Kipp Branch

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Plundering Pirates

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2020 Brunswick High Pirates on paper have a chance to be a pretty good football team this fall.

Sean Pender enters his 4th season as head coach of the Pirates and the Pirate faithful are excited about this upcoming football season.

The Pirates have some solid returning talent coming back in 2020 from a 6-6 season in 2019 that saw Brunswick win their first playoff game since 2010 before falling to eventual State Champion Harrison in the second round of the playoffs.

The BHS offense will be led by the two headed monster at running back Chukobe Hill and Khamori Simmons. This running back group for the Pirates refers to themselves as the “Wolfpack” and will be the best RB group in the region. Hill and Simmons combined for 1,600 rushing yards as sophomores in 2019 with Hill rushing for 1,058.

The offensive line has two 300-pound athletes that will open holes in senior Caleb Cook and Kanaya Charlton. Both athletes are generating a lot of recruiting buzz. Cook is impressive in the weight room and can squat over 500 lbs.

Xavier Bean will lead a deep group of wide receivers and KJ Lee will be back for his senior season at QB.

Lee is the wild card for BHS. Lee has put in the work, trimmed down and looks good for the 2020 season. Lee led BHS to a huge comeback win at New Hampstead last year that saved the 2019 season.

On defense the Pirates have size and athletic ability on the defensive line with players like Kayshawn Thomas.

Camron Crump is a huge producer at linebacker returns for his senior season.

Amarion Whitfield moves to corner from WR this fall and looks good so far.

Devonte Gadson and Derrick Smith both had solid 2019 seasons in the secondary.

Breakout player this season will be AJ Wilson. Wilson has bulked up to 225 pounds this offseason and is ready to be an all-star candidate at LB for BHS.

Schedule and Predictions: * Region Game

8/21: @ Windsor Forest (Savannah, GA): Pirates go on the road and unleash the Wolfpack on the Knights. Pirates 34-7 go to 1-0

8/28: McIntosh County Academy (Darien, GA): The Bucs come to Glynn County Stadium and fight hard, but don’t have the depth to beat BHS. Pirates win 35-14 to go to 2-0

9/4: Beach (Savannah, GA): BHS goes to 3-0 with a 38-8 win over Beach.

9/10: @ New Hampstead (Savannah, GA): New Hampstead will have athletes. BHS and The Phoenix played a classic in 2019, but BHS has all of their playmakers returning on offense in 2020. BHS wins 40-18 to go to 4-0

9/25: Glynn Academy *: First region game is the City Championship against the Terrors.

BHS is the home team and has lost 6 straight in the series. Glynn won in 2019 with a walk off field goal, 24-21.

The teams look even on paper, but until BHS has a lead on a scoreboard that reads 0:00 then Glynn is the pick here. GA wins 25-22. Pirates drop to 4-1 and 0-1.

10/2: @ South Effingham (Guyton, GA)*: The Mustangs move back up to 6A after a playoff berth in 2019. Pirates go to the Corral and win 34-17 to go 5-1 and 1-1.

10/9: Statesboro (Statesboro, GA)*: The Blue Devils are also back in 6A. Statesboro made the playoffs in 2019 and have been a massive rebuild for the last few seasons. Pirates win at home 28-20 to go to 6-1 and 2-1.

10/16: @ Richmond Hill (Richmond Hill, GA)*: The Wildcats, with 7A numbers, stayed in 6A after getting a waiver from the GHSA.

The Wildcats should be the region favorites and BHS has lost two straight to them. Make it 3. Richmond Hill wins 24-20. BHS drops to 6-2 and 2-2.

10/30: @ Bradwell Institute (Hinesville, GA)*: Interesting fact is BHS has lost the last two times they have played the Tigers in Hinesville. That streak won’t reach three. BHS wins 35-13. Pirates go to 7-2 and 3-2 in region play.

11/6: Effingham County (Springfield, GA)*: Effingham County is in rebuild mode. Pirates win 40-17 to finish the regular season at 8-2 and 4-2 in the region.

BHS will be a solid playoff team in 2020.

Beast Of The East

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

College football in the SEC is back operational again with players being back on campus and working out getting ready for the 2020 football season. Here is my predicted finish for the SEC East this fall.

1.Georgia: The Georgia Bulldogs have out-recruited everyone in the SEC East by a mile lately.

The roster is stacked with the only legit question is what will UGA do at the QB position.

The QB room is stocked from a talent perspective. Will JT Daniels be granted a waiver to play immediately like Justin Fields was at Ohio State? We all know UGA has that road trip to Alabama on 9/19. Many think that will be a loss.

The QB job looks like it is Jamie Newman’s to lose right now. If Newman lives up to the hype this team will be in the national title hunt.

Games of concern for 2020: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and South Carolina. Final regular season record: 11-1 with a loss at Alabama or Auburn.

2.Florida: The Gators are on the way back and are the trendy pick in the SEC East this fall.

Why is that the case? They don’t have a more talented roster than UGA and Dan Mullen is 0-3 against Kirby Smart as a head coach.

I see question marks at running back, wide receiver, and defensive line for Florida.

Florida should be recruiting at a higher level than they currently are.

Can Brenton Cox live up to his five-star hype and be the pass rusher the Gators need?

Dan Mullen is regarded as a great game day coach. I don’t think the Gators are there yet. Close but not there.

Games of concern this fall: Kentucky, Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia, and FSU. Final regular season record 10-2 with losses to LSU, and Georgia. Ole Miss is a trap game.

3.Tennessee: I was on vacation in North Georgia this week and I saw Tennessee shirts everywhere on tourists. I haven’t seen that in years, which means the Tennessee fan base is getting excited again about Tennessee football.

There are plenty of reasons to be excited because Jeremy Pruitt is turning this thing around in Knoxville.

Tennessee has been a dumpster fire for a decade now. QB is a concern along with roster depth across the board. We will know all we need to know about the Vols when they travel to Oklahoma in week 2.

Games of concern this fall: Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia. Final regular season record 8-4 with losses to Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.

4.Kentucky: The Cats have as many as 18 starters returning and will be a thorn in the side of just about everyone they play, but this is not March and Kentucky finds ways to lose football games they can win. Games of concern this fall: Florida, South Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee, and Georgia. Final regular season record 8-4 with losses to Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia.

5.South Carolina: Will Muschamp is on the hot seat in Columbia.

The schedule is brutal once again. Can Carolina get six wins and a bowl game?

Games of concern this fall: Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU, Clemson. Carolina will have to beat Kentucky in Lexington to go 6-6. I see Carolina losing all of the games above and finishing 5-7 with a decent football team.

6.Missouri: The Tigers are in full rebuild mode.

Games of concern this fall: Every SEC contest. I see the Tigers going 4-8 with its lone SEC win being over Vanderbilt.

7.Vanderbilt: The only win I can see on Vandy’s schedule this fall is opening day against Mercer.

Final record 1-11 and the firing of Derek Mason. Good football coach at an impossible place to win.

Labor Day weekend can’t get here quick enough.

A New-Man Day

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Every UGA fan I know is trying to find out what they can about UGA quarterback Jamie Newman, who many expect to be the starting quarterback for the University of Georgia this fall.

Newman attended Graham High School in Graham, North Carolina. He was a four-year starter at quarterback in high school. He committed to Wake Forest University to play college football. He was rated a three-star prospect coming out of high school.

Newman redshirted his first year at Wake Forest in 2016. As a backup to John Wolford in 2017, he completed two of four passes for eight yards and an interception.

Newman entered 2018 as a backup to Sam Hartman, but started the final four games after Hartman was hurt.

He was named the 2018 Birmingham Bowl MVP after throwing for 328 yards and a touchdown.

For the season, he completed 84 of 141 passes for 1,083 yards, 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Newman beat out Hartman for the starting job entering 2019.

He enjoyed a breakout season as a redshirt junior in Wake Forest’s high-scoring offense, accounting for 32 total touchdowns, 2,868 passing yards and 574 rushing yards in 2019.

On January 10, 2020, Newman announced that he would transfer to the University of Georgia for his final year of eligibility.

He had a 10-6 record as a starter the last two seasons.

Newman will be counted on to replace Jake Fromm, while leading Georgia back to the SEC championship game for the fourth straight season. He brings a skill set to the position that UGA fans have not seen since the days of DJ Shockley and Aaron Murray; that is a QB who is true dual threat.

Newman at 6’4 and 225 pounds can run the football, and it’s on new offensive coordinator Todd Monken to make that work.

Head Coach Kirby Smart is saying all the right things about the QB position during the most unusual offseason any football coach has dealt with during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Newman is going into the fall without the benefit of a spring practice, and some are saying that he doesn’t have the reps to pick up the new offense in time for the fall. He comes to Athens with a degree from Wake Forest University so I wouldn’t worry about him not picking up the system in time.

The Question that many are asking: Will Jamie Newman be a drop off from Jake Fromm?

Many will say yes to this question, but I’m going to say it will be an upgrade and that is because Newman brings two things to UGA that Jake struggled with and that is throwing the deep ball, and being a threat with his legs.

Newman plugs into one of the most talented rosters in the country and his strengths will make the UGA offense dangerous. Georgia has talented skill people; vastly more talented that what Newman had at his disposal at Wake Forest.

Quick stats for you from 2019, Jamie Newman was ranked second behind Joe Burrow last season in throwing into tight windows and on 20 yard or more throws Newman ranked second nationally in 2019.

Newman was breakout player in 2019 and the likes of Oklahoma and Oregon wanted to plug Newman into their program badly.

Kirby Smart pulled out a huge recruiting win in landing Jamie Newman. UGA may have the best defense in the country in 2020, and now they have a true dual threat QB to run the offense. And let’s face, it’s an offense that needs major tweaks.

If Jamie Newman does what I think he can do this fall he could be a legend in the Classic City.

He has a better skill set than any other QB in the SEC East and would start for any of those teams.

Divisional

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As shelter in place rules begin to ease up our country is more sports starved than ever. Football is still king in this country and especially in the South. Let’s rank the all the divisions from worst to first in the NFL this week.

  1. NFC East: Dallas, Philadelphia, NY Giants, and Washington. This is a division where every member has won a Super Bowl. The division has 13 Super Bowl titles, but currently is the worst division in the NFL.

The Eagles won the NFC East with a 9-7 record in 2019 which speaks volumes. Who does less with more than the Dallas Cowboys? The Giants are rebuilding, and who the hell knows what the Redskins are doing.

  1. AFC East: Buffalo, Miami, NY Jets, and New England.

New England is the premier franchise in the NFL, but with Tom Brady in Tampa the decline seems real. Buffalo is a solid team, but do they have what it takes to win a playoff game? The Jets could be a dark horse for most improved team, and Miami is a total rebuild at the moment.

  1. AFC South: Houston, Indy, Jacksonville, and Tennessee.

I’m just not very high on the division simply because the brand of football is boring.

Tennessee is solid, but watching the Titans is the equivalent of watching paint dry.

Houston has internal issues, Indy is on the rebound, and the Jaguars are trying to revamp the defense.

If you want to catch up on lost sleep then tune into the AFC South this fall.

  1. NFC South: Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay.

All of the hype this offseason is with the Bucs with Tom Brady taking over, but this is a bad division.

New Orleans is clearly the class of the division. Atlanta has been searching for a defense since the Super Bowl meltdown against the Patriots. Carolina is a mess at the moment, and Tampa with a 43-year-old Brady, will be a disappointment in my opinion.

  1. AFC West: Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, and LA Chargers.

The Chiefs are the best team in football with the best QB on the planet in Patrick Mahomes, but the rest of the division is weak.

The Raiders move to Vegas and the city is excited. The Broncos can’t seem to gain any traction as of late, and the Chargers have no fan base in Los Angeles. Build a stadium in San Diego and go back home Chargers.

  1. AFC North: Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.

Lamar Jackson is the reigning MVP for the Ravens; Pittsburgh will come back strong in 2020. Cleveland could be a surprise team, and the Bengals with Joe Burrow may be an exciting team this fall.

This is an underrated division.

  1. NFC North: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, and Minnesota.

If Detroit could pull its weight this would be the best division in football.

Green Bay and Minnesota are solid playoff teams and the Bears are a QB away from being a contender with that defense.

Why didn’t the Bears trade for Cam Newton?

  1. NFC West: Arizona, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco and Seattle.

This is the toughest and best division from top to bottom in football.

Let’s start with the Cardinals. Write this down, this could be a division where all four teams finish with a winning record.

The Cardinals are building around Kyler Murray, and look out for them. The Rams were just in the Super Bowl two years ago, and just missed the playoffs in 2019. The 49ers and Seahawks rank in the top 5 best teams in the NFL. This division could produce three playoff teams in 2020.

2021 Super Bowl will be Kansas City vs Seattle and former Glynn Academy star Dee Jay Dallas will play in the Super Bowl as a rookie for the Seattle Seahawks.

On The Prowl

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2020 NFL Schedule has been released. Let’s take a look and predict how the season will play out for Jacksonville Jaguars.

 

Week 1: September 13, Indianapolis Colts: The Jags open up the season at home against a much improved Colts team with Philip Rivers at QB.

Colts will have a very good defense, and with Rivers at QB Indy feels like they are the favorites in the AFC South. At home in the Jacksonville heat I’m going with Jacksonville 24-20. Jacksonville is 1-0 on the season.

Week 2: September 20, at Tennessee Titans: Jacksonville cannot beat Tennessee and will not in Nashville.

Derrick Henry chews up the Jags run defense and the Titans roll to a 31-13 win.

Tennessee is a sleeper team in the AFC. Jacksonville is 1-1 on the season.

Week 3: September 24, Miami Dolphins: Tua rolls into the River City and gets pressured all day by an inspired Jags defense. Jacksonville beats the Dolphins 28-13 to go to 2-1 on the season.

Week 4: October 4, at Cincinnati Bengals: Jacksonville travels to Cincy to take on Joe Burrow and the Bengals.

I’m not sure how much the Bengals improve in 2020.

Let’s go with Jacksonville as Gardner Minshew will out play the 2019 Heisman winner and the Jags win 27-17 on the road to go to 3-1.

Week 5: October 11, at Houston Texans: The Texans seem to be a train wreck, but it won’t matter when Jacksonville comes to town.

Jags will find a way to lose in Houston. Texans win 24-21. Jags go to 3-2

Week 6: October 18, Detroit Lions: I will be in attendance when my Detroit Lions roll into Jacksonville and leave with a victory over the Jaguars.

Matt Stafford leads a game winning drive with less than 2 minutes left in the contest to pull out a road win 31-28. Jags fall to 3-3 on the season.

Week 7: Bye Week

Week 8: November 1, at Los Angeles Chargers: Chargers will beat the Jags in LA 34-13.

This will be one of those head scratcher games for the Jags as they drop to 3-4 on the season.

Week 9: November 8, Houston Texans: The Jags split the season series with the Texans with a nice home win 34-23 to go to 4-4 on the season.

Week 10: November 15, at Green Bay Packers: Don’t even think about it. Packers drill the Jags at Lambeau 38-13. Jags go to 4-5 on the season.

Week 11: November 22, Pittsburgh Steelers: Jacksonville seems to have Big Ben’s number. Jags win a huge home game 27-24 to go 5-5 on the season.

Week 12: November 29, Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield is a bust repeat after me Baker Mayfield is a bust.

Jags win 33-21 to go to 6-5 on the season.

Week 13: December 6, at Minnesota Vikings: Not happening. The Vikings are a very good football team. Minnesota wins 35-17. Jags fall to 6-6.

Week 14: December 13, Tennessee Titans: Nope the Jags are not physical enough for the Titans. Titans win 31-10. Jags fall to 6-7 on the season.

Week 15: December 20, at Baltimore Ravens: I’m not wasting my time on this one. Ravens 41-13. Jags drop to 6-8.

Week 16: December 27, Chicago Bears: Will Nick Foles come in and put it to the Jaguars? The answer is yes 24-20.

Jaguars fall to 6-9. Jags go 0-4 against the NFC North.

Week 17: January 3: at Indianapolis Colts: Playoff bound Colts rest starters and Jacksonville wins 35-19 to finish 7-9 on the 2020 season.

Best case scenario is 10-6 with wins over Detroit, San Diego, and Chicago.

Worst case scenario is 4-12 with a loss at home to Pittsburgh, Houston, and Indy.

Welcome Back

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It is starting to look like football season will go forward as scheduled in 2020.

That will be a welcome sight for a sport starved culture in the south, particularly the Southeastern Conference.

Let’s take a look at my top five returning players in the SEC. Again, remember these are my top 5 selections.

 

  1. George Pickens WR/Georgia: Pickens after a slow start, Pickens finished the 2019 season with 49 receptions for 8 TD’s.

He topped it off with a 12-catch performance in a Sugar Bowl win over Baylor.

Pickens should have a monster season in 2020, who ever the QB ends up being in Athens. Pickens is a rare talent and people in Athens have not been this excited about a receiver since AJ Green roamed the sidelines a decade ago.

Look for Pickens to be an all-conference performer this fall. By the way, Jaime Newman will be the man tossing the ball to Pickens.

  1. Najee Harris RB/Alabama: Najee Harris will be the best running back in the SEC this fall. I thought he was the best running back in the conference in 2019, His 1200 yards rushing and 20 total TD’s back up my claim.

Harris is also a great receiver out of the backfield. Harris averaged 5.8 yards per carry in 2019, and Alabama will be the preseason favorite to win the conference in 2020. Harris could be a Heisman Trophy contender this fall.

  1. Jaylen Waddle WR/KR/Alabama: If you watched the NFL draft last week you noticed that Alabama had two wide receivers selected in the first round, and Waddle will be the next great Alabama WR.

Waddle is also the best return man in the SEC as well, with a kickoff and punt return touchdown in 2019.

The Tide will figure out ways to get Waddle the touches he needs to be a game changer this fall. Alabama has become Wide Receiver U in college football at the moment. Their offense should be pretty salty in 2020.

Waddle is said to run in the 4.35 range which will blow the top off an opposing defense.

  1. Ja’Marr Chase WR/LSU: Chase had 84 catches and 20 TD’s and was the best WR on the National Champion LSU Tiger roster in 2019.

Chase won’t have Joe Burrow tossing him the ball, but LSU will find ways to get him the touches he needs. He could be the first WR selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Could Chase be a back to back Biletnikoff Award winner? I would not bet against it.

He eats up opposing defensive backs and spits them out. Chase had 9 catches for 221 yards and 2 TD’s against Clemson in the national title game. He abused CB AJ Terrell of Clemson, who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 16th pick in the first round.

Chase will be a future Pro Bowl WR at the next level.

  1. Derek Stingley Jr. CB/LSU: Stingley is the best returning player in the SEC, and maybe the country.

He had 6 interceptions as a freshman in 2019. He was a game changer for LSU in the SEC title game win over Georgia as Stingley picked off Jake Fromm twice.

This kid will be at LSU for two more seasons before he can declare for the NFL, and will probably be a top five pick in the 2022 NFL draft.

Could a defensive player win the Heisman again? Coach O says Stingley will get touches on the offensive side of the ball also moving forward.

This kid is a generational cornerback and the best returning player in the SEC in 2020. I bet you opposing offensive coordinators will game plan around Stingley.

Making The Grades

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The first sign of normalcy returning happened with the first round of the NFL Draft.

Let’s take a look at teams in our geographical area and assign a first-round grade.

 

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons selected cornerback AJ Terrell from Clemson with the 16th pick.

Atlanta had their sights set on CJ Henderson from Florida, but Jacksonville took Henderson with the 9th pick.

Apparently, Thomas Dimitroff missed the National Championship game where Terrell got scorched for over 200 yards by Joe Burrow and LSU.

Yes, we know CB is a big need for Atlanta, but Terrell that early in the first round? I don’t like the selection when Kenneth Murray LB from Oklahoma was still on the board. Terrell needs technique work, and there was more value on the board when the Falcons made the pick.

Grade: D

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags had two first round selections.

With the 9th pick the Jaguars took CJ Henderson cornerback from Florida. Henderson was regarded by most as the second-best corner in the draft behind Jeff Okudah, who was selected by the Lions at pick number 3.

Henderson is a good cover corner and has great ball skills. The issue with Henderson is he runs away from contact at times and that worried scouts.

I think this is a reach at #9 for Jacksonville who passed on Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and CeeDee Lamb in typical Jaguar fashion.

Grade: C

At pick 20 the Jaguars selected K’Lavion Chaisson OLB of LSU.

I think this is a great pick for Jacksonville to add another edge rusher to team up with Josh Allen on the Jacksonville defense. The pass rush is back in Jacksonville.

Chaisson is a match up problem who can rush the passer, drop in coverage, and play solid in the run game. Great pick by the Jags to get a three-down player at LB.

Grade: A

Miami Dolphins: With the 5th pick the Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa QB from Alabama.

Tua is the man immediately in South Beach. If he can stay healthy, he can be a force in the NFL.

Tua is an accurate passer with a nice touch on the football. Many compare him to Steve Young and if he lives up to that hype then Miami will get back into playoff discussions soon.

Miami has had 21 starting quarterbacks since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season. Ouch!

Grade: A

With pick 18 the Dolphins selected Austin Jackson OT from USC. Jackson is only 20 years old but has very good feet. He may not be ready in 2020 to contribute but has a pretty good upside. The jury is out on this selection.

Grade: C-

With the 30th pick the Dolphins selected CB Noah Igbinohene from Auburn. Another SEC selection in the first round. I like this pick for Miami in a position of need. Tough and physical kid.

Grade: B

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs gave up a 4th round pick to San Francisco to move up one spot to take OT Tristin Wirfs from Iowa.

Iowa may be Offensive Line U right now in college football. Many thought Wirfs was the best offensive lineman available in this draft.

He ran a 4.85 40-yard dash at the combine, and had 36.5 inch vertical jump. This kid is athletic and a valuable asset to protect Tom Brady. I love this pick, and Tampa got a kid that had a top five grade entering the draft.

Grade: A+

It is a relief to watch something live on TV that is sports related.

Wide Open Choice

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It appears the Jacksonville Jaguars want to give Gardner Minshew every opportunity they can to be that franchise QB they have not had since Mark Brunell.

Yes, it has been that long Jaguar fans since Jacksonville has had a true franchise quarterback.

Dave Caldwell traded Nick Foles to Chicago and it appears the Jags are ready to roll with Minshew for the foreseeable future.

Minshew started 12 games for Jacksonville in 2019 and did a pretty good job. He passed for 3200 yards with 21 TD’s to only 6 interceptions.

Jacksonville went 6-6 with Minshew as the starter. Now with Minshew penciled as the starter it is Jacksonville’s responsibility to get him some weapons at wide receiver to be successful.

Many mock drafts have Jacksonville projected to go defense with their first selection in the first-round pick #9, but they also have pick #20 in the first round so many scenarios could unfold for the Jags.

Jerry Jeudy is regarded as the top wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft. He should still be on the board with the #9 pick if a team like the Raiders doesn’t trade up to select him from the #12 spot.

Jeudy burst on the scene at Alabama in 2018. He caught six touchdown passes in Alabama’s first three games of the 2018 season, including a 136-yard, two-touchdown performance against Ole Miss.

He had 135 yards and 2 touchdowns against Arkansas, and the next week set a career high with 147 yards and a touchdown against Missouri.

He had 139 yards and a touchdown in Alabama’s loss to Clemson in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship.

Jeudy was named a consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC. He was awarded the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver. His 14 receiving touchdowns led the conference and was tied for third nationally, and his 1,315 receiving yards were second in the conference.

Jeudy picked up where he left off in 2019. He was the Crimson Tide’s leading receiver in each of their first two games, finishing with 137 yards and a touchdown in the season opener against Duke, and 103 yards and 3 touchdowns against New Mexico State the following week.

He finished the regular season with 959 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns and was again named first-team All-SEC. He saved his best game for last, with six receptions for 204 yards and a touchdown in the Crimson Tide’s win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.

In early January Jeudy declared for the NFL Draft.

He finished his Alabama career with 159 receptions for 26 TD’s with a 17.2 yard per catch average. He is listed at 6’1 and 193 lbs. and ran 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Jeudy can blow the top off of a defense. Jacksonville had good production with DJ Chark and company in 2019, but the WR room in Jacksonville is one of the least intimidating in the league at the moment. Jeudy could change all of that.

Jacksonville could still address defense at the #20 pick in the first round, and get a great player like Javon Kinlaw maybe to help shore up the defensive line, but if they insist on going defense with the #9 selection they will miss out on the best receiver in the draft.

Come on Jaguars, excite the fan base by selecting Jerry Jeudy with pick #9 if he is still on the board. Give Gardner Minshew the tools he needs to be that franchise QB you have been hoping for since Mark Brunell.

Blaine Gabbert, Byron Leftwich, and Blake Bortles all first round QB selections by Jacksonville would have loved to see a Jerry Jeudy type talent in their receiver room during their stay in the River City.

It will all unfold on April 23rd. With the Covid-19 pandemic gripping our nation this could be the most watched NFL Draft in history.

Who’s Next?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow | QB | LSU

This pick has been sitting on the commissioner’s desk for months. Joe can officially look for real estate in the greater Cincinnati metro area. This is a virtual lock.

Burrow had the greatest season for a QB in college football history, and led LSU to a National Title.

  1. Washington Redskins: Chase Young | DE | Ohio State

The Redskins need help everywhere. The NFL is a QB league and if you want to be a playoff caliber team you will need to be able to rush the passer.

Young in any other year would probably be the #1 overall pick. I wish my Lions were sitting there with this pick to nab Young. This kid is special.

  1. Miami Dolphins (from DET)*: Tua Tagovailoa | QB | Alabama

The Dolphins want Tua really badly and trade up from 5 to 3 with the Lions.

Tua will be the franchise QB Miami has been looking for since Dan Marino. Can Tua stay healthy? That will always be the question with him.

  1. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs | OT | Iowa

The Giants have their RB and QB of the future, but not much else.

To help protect those investments the Giants need OL help immediately. Iowa has a good history of turning out offensive lineman to the NFL.

  1. Detroit Lions (from MIA)*: Jeff Okudah | CB | Ohio State

Darius Slay has been shipped off to the Eagles and the Lions needed CB help prior to Slay’s departure.

Okudah is the best corner in the draft. Lions have huge holes on the defensive side of the ball, and Matt Patricia is on the hot seat. The Patriot Way seems to only work in New England.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert | QB | Oregon

The Chargers get their man. A West Coast Kid to take over a franchise looking to gain new fans in LA.

Here is an idea move back to San Diego where you were loved by the masses there. We may look back five years from now and say Herbert was the best QB in this draft.

  1. Carolina Panthers: Andrew Thomas | OT | Georgia

Teddy Bridgewater needs to be protected and Thomas from UGA will be the man for the Panthers.

Thomas has slid down some draft boards. The kid started from day one at UGA and will be a 10-12 year starter in the NFL. I’m big on Thomas.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Mekhi Becton | OT | Louisville

The Cardinals need OL help to protect Kyler Murray. Becton is a monster of a man. Can Murray see over him?

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown | DL | Auburn

I would like to see Jacksonville go WR with this pick, but I don’t think they pass on Brown here. Brown will be a Pro-Bowl DL for Jacksonville.

  1. Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills | OT | Alabama

The run on offensive tackles continues as the Browns take the stud from Alabama, Jedrick Wills. You are starting to hear rumblings in Cleveland that the Browns regret taking Baker Mayfield with the #1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

This pick will be the final straw to give Mayfield the protection he needs to avoid the bust tag.

You have to score points in the NFL and to score points you must have a quality QB, and he must be protected.

 

Position Breakdown Picks 1-10

Offensive Tackle: 4

Quarterback: 3

Defensive Linemen: 2

Cornerback: 1

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.

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