. Never throwing for 14.

Brady joins the Buccaneers roster that may arguably have the best starting receiver duo in the NFL. Both Chris Godwin (1,333) and Mike Evans (1,157) topped the 1000 receiving yards last season and combined for 17 touchdowns.

Add on a couple talented tight ends in O.J. Howard and Cam Brate, with Brady’s history of maximizing the tight end position, does Brady’s arrival make them a Super Bowl Contender?

The Buccaneers must upgrade the running back position either draft or free agency.  Bruce Arians and Tom Brady have a history of running backs that contribute heavily in the passing game.

One free agent to watch is Dion Lewis. Tampa Bay hasn’t had a running back with 60 or more receptions since Warrick Dunn.

The same day Brady signed with the Buccaneers; the team announced the signing of offensive tackle Joe Haeg. Haeg spent the last four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He has played both tackle positions as well as right guard.

The addition of Haeg addresses a position where the Buccaneers were in need of depth. The Buccaneers offensive line gave up 47 sacks last season and provided little in the run game. I know PFF.com ranked the Buccaneers offensive line 7th, but stat boy doesn’t watch film.

In 2019, the Buccaneers defense gave up the fourth most points per game (28.1), tied for the 12th most TD’s allowed and ranked 18th in total yards allowed (343.9). Opponents last season averaged 67 plays per game against the Buccaneers, which was tied for third most in the NFL.

Basically, Brady is better than Winston in taking care of the football last season and that’s very important. I’m not sure spending $50 million for two seasons for a 43-year-old quarterback you’re hoping will be a better game manager is the right move.

I’m not optimistic this move will prove to be a good one for the Buccaneers on the field. Season tickets sales are through the roof and ESPN & NBC are working on the schedule right now to get Brady in prime time.

Tom Brady might be the G.O.A.T. but he’s not a top 10 quarterback right now. Tampa Bay is just paying him like he is.

King Bee

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We all have a bit more free time on our hands with everything going on currently.

It gives us some time to reflect. I’m going to determine who the best Georgia Tech football player of all time is.

Joe Hamilton is often overlooked despite having a great career. He played for the Yellow Jackets from 1996 to 1999. He set ACC career records for total offense (10,640 yards), touchdown passes (65) and total touchdowns (83).

As a senior in 1999, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American, won the Davey O’Brien Award and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

He was the runner-up in Heisman voting, finishing behind Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne. In 2002, he was named as one of the fifty members of the ACC 50th Anniversary Football Team. Hamilton was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

George Godsey replaced Hamilton in 2000. He led Tech to a 9 – 2 record that year. Godsey threw for 2,906 yards and 23 touchdowns; he also had the sixth best passing efficiency in the country.

In 2001 as a senior, he completed 241 passes for 3,085 yards, both of which are school records.

Godsey finished his college career as the most accurate passer in Georgia Tech history, with a career completion percentage of 63.3. He also has the fourth most passing touchdowns in school history with 41.

He has the school record for most passing yards in a game with 486 yards against Virginia in 2001. He broke the previous record, also held by him that was 454 yards versus Clemson in 2000.

Calvin Johnson is probably the name most people would expect in this conversation. Johnson played at GT from 2004 to 2006. Johnson had 178 receptions in his career, good for 2,927 yards and 28 touchdowns.

He ranks first in school history in career receiving yards, second in receptions, first in touchdown receptions, and first in career 100-yard receiving games with 13.

As a junior in 2006 he had his best season. He was honored as the ACC Player of the Year, was a first-team All-ACC selection for the third consecutive year, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American.

Johnson tallied 1,202 yards on 76 catches. He also scored 15 touchdowns, which is the single season record for receiving touchdowns at Tech.

Robert Lavette played from 1981 to 1984. As a freshman, he was ACC third leading rusher (866 yards), third in receiving (45 receptions), first in all-purpose yards and first in kickoff returns.

As a sophomore, he led the ACC in rushing (1,208 yards), touchdowns (19) also a school and conference record, all-purpose yards (1,570 yards) and scoring average (10.4) points.

Lavette is the schools rushing leader with 4,066 yards and holds the record for rushing touchdowns with 45.

Keith Brooking played from 1994 to 1997. He’s the leading tackler in Georgia Tech history (467). He had two of the best tackle seasons in school history with 147 and 146, respectively, as a junior and sophomore.

Kelly Campbell was a great wide receiver and he held all of the records before Calvin Johnson.

Campbell is second in career receiving yards (2,907) and receiving touchdowns (24). He played from 1998 to 2001 so he was one of the favorite targets for Hamilton and Godsey.

This is a tough decision but I rank Joe Hamilton as the best Yellow Jacket.

Weak In the Knees?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Todd Gurley was in good form after the Rams released him, sharing a tweet about getting fired on his day off.

He made it clear that it was all business and nothing personal on Twitter before agreeing to a deal with the Falcons one day later.

After his contract with Atlanta was announced, Gurley had one last parting shot for the Rams for releasing him. The former UGA great thanked the Rams for his check today. The Rams, by releasing Gurley had to eat $20 million in dead money.

The Atlanta Falcons signed Gurley to a one year $5 million dollar contract, and the State of Georgia, which like the rest of the country is isolated due to Covid-19, was ecstatic with any good news related to sports at the moment.

Gurley grew up in North Carolina and played his college football at the University of Georgia where he was, outside of Herschel Walker the most talented running back to ever wear the red and black.

The Falcons passed on Gurley in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, when they chose Vic Beasley with the 8th selection and then just two picks later the Rams selected Gurley.

Gurley was coming off an ACL tear against Auburn in 2014 that ended his UGA career. Still it made many Falcon fans mad that Gurley was passed on by Atlanta.

Gurley has played five seasons in the NFL and has rushed for over 5,000 yards and 58 touchdowns. Todd Gurley is one of the top 2-3 running backs in the NFL when healthy.

Gurley’s health is a major question. Will the left knee holdup? Gurley will be 26 years old by the start of the season, his 6th in the NFL.

Whispers are that Gurley has an arthritic component in his surgically repaired knee, and that caused the Rams to manage his touches therefore resulting in the worst season of his career in 2019.

What makes Gurley special is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as his 218 career receptions would suggest. With Gurley coming to the Falcons now what will the Falcons get? Will they get the 2018 version or the 2019 version of Gurley?

I think he comes to Atlanta with a chip on his shoulder, and gives the Falcons the Pro Bowl player we have all come to love and respect. Matt Ryan gets another option in the passing game, and forces opposing teams to focus on a true three down back in Gurley.

With the addition of Gurley, Atlanta now has 10 first round picks starting on offense. Talent will not be a problem on offense in Atlanta.

The problem has been stopping people on defense for years. The Falcons also have brought in Dante Fowler to rush the passer, and now with the addition of Gurley the Falcons brass can focus on defense in the upcoming NFL draft. Every selection in the draft for Atlanta should be on defense.

Todd Gurley is on the Mount Rushmore of The University of Georgia running backs, and now he is back home in the state which he calls home. The Atlanta Falcons could be a force in the NFC in 2020, and if Todd Gurley is the Todd Gurley the State of Georgia knows then look out NFC.

Todd Gurley is back home and the Atlanta Falcons righted a wrong they made by passing on him in 2015.

Welcome Home Todd and thank you Rams for picking up the tab!

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