Joe Delaney

No Where To Go

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

No where to go but up?

Well, actually, the Panthers could lose 2 more games in 2024 than they did last year. Carolina went 2-15 last year and looked absolutely horrible doing it.

This franchise has issues that start at the top and that is never a good thing.

Panthers owner David Tepper has blown through coaches at an alarming rate. He has fired 3 different coaches in five years during the season. It is the main reason they are where they are today. Good luck to first year NFL coach Dave Canales. He’s gonna need it.

In 2023 the Panthers traded up to take Bryce Young with the number 1 pick. He was a great college QB at Alabama, who was literally thrown into the fire in Carolina.

At 5’10” and 200 lbs with a very average pro arm, he was ill equipped to lead a horrible offense into the NFL wars as a rookie.

The result was a sub 60% completion rate for around 2900 yards and 11 TDS and 10 interceptions. Then take into account the second pick in that draft was C J Stroud. He ended up as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. You get where this is going…..

Eleven games into the season Tepper fired Head Coach Frank Reich. The Panthers were 1-10 at the time.

As we move into 2024, the Panthers have made some solid moves that may help them move out of the NFL cellar.

They begin on offense. Here is where they suffered the most last year. They brought in Will Harriger to coach the QBs. He has the tough job of trying to revive Bryce Young. The kid was both mentally and physically crushed last year. Take into account he was sacked SIXTY-TWO times last year.

In an effort to keep Young upright the Panthers brought in two solid guards in Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis. These might be the best team acquisitions period. A reworked and improved O-line could be the key to the season in 2024.

The Panthers didn’t stop there. To their credit they went out and got WR Diontae Johnson. He brings something the WR room desperately needed. The ability to separate.

Next the Panthers made a great pick in Xavier Legette, the WR from South Carolina. Teamed with Adam Thielen, these guys give Bryce Young some weapons.

In the running back room, Chuba Hubbard, Miles Sanders and rookie Jonathon Brooks will be better with the improved Oline.

In 2023 the Panthers fielded an above average defense headed by Derrick Brown, one of the best players in the league. The guy is a monster. And when paired with A’Shawn Robinson and Shy Tuttle, this is a team strength.

At LB the Panthers went out and got Jadeveon Clowney and DJ Wonnum to run with the great Shaq Thompson. If these guys can play up to their potential then there will be no drop off on defense.

The secondary is led by Xavier Woods and Jaycee Horn, who are very good, although Horn needs to stay healthy.

Special teams are solid with Eddy Pineiro handling the kicking again and Johnny Hekker the punting. Hekker should have gotten overtime pay in 2023.

And finally, where do the Panthers go in 2024? My call is nowhere. The offense should be better and if it can keep the defense off the field it will help.

Keeping the offense somewhat balanced and giving Bryce Young time will be the key. But as I said the problem in my mind is at the top.

The next time David Tepper wants to fire someone, he should look in the mirror.

96

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As we stroll into the dog days of summer, many of us die hard Dawgs look to the upcoming football season while reminiscing about the great run that Georgia has been on. And it has been unquestionably the greatest run in University of Georgia History.

Yes, Wally Butts had some of those great early teams. The Rose Bowl win 9-0 over UCLA and national championship in 1942 was one for the ages.

It would be another 40-some-odd years before Vince, Herschel, Buck, Lindsey and the boys took UGA to the mountain top with the great run beginning with the 1980 national championship win over Notre Dame. Throw in the great games that year with South Carolina and above all Florida and it was a year like no other.

Fast forward to 2015 and enter one Mr. Kirby Smart. Since then, Georgia has been arguably the best college football team in the country.

Into this growing dynasty walks one Jack Podlesny in 2018. And he literally walks in as a walk on.

Coming from Glynn Academy, Jack Podlesny was a known commodity. He had hit 9 out of 10 field goals and 49-51 PATs. He was an all-region soccer player and had great technique. He had offers from Michigan, Georgia Tech and others but chose instead to walk on at the University of Georgia.

Georgia at the time was having a bromance with Rodrigo Blankenship. He was Georgia’s kicker and one of the most popular players on the team, and around the nation. It was hard not to love “Hot Rod” and those horn-rimmed glasses, but his time ran out at Georgia. It was time to find another kicker.

Enter Jack Podlesny. The young kicker redshirted and learned in 2018, backed up Blankenship in 2019, and then the next year won the starting job in preseason and responded by going 13-16 on field goals and nailing all 38 extra points.

It earned him a spot as a Lou Groza Award semifinalist. Who can forget the Peach Bowl and young Jack walking on the field to try a 53-yard game winning field goal with SEVEN seconds left on the clock. The ball is snapped, put down and the national announcer goes……  THERE IT IS…………………. GOT IT!!!!  Jack was 3-3 on Field goals in the game and named the Offensive Player of the Game.

Podlesny would go on to be one of the greatest kickers in University of Georgia history. Kevin Butler, Rex Robinson, Blair Walsh, Billy Bennett, Rodrigo Blankenship…. All great players. And yet none have the trophy case that Jack Podlesny has. Two national championship rings,  SEC special teams player of the year 2022, first team All SEC 2022, etc etc etc.

By the end of the 2022 season “Hot Pod” would go on to set numerous records including most points scored in a season at UGA. He would light it up for 151 points in 2022 and have the second most points 137 in 2021. He stands second in career field goal percentage to his mentor Blankenship at 82.47 for “Rod” and 82.43 for “Pod”.

While Jack is now with the Green Bay Packers, he recently received another honor that I’m sure he will cherish. UGA Sports just started counting down to the 2024 season by naming the greatest players in Georgia football history by descending numbers worn 99 to 0.

With number 96 worn by Jack Podlesny. A scrawny kid from St Simons, GA who grew up playing youth soccer on Jekyll then football at Glynn Academy.

The best football player in University of Georgia History to wear Number 96.

 

Living Legend

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It’s spring time! And while the Glynn Academy Red Terrors rack up win after win on the courts, the pitch, and the track. Let’s take a look at the numero uno Head man of the Glynn Academy football program. That’s Rocky Hidalgo.

Rocky came to Glynn in 2014. He inherited a program that while being competitive was also very tired.

Rob Ridings’ 10-year reign from 2004 to 2013 had stabilized the program. But the ‘my way or the highway’ regiment grew old to many. That included fans, boosters, coaches, players, and the administration.

By 2013 the writing was on the wall and ole Rob hit the road. The good thing about this was that the Glynn people had time to really look around and get a great, young, qualified coach. And that’s exactly what they did.

Enter one mister Rocky Hidalgo from Walton High School in Marietta.

Over a 5 year stretch from 2009 to 2013 Walton had won 40 games while losing only 18. This was also in the uber competitive North Atlanta area.

Could he bring his magic to a Glynn program that desperately needed leadership? Well, the proof is in the pudding. Glynn got the right guy.

As Rocky enters his second decade on the southside, Glynn has become a solid winning program. No, they haven’t won state…yet.

But they’ve come about as close as you can, losing in a great State Championship game in only his second year. Glynn fell to Allatoona 10-6  at the Georgia Dome. Add in a final four appearance in 2017 with a 4-point loss to eventual state champion Lee County and you get the idea. Glynn Academy football is in good hands.

To understand how positive this coach and staff have been. Take this into consideration. Rocky Hidalgo has won 81 games in 10 years at Glynn. He won 40 games in 5 years at Walton. As it sits right now, he is the second winningest coach in Red Terror history, which goes back to before World War 1.

He trails only the great C.M. Page who won 108 games over an 18-year span in the 40’s and 50’s. Add in Rockys’ 4 region championships in 10 years. Wow.

The results have come with some great players who have been committed to the program and the school. Rocky couldn’t win all those games and go deep into the playoffs without guys like Peyton Parker, David Prince, Greg Peacock, DeeJay Dallas, Garrison Heard, Kendall Cross, Randon Jernigan, Jack Podlesney, and on and on. Guys that were all dedicated to the program and committed to a winning tradition built by Coach Rocky Hidalgo.

Oh, and Glynn’s record against Brunswick during Rockys time with the Terrors is 7-3. Just wanted to be clear on that!

With the Terrors coming off of an 8-3 campaign in 2023, look for great things as the Red Terrors head into 2024 under the Rock!

The 5th Major

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2024 Players Championship at Sawgrass will go down as one of the best and most exciting golf tournaments in its 50-year history.

It will also go down as the first TPC with a back-to-back champion. Scottie Scheffler blistered the Sawgrass course on Sunday going out in 31 on the front nine and vaulting into contention.

He then ripped the back nine with three more birdies to card an unbelievable final round 64 and take home the 4.5 million dollar first place prize. He navigated the final round bogey free and came from way back. Scheffler showed why he’s currently the number one ranked player in the world.

Blessed with great weather on the weekend, the TPC Sawgrass course was on point. Great crowds, great golf and a great finish, the tournament was just outstanding.

From the drama of the 17th hole to the fantastic finish with three golfers trying to find a birdie on 18 to catch Scheffler, it was golf at its best.

Round one began with Rory Mcllroy, Xander Schauffele and Wyndham Clark all dropping  65s on the stadium course.

From day one this was going to be a battle of the heavyweights. Scheffler and RSM winner Ludvig Aberg were two shots back.

Round two at Sawgrass was the Wyndham Clark show. After shooting a 65 in the first round, Clark showed out with another 65 to take a 4-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 2023 U.S. Open winner was on top of his game and looked smooth and confident heading into the weekend. Four shots back were Nick Taylor and Xander Schauffele.

Saturday was moving day at the Players and it did not disappoint.

The 4 shot lead that Wyndham Clark carried into the round disappeared as Xander Schauffele took a one-shot lead into Sunday with Clark right behind him one shot off the pace. Brian Harman followed at 15 under while eventual winner Scottie Scheffler was a full 5 shots back.

Notables were Rory Mcllroy at -9 along with Ludvig Aberg. With 7 golfers within 5 shots of the lead, Sunday was shaping up to be a great day for the Players Championship. And boy oh boy it didn’t disappoint.

Sunday at the Players was a day to remember. With a beautiful spring day in northeast Florida with temps around 80 and a very manageable breeze, the stage was set for some great golf.

Scottie Scheffler began the day 5 shots back and after 3 straight pars, the man found his groove. After his iron shot at the fourth found the hole for an eagle and his putter dropped a long birdies on the fifth and the eighth, he found himself in contention only one shot back. Another putt at the ninth leading to a front nine 31 and he was tied.

But Schauffele, Harman, and Clark weren’t going anywhere and it was game on for one of the most exciting nine holes of golf in TPC history.

Clark began with a bogey on the 10th that dropped him 2 shots back of Schauffele and Scheffler.

Harman sat at -17 two back. By the twelfth all four golfers were within a shot of each other. As they dueled over the next 4 holes, Scheffler went one up and finished first at -20.  His 67, 69, 68, 64 set the bar.

Could the three amigos catch him with 2 holes to play?

What followed was Sunday PGA golf at its best. Schauffele came off 2 bogies to birdie 16. That put him one back with 2 to play.

He would hit a beautiful shot within 10 feet on 17 only to watch his putt and a chance to tie slide by the hole.

Wyndham Clark was next at the island hole with a beautiful approach shot within 5 feet. He knocked it down to get within one.

To the 18th we went with the tournament in the balance. Harman would put it on the green at 18 only to watch his putt slide by and finish one back.

Next Schauffele would miss right and have a long birdie miss. He would finish one back also.

Clark coming off the birdie at 17 would hit a great second into the 18th green. With a chance to tie Scheffler,  he hit a putt that will be replayed for years to come. From about 15 feet the putt was perfect.  Within 2 feet it slightly slides to the left and then lipped in and out of the hole coming to rest back toward Clark.  No one could believe it didn’t drop.

It was a heartbreaker but a fitting end to a Players that will be talked about for years.

Scottie Scheffler takes his second tournament win in a row and his second Players in a row with a come from behind win being 7 shots back at one time on Saturday.

Great golf, great crowds, great finish, and a great tournament.

The SEC Mine Field

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

This year for the first time ever in college football we have a new piece to the equation. That’s the new 12 team playoff scenario.

Many across the country felt that Georgia was the best team in the country in 2023. And that was after the Michigan Wolverines spanked the Washington Huskies in the NCAA National Championship game.

But they picked a bad time to play a very average game and lost the SEC championship to old nemesis Alabama 27-24. With the 4-team playoff in place all Georgia could say was woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Well hopefully this new format will give a more rounded playoff and throw a little more excitement into it. Let’s take a way too early look at the SEC contenders for a spot in the 2024 playoffs.

ALABAMA: The biggest news in college football this year was Nick Saban heading off into the sunset.

In comes Washington Huskies Kalen DeBoer to lead the Crimson Tide. Offensively the Tide return Jalen Milroe, who came on at the end of the season and was instrumental in the upset of then #1 Georgia.

Add in budding star Justice Haynes at RB and a solid returning O-line with experience and the Tide could be tough on Offense. Losing Isiah Bond and Amari Niblack to the portal won’t help though.

The defense was wrecked by the NFL draft, the portal, and the coaching change. While they ranked 17th in the country giving up only 19 PPG in 2023, 2024 could be a different story. Bama’s season will rest on the D.

GEORGIA: While Dawg nation had all the respect in the world for Nick Saban, they are damn glad he’s gone.

Playing a sub-par game when it counted, the Dawgs fell 27-24 to the Tide in the SEC championship and missed a chance at a 3-peat.

Well, the Dawgs are back and reloaded for 2024.

Back is Carson Beck, who threw for 22 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He has first round NFL written all over him.

The RBs should be one of the best in the country with the addition of Trevor Etienne. Add in a massive, talented O-line and a very good returning receiving corp and the Dawgs are loaded on offense.

Defensively, the Dawgs return starters and experience throughout. Nazir Stackhouse, Mykel Williams, Smael Mondon, Daylen Everett, and Malaki Starks all return.

There is talent, speed and experience and the defense should be solid.

Add in a great placekicker in Peyton Woodring and the Dawgs are ready for run. The #1 recruiting class this year won’t hurt either.

TEXAS: Welcome to the SEC, Texas!

The Longhorns bring a great winning tradition, a rabid fanbase and a loaded experienced outfit to the SEC in 2024.

Texas returns Quinn Evers at QB and 4 of 5 starters on the O-line. That’s 2 major pieces to the puzzle in the rugged SEC.

The WR room has been bolstered by the addition of Matthew Golden and Silas Bolden from the portal. Add in Isiah Bond from Alabama and this could be a team strength.

On the defensive side the Horns will miss T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II.

They do have returning experience and starters throughout the defense and should be solid. This will be a very good football team in 2024.

How they deal with the week-in week-out physicality of the SEC will be fun to watch.

So, those are the three top dogs in the SEC for 2024? But there is a sleeper or two.

OLE MISS: Nobody likes the Portal as much as Lane Kiffin.

And so far in 2024 the Rebs have added 17.

Ole Miss returns Jaxson Dart at QB and he leads an offense that is flat loaded.

The O-line is experienced and SEC proven and includes Jeremy James, a two-year starter who grew up in Brunswick and played for our U-12 all-stars, the Broncos. Great kid and family.

Add in a great group of WRs for Dart to connect with and the Rebels will be formidable on offense.

Defensively Pete Golding likes to rotate, rotate, then rotate players. That leads to a lot of experience on that side of the ball. Add in the portal additions and the Rebels will be improved on D in 2024.

LSU: You’ve got to hand it to Brian Kelly,  the dude can coach football.

He brings a squad to the table that on any given day can beat any of the above.

Offensively, look for Garrett Nussmeier to have a great year. The second-string gunslinger from 2023 will lead the Tigers in 2024 and he is one of the better QBs in the league right NOW.

The O-line is physical and returns 4 starters.

The defense is experienced and returns players throughout the lineup. Add in Harold Perkins, one of the most electric defensive players in the nation and LSU is loaded. You better bring you’re A game with these guys.

The SEC is going to be fantastic in 2024. We could very easily see 3 teams in the 12-team playoff.

Don’t sleep on Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Oklahoma.  I just hope we haven’t beaten ourselves to death by playoff time.

The Portal

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As the Bulldawg nation slides into 2024 there is so much to look forward to.

The past few years have firmly stationed Kirby Smart as one of the best college football coaches in the country. Probably THE BEST with the recent retirement of the GOAT, Nick Saban from Alabama.

And while Kirby prefers to build his Dawgs through the traditional means of recruitment of the best high school players throughout the country, he is also dealing with the here and now, and that means NIL and the Portal.

The Dawgs have used the Portal in the past to great success.

Players such as Derion Kendrick, Lawrence Cager, Tre McKitty, J.T. Daniels, Tykee Smith, Dominic Lovett, and Ra Ra Thomas all found their way to Athens through the Portal.

In 2024 the Bulldogs will welcome several pieces to the puzzle in Trevor Etienne the great RB from the lousy stinking Gators, Colbie Young a 6’5” WR from Miami, and Xzavier McLeod a highly recruited 325 lb defensive lineman from the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Add in London Humphreys, a speedy WR from Vanderbilt, who reminds me of our own great Ladd McConkey, and Jake Pope a former 4-star DB from Alabama and the Dawgs got just what they needed.

And while the portal giveth………. The portal also taketh away. If you put all the former Georgia players who have left the program in the Kirby era on one team, that team would compete for a national championship. Think I’m kidding?  Check out this list.

 

QBs……………………  Justin Fields, JT Daniels, Brock Vandagriff

 

RBs……………………. Sevaughn Clark

 

WRs and TEs………. Demetris Robertson, Arik Gilbert, Dom Blaylock, AD Mitchell, Luke Ford, Matt Landers, Jermaine Burton, Justin Robinson. Brett Seither, Mekhi Mews

 

O-line………………….. Clay Webb, Cade Mays, Jacob Hood, Joshua Miller, Aliou Bah, Austin Blaske

 

D-line………………….. Bear Alexander, Marvin Jones Jr., Jonathan Jefferson, Brenton Cox, Jermaine Johnson, Bill Norton

 

LBs…………………….. Trezmen Marshall, C. J. Madden, Darris Smith, Xavian Sorey, Jamon Dumas-Johnson,

 

DBs…………………….. Latavious Brini, Jalen Kimber, Ameer Speed, Major Burns, Otis Reese, Jaheim Singletary, A.J. Harris, Nyland Green

 

Heck let’s just throw in a kicker also………… Jared Zirkel

And I won’t even get into the coaches! Fran Brown, Dan Lanning etc etc.

It’s amazing how much talent has gone in and out of Athens in the last few years.

While some will pine for the good old days when high school recruiting was the end all be all, the NIL and portal are here to stay. It will always be fluctuating as players seek greener pastures for numerous reasons whether it be money, playing time, coaching changes, grades, etc etc.

Georgia will win some and lose some just like the Caleb Downs sweepstakes. But through it all, Kirby and the Dawgs will continue their recent run of success.

Why will the Dawgs continue to win? Because they are being built to last. Look at that list above. It’s incredible the amount of talent that has left Athens.

But the kicker is that the Dawgs will bring in the #1 ranked recruiting class in the nation again this year. And with Nick cooling his jets at his new multimillion dollar pad in Florida, the one guy that could recruit with Kirby is now sipping a pina colada.

Its next man up in Athens and the next man might be better than the one he is replacing.

Yes, the Portal and NIL will continue to affect college football in ways we haven’t seen before. The combination of recruiting number one and the portal use as needed is what will keep the Dawgs on top………… You don’t believe me………just watch!

 

Terror Town 2023

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Well, as we head toward the holidays, it’s time to take a look back at the 2023 Red Terrors football season.

The Terrors rolled to a successful 8-3 campaign, claiming the second seed in the region, and barely missing out on another playoff win. And while the Red and White southsiders would have loved a few more W’s, it was all and all a great season capped off with an overtime sinking of a Pirate ship. Any season with a city championship win over the Brunswick Pirates is considered a successful campaign for the Red Terrors. Trust me, I know!

So, let’s do a quick recap of another fine season for the Terrors and take a quick look at what’s coming back for the 2024 outfit.

8/18  Glynn Academy vs Statesboro Blue Devils. Terrors roll in the opener 21-0.

8/25  Glynn Academy @ MCA Buccaneers. The Red Terrors cruise up Highway 17 and take out the always tough Buccaneers in a close one 14-6. McIntosh Academy always plays bigger than they are and this one was no exception.

9/1 Glynn Academy vs Camden County Widcats. The Terrors find out on this Friday night that they aint the biggest boys on the block as the Wildcats rough up the homestanding Terrors 44-13. The Wildcats and Jeff Herron go on to the Final Four of the 7A playoffs.

9/7 Glynn Academy vs Baker County (FL) Wildcats. Glynn grounds out a tough 27-20 win over the Wildcats to bounce back into the win column and all eyes turn to the Pirates, who have already taken out a Camden team that ripped Glynn the week before.

9/22 Glynn Academy vs  Brunswick High Pirates. Ahhhhhhhhhhh lets enjoy this one again. The Red Terrors sink the Pirates in a 22-15 overtime thriller.

The City Championship once again resides in the Glynn Academy trophy case. In this one the Terrors and Pirates find common ground from the top down to the 3rd stringers. We don’t like them and they don’t like us. Agreed……. Once again GLYNN 22 Brunswick 15.

9/29  Glynn Academy @ Effingham County Rebels. What goes up…………  The Red Terrors play like they have a hangover that a whole bottle of aspirin won’t help. 49-3 Rebels, who go on to win the region championship.

10/6  Glynn Academy vs South Effingham High School Mustangs. The Terrors regroup and pulverize the Mustangs 35-0.

10/12 Glynn Academy @ Grovetown Warriors. Glynn has a nice trip up north and walks and runs all over Grovetown 43-3.

10/20 Glynn Academy @ Evans Knights. Another road trip and another win as the Terrors take out a tough Evans team 22-14.

11/3 Glynn Academy vs Lakeside Panthers. The Terrors get tuned up for the 6A playoffs with a 50-7 pasting of the Panthers at Glynn County Stadium.

11/10 Glynn academy vs Jonesboro Cardinals. Let’s see, what do you get when you fumble 3 times and have 2 punts blocked? It doesn’t matter who you are. 98% of the time you lose.

Well, the Terrors did their absolute best to be in the 2% but fall short in a heartbreaker 32-31.

Too many mistakes to overcome against a team that took advantage of them.

The Terrors lose at home in the final game of the year and end up with an 8-3 record. Not what Coach Rock and the Terrors wanted but another successful campaign for the Red and White.

The Terrors graduated some real leaders in 2023. Kids that worked their tails off and stuck with the program.

Among them were Peyton Parker, who earned Region Defensive Player of the Year, and David Prince Glynn’s great wide receiver.

The all-region team was well represented with Jayden Ellis at QB, Parker, Prince, RB Willie Butler, Max Poysky OL, Quay Evans DL, Da’Vontae Lang ILB, Trent Tankersley OLB, Ryan Young DB, Marshan Turner DB and Tuck Tucker P all First Team selections.

Second teamers included Deuce Hidalgo TE, Harrison Knight OL, Camden Wilson DL, Gavin Wells OLB and T.Y. Chisom DB. Honorable Mentions were Michael Torello FB, Zeb Jackson WR, Sean Wallace WR, Caziah Alston, Benton Dyal and Josh Baker all on the OL, Tae Green DL, Chandler Owens LB, Bruce Edwards DB and LS Jeb Carson.

Quite a list and a testament to the consistent work ethic put in by the Terrors and the coaching staff.

As the Terrors look forward to 2024, they do so with a great nucleus to build on. The Offense has 3 linemen and 4 of the best skill players in southeast Georgia coming back. If the young line develops the Terrors will be very dangerous next year.

Defensively it’s the same story, 3 seasoned linemen, a linebacker, and a very good DB form a solid group to build around.

Tuck Tucker returns to kick and punt also. The coaching staff has a lot of work to do but a great core to work with.

Look for Rocky Hidalgo and the Terrors to build on the success of the young 2023 outfit and fight for more in 24!

Take The Money And Run?

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Well, I wanted to be writing this article about Brock Bowers and his push to win a Heisman Trophy. The big, fast Georgia Tight End had all the parts in place to be the first true Heisman candidate in decades and the first Tight End to win the award since Leon Hart in 1949.

Brock’s statistics are off the chart. He is the reigning Mackey Award winner and his team is ranked #1 and coming off 2 National Championships. Pretty heady stuff.

Add in that he has been putting up award winning stats since he walked on the field as a freshman and the rising junior was definitely in the mix with all the QBs and RBs.

I mentioned in my last article about Bowers that barring injury, he had a real shot. All that changed in Nashville, Tennessee on October 14th against the Vanderbilt Commodores when that injury happened.

An ankle sprain that required a follow up surgery will sideline the Georgia great for 4 to 8 weeks. That could take Brock out for the remainder of the regular season or maybe the entire year. There is also a possibility that the Bulldog Nation has seen Brock Bowers in Red and Black for the last time.

Georgia will still have one of the best TE groups in the country. Oscar Delp would start for 90 per cent of the teams Georgia play. He will step into the starting position with speed, athletic ability and experience. He is very good. But he aint Brock.

Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie back him up and are solid young pups that are coming on. Some pundits have compared the young Luckie in many ways to Brock.

Some going as far as calling him Brock 2.0. Very high praise but they aint Brock.

Add in the upgrades, experience and athleticism of the current Georgia wide receivers and Carson Beck will have plenty of options to throw to. He and the Georgia offense will continue to have success. But he aint got Brock Bowers.

In Georgias first 7 games Brock had 41 receptions for 567 yards and 4 scores for a 13.8 YPC. Add in 6 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Then take into account that in some of those games he rarely played in the second half and you get the picture what Georgia is losing.

The inevitable question is where do we go from here. The best scenario is Brock is back for the playoffs, not missing a beat, helping and leading Georgia to a “3 in 23”.  The other end of that is that he is done as a Dawg.

Brock Bowers was and is still a lock as a first round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Some have listed him as a “generational talent” and expect him to go top 5.

Either way he is looking at a payday for life as a first round NFL pick. With all he has done for the University of Georgia and the Bulldog nation, should he even think about coming back? He will.

He will think long and hard about it and try his best to rehabilitate that ankle. That’s the type of young man he is.

Kirby Smart has long said that Brock Bowers is the hardest working Dawg around. Bowers has a deep love for the school, his teammates, coaches and the Bulldog Nation.

If he can comeback and it makes sense then he will. He has all the support he needs and Kirby will shoot him straight. If he dons the Red and Black again it will be for the right reasons.

I lean toward him not coming back. My heart says yeah he’ll be back but my mind says no.

He has the opportunity to set himself and his family up for life. To jeopardize that and get reinjured would be the worst thing imaginable.

Brock Bowers has done everything he can for his University. He is the best tight end and one of the top 5 players to ever play for the Dawgs. He has done his part. I hope I’m wrong on this, but it may be time for Brock to take the money……and when he can…RUN.

Brock Bowers is a Unicorn

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Brock Bowers is a GOAT.

Yeah everyone knows what a GOAT is. Most people say Tom Brady is the GOAT of Pro Football. Pretty hard to argue with that. There is always spirited conversation between this guy and that guy being the best and that’s what makes it fun.

My GOAT is Ali. In his prime he was simply above everybody and the great thing was HE TOLD YOU SO! “I’m the greatest!” “I’m so petty and you ugly Joe Frazier.”

It was wonderful and the man backed up everything he said. In a time of great division in our country, Muhammed Ali said “I aint got no fight with no Viet Cong.” It cost him several years of his prime to do what he thought was right. He didn’t just say it, he lived it. Yeah, he was my GOAT. Pretty rarified air up that high on the mountaintop.

GOATs also generally have certain standards that they have to live up to. That means championships and carrying teams on their backs when needed. That makes me think of 2 GOATS,  Michael Jordan in basketball and Herschel in college football.

Michael won championship after championship and sometimes carried the team when he had to. He also made clutch shots when needed. Ask Craig Ehlo and the 1989 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Herschel on the other hand had a much shorter career but burst on the scene like an Atomic Bomb. Whether it was stomping on Bill Bate’s chest in the opening game of the 1980 season or routinely running away from 180-190 lb DBs.

Herschel made the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs. They absolutely don’t win the national championship without him. “MY GOD A FRESHMAN” were the words of the GOAT of all college football announcers, Larry Munson.

So how in the heck could we think some tight end of all people could be a GOAT? Because he is. Brock Bowers is simply the best tight end to ever play college football.

Sure, there is a crowded room with the likes of Tony Gonzalez, Kyle Pitts, Keith Jackson, and others. But Brock just has something different. He has been tabbed as “generational” by pundits and he is one of the reasons the Dawgs are back-to-back National Champions and going for “3 in 23”.

Has he had to carry a team, no. Would the team win without him, probably. But the guy comes to work every day, does his job, and outworks everyone. Kirby calls him a “machine.”

Bowers is out of Napa, California. His game highlights tape included videos of him running up and down the California hills. The Georgia staff was impressed. They offered, and Brock thought he’d look great in Red and Black. The rest is history.

The 6’4” 240lb tight end made a mark the first week he was on campus. Especially when he began running away from DBs in practice on one of the best defenses ever in college football.

By the season opener it was apparent that he was special. That chiseled frame moved along at a 4.5 40 clip. He was one of the fastest dawgs right out of the gate.

Brock’s 2021 season was amazing. He racked up 56 receptions for 882 yards for a 15.8 avg. and 13 TDs.

Add to that, 4 carries for 56 yards and another touchdown.

In 2022, he was just as good if not better. As a focal point of the offense, he was often double teamed and bracketed by DBs and LBs.

It didn’t matter. Sixty-three catches for 942 yards. A 15.0 avg and 7 TDS. Nine carries for 109 yards and 3 TDS. And let’s not forget that the man blocks like a maniac.  He won the John Mackey award as the best TE in the nation along with first team everything! The pro scouts are drooling.

Barring injury, 2023 will be a repeat and then most likely it’s on to the NFL where many have him listed as the number two overall player in college football behind only last year’s Heisman winner Caleb Williams.

Enjoy this year Georgia fans and make sure you appreciate what you have in number 19. Throw in his ‘team first’ attitude and first guy in and last guy out of the football facility at Georgia and it’s easy to spell his name. Brock Bowers is the GOAT.

GO DAWGS!

It’s Good!

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It just a PAT right? Point after touchdown……easy peasy.

The team scores and the kicker comes in and tacks on another point.

Tuck Tucker, the kicker for the Glynn Academy Red Terrors, has hit 10 of them so far in this short season.

I was lucky enough to coach Tuck when he was 11 and 12 years old. I coach the kickers and QBs and he was our kicker on the 2019 State Championship Glynn County Broncos U-12 rec department team.

Head down, drive through Tuck! You lift your head, your running another lap! I don’t know if he was extremely coachable or hated running laps. Probably a little of both! Just a great kid with a great attitude.

Fast forward to today and while Tuck is kicking for the Red Terrors, he’s stepped into something much bigger. He has become a part of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to researching and finding cures and assisting children with pediatric cancers.

Alexandra “Alex” Scott was born in 1996, the second of 4 children in the Scott family. At the age of 1 she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a deadly type of childhood cancer.

At the age of 4 Alex asked her parents if she could open a lemonade stand to help with the fight against the disease. Out of this wooden Lemonade stand, selling cups of lemonade with the proceeds going to Cancer research, grew the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation that has raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research.

The Foundations motto is “Fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time.” The mission statement is “Our mission is to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.”

You can donate by going to the Foundation site online or at the lemonade stand at the Red Terrors home games.

And while you’re on the website, look for Tucks page.

Just type in Tuck Tucker on the ALSF search bar. His page is KICK! Cancer with Tuck Tucker.

It reads the following, “Im holding a fundraiser to help Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation move one step closer to finding a cure for all children with cancer. Ill be dedicating my season to kids with cancer by turning my stats into life-saving research dollars”.

“Please make a donation of any amount toward my fundraising goal. The money you donate will pay for research to find better treatments and cures for childhood cancer. You can help kids and their families by providing desperately needed hope!”

The Foundation has funded more than ONE THOUSAND Medical Research Grants since 2005.

According to Dr. David Poplack, “The ALSF grant program is helping researchers throughout the country move closer to the day when a cure is a reality…”

The ALSF is the only childhood cancer research organization that has been given the National Cancer Institute peer-reviewed funder designation for rigorous selection of research grants.   That’s how donations are helping.

I’d love to say that Alex Scott is alive and well and working with the Foundation. She would be 27 years old now. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Pediatric cancer is a killer and it took Alex’s life in 2004 at the age of 8. Before she died, Alex had raised over a million dollars for cancer research and inspired all around her. And it all started with a front yard lemonade stand and a girl who cared. So does Tuck. Give if you can.

As I was talking to Tuck, our conversation naturally went to kicking and I asked the junior kicker about the season.

He said he had made 10 out of 12 PATS with one of those being a block.

Well, what about the first one that you missed I asked? He said he saw the rush and clanked it off the crossbar. I said yep, you raised your head……..I didn’t make him run a lap.