Archive for January, 2011

Recruiting in the Richt Era: 2009 Class

Summary:  Like I said in my recap of the 2008 class, it is starting to be difficult to judge this class after only two seasons.  Most of the guys who signed were red shirted in 2009.  It is too early to judge this class as a whole.  The verdict is still out on the 2008, 2009 and 2010 classes.  The recaps for 2009 and 2010 will be more or predictions, since a body of work is not established for most of these players. 

Notable Names:  Rantavious Wooten, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, Washaun Ealey, Orson Charles, Kwame Geathers

Biggest Contributor: Aaron Murray, barring injury, will be a 4 year starter at QB.  I think he is going to have himself a very nice final 3 years in Athens. 

Biggest Disappointment: You could say Zach Mettenberger since he never got a chance to play in Athens.  It is still early, and it is not fair to call a sophomore a disappointment, but so far I will go with Marlon Brown.  The simple fact is Marlon Brown should have been red shirted in 2009.  That is on the coaches. Brown played sparingly, and he was simply not prepared for life in the SEC.   But, as I have said numerous times, it is hard for Marlon Brown to get catches when you have Kris Durham, A.J. Green and Tavarres King in front of you.  Marlon Brown (and Wooten) will get their shot now that the depth chart has opened up.  I am not writing off hope for him; he still has time. 

Diamond in the Rough:  I may be foolish, but I am holding out hope on Kwame Geathers.  Geathers has a strong Bulldog pedigree.  He has the size for a 3-4 lineman.  He hasn’t done anything noteworthy yet, but watch out for this young man in the coming years.  I think he could be a big contributor.

Simple Solution to Aid Tailgating Problems

Bill King talks about the never ending saga of campus tailgating.  The overall meaningless SGA is trying to petition University leadership to ease North Campus restrictions, while the administration apparently now has Meyers Quad in its crosshairs. 

I doubt anyone in Terrell Hall has ever tailgated in The Grove, but let me tell you, the folks in Oxford have got it figured out. 

When we went to the Ole Miss game in 2006, we stayed with a friend who had taken care of everything for us.  We just showed up with our coolers.  So I am not too sure on the restrictions first hand, but the above link has the updated rules.  It is a simple, half page of rules. 

I noticed a lot of police in the Grove, but the best part is the cops basically didn’t care.  No way the Jimmy Williamson led gestapo that is UGA PD would be that laid back.  In the Grove one could have a good time as long as they followed one rule:  you kept your beverage in cup.  Best of my knowledge, alcohol was not allowed, but if you poured your drink into a Solo cup, all was fine. 

This would cut down on the trash problem instantly.  If beer is “banned”, and you have to pour your drink into a cup, then you ain’t going to have empties around your tent area all day.  The cops would say something about having “banned” items around.  So you take your beer, pour it in a red Solo cup, and then throw the can/bottle away.  This would limit the amount of trash on the ground.

The Grove bans kegs, generators, and grills.  Yet people were still able to have a good time.  I know I did. 

Keep it in a cup.  This would force folks to stash their trash soon after they use it. 

Ahh, if it were only that simple. 


Recruiting in the Richt Era: 2008 Class

Summary:  This was the class following the 2007 season and number 2 finish.  It was basically a foregone conclusion at the end of the 2007 season UGA would begin the 2008 campaign #1.  The players signed in this class are really starting to get some playing time now, so it is now beginning to get difficult to gauge this class and the classes going forward.  Yes, the team has been struggling the last couple of years, but I think the verdict is still out.  There are some talented guys who are have only had one season worth of significant PT, so we’ll see if the Christian Robinsons and Cornelius Washingtons of the class continue to develop.

Notable Names:  A.J. Green, Blair Walsh, Ben Jones, Carlton Thomas, Richard Samuel, Nick Williams, Bacarri Rambo, Christian Robinson, Tavarres King, Brandon Boykin, Cordy Glenn.

Biggest Contributor Not Named Adriel Jeremiah Green: I will go with Brandon Boykin.  Boykin made the wise decision to return to UGA in 2011.  I think he could have a nice NFL career.  Boykin doesn’t make a lot of plays in the secondary, but the ball doesn’t get thrown his way a lot, either.  That says something. Oh yeah, he’s pretty good on Special Teams.

Biggest Disappointment: For a combination of reasons, Richard Samuel’s career at UGA has been very disappointing.  He came in as a VHT 5 star, two way player from Cartersville. Samuel started his career at running back, with little success as a backup while a true freshman in 2008 and even less success as a starter in 2009.   Many of the “insiders” thought he should have started his career playing linebacker. The coaches wised up and moved him to linebacker last off season.  An injury, which could be considered a blessing in disguise, sidelined Samuel in 2010.  This has given him an opportunity to learn the system.  He will start the season as an inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.  He has the physical tools to be a great player and has two years of eligibility to turn it around.  We’ll see.

Diamond in the Rough:  Part of me wants to say Bacarri Rambo.  But I am going to go with Ben Jones.  Jones was a 3 star player, and ended up starting 10 games at center his freshman year.  He started 13 games in 2009 and 12/13 in 2010 (suspension).  And the dude seems like he certifiably insane.  We need some more of that. 


Doing What Needs To Be Done

Welcome aboard, Ray Drew!

This was another HUGE pickup for the Dawgs today. If we’re able to wrap it up with Crowell on Wednesday, this could truly be a special class.

Richt and company are doing what they need to do- wrap up the in-state talent. We’ve literally sealed the borders this year and have a boatload of in-state recruits coming to Athens in the fall. The persistence and drive shown by the entire staff is good medicine to disgruntled fans. The new facilities these guys are stepping into are just icing on the cake.

There has been no shortage of complaints fired Mark Richt’s way in recent months, and rightfully so. 6-7 is simply unacceptable. However, a number of these recruits cite Richt as the reason they chose UGA.

I am unhappy with how the  past two seasons have ended, but I also want Richt to have a great year in 2011 and stay on the sidelines. He is the kind of face that, if winning, makes UGA a unique situation in college football. Quite frankly, if he gets UGA back to our winning ways, he is a huge reason why we can be a top 5 program . He’s a great face for the program, recruits and parents love him, and he doesn’t compromise the reputation our university has.

Fans, being the fickle people we are, don’t always see it that way. I’m guilty, you’re guilty, we’re all guilty. But if this “Dream Team” materializes and he’s around long enough to see it play out, many of these same Richt bashers will be singing a different tune. I just hope we do well enough in 2011 to see how this class does for him in 2012.

I have been upset at things, even to go so far as to say I wouldn’t mind if Richt were gone, but I think we can all agree that if Richt can get us back on track that there is no better man to lead our program.

Go Dawgs!


Welcoming The Pastor of Disaster

It’s now official. Five-start defensive end prospect Ray Drew has verbally committed to being a Bulldog.

Drew’s commitment adds yet another star to a recruiting class that could end up being ranked within the top five.

If Mark Richt is on the hot seat, Georgia’s incoming recruits either don’t care or think that Richt is very secure in Athens.

Recruiting in the Richt Era: 2007 Class

Summary:  This was an odd class.  There were several in state players we missed out on.  We still signed some good players, but overall I think it is fairly underwhelming, which following the worst season UGA has had under Richt to this point, was expected.   It is a very top heavy class; the superstars are superstars.  The drop off from the top is pretty steep. 

Notable Names:  Aron White, Caleb King, Jarius Wynn,  Justin Houston, Logan Gray, Bruce Figgins, Rennie Curran, Vance Cuff, Drew Butler, Clint Boling, Vince Vance

Biggest Contributor:   I struggled with this one.   I thought Justin Houston.  I also typed out a summary for Drew Butler before going back and deleting.  But I am going to settle with Rennie Curran.  Rennie wasn’t the biggest guy on the field, but he epitomized GATA.  He was a 3 year starter and lead the team in tackles.  He played hard and made some big plays.  Sometimes it seemed that Rennie Curran was the only person the defensive side of the ball, because every time there was a play he was the one making a tackle. No wonder the defense was so bad; it was 11 vs. Rennie.  He is a Damn Good Dawg.    

Biggest Disappointment:  This is a tough one.  I really want to say Caleb King.  Whether it has been injuries, academic issues, or fumbling, King has not lived up to his hype.  Caleb King was one of the top players in the state, and was supposed to be the best running back from Georgia since Herschel Walker.   I think I’ll be nice and say he hasn’t lived up to that hype.   He only has 1,271 yards for his career.   This past season, he only played in 8 games and the most carries he got in a game was 13.   Very underwhelming.  But I won’t say Caleb.  No, the biggest disappointment to me is Israel Troupe.   At least Caleb has had some nice games sprinkled throughout.  Troupe has done NOTHING except catch a TD against Auburn.   In fact, his lone touchdown was versus Auburn.  If you are only going to have just one, I guess do it with style. 

I thought Troupe had the right physical skills-good size, he ran a 4.4. Troupe was the 9th rated prospect in the state.  He has a whooping 11 career catches in 8 games over three years.   And to think, I made my wife watch Tift County play in the Dome just so we could see the next big star receiver at UGA. 

Diamond in the rough: I remember driving the Ag Hill bus listening to The Ref on Signing Day 2007, and I thought that it was a bit odd that we offered a scholarship to Drew Butler.  I wasn’t one of those who thought it was a waste, but I did think the only reason why we gave him one was because of his dad.  Well, I was wrong.  Drew Butler won the Ray Guy award in 2009 as a Rs Sophomore.  He is an outstanding punter, and I think the best one in UGA history.   As I said above, I had typed out reasons to list Butler as the top contributor in this class.  It tells you where you are at as a team when the punter is one of the best.   Sad.  


Recruiting in the Richt Era: 2006 Class

Summary:  The 2006 class.  Oh, what a class!  The Dawgs were rolling.  Life was good in February 2006.  UGA had just had its most successful run in twenty years, had won 2 SEC Championships in 4 seasons, Mark Richt was universally loved, and Georgia had just signed prodigies at quarterback, running back and safety.  What could possibly go wrong…

If Mark Richt can’t get the ship corrected and is asked to no longer be the head coach at UGA, you can take a long, hard look at the failure of not winning a National Championship in 2008 as the beginning of the end.  This class is the one that got away.  The players that were recruited in this class were the ones who would contribute greatly in 2007 and 2008.  The failure of not even winning the SEC, much less a National Championship, with this class could be the most damning note on Mark Richt’s resume. 

Notable names:  Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, Fred Munzenmaier, Reshad Jones, Michael Lemon, Darryl Gamble, Darrius Dewberry, Kris Durham, Shaun Chapas,  Asher Allen, Geno Atkins, Prince Miller

Biggest Contributor:   Matthew Stafford.  Duh.  Knowshon is a close second.  Again, duh. 

Biggest Disappointment:  There are a few candidates.  Michael Lemon jumps out since his tenure came to an end due to off the field trouble.   I will have to go with NeDarris Ward.  I thought Ward would be the next big thing.  Granite and I sat in Blind Pig again in 2006 like we did the previous year.  I thought Massaquoi would be the big thing in 2005, and thought Ward would be the next great tight end at Georgia to fill Pope’s void. After a redshirt in 2006, I thought he would fill right in.  Tripp Chandler was ahead of Ward on the depth chart-that ought to tell you something. After being a non factor in 2007, Ward transferred to Oregon to be closer to home due to some family issues.  I checked out the Oregon website, and his career with the Ducks was as productive as his career at Georgia.  It involved switching to offensive line and playing all of two games in 2009.  In one of the games, he played a season high 10 snaps.   It should make us feel better knowing the UGA coaches aren’t the only ones who whiffed.  Oh well. 

Diamond in the RoughKris Durham never did anything at Georgia except catch everything that was ever thrown to him.  Until 2010, he didn’t get many balls thrown his way, but he made the most of the ones that were.  He was a great #2 receiver this season opposite of A.J. Green, and when his number was called, he filled in admirably. 


Recruiting in the Richt Era: 2005 Class

Summary:  This class came after the 10-2 2004 campaign.  I think that 2004 was one of the more disappointing seasons in Richt’s tenure, probably more so than 2008.  This began a new chapter in the Richt era:  the years beyond Greene and Pollack.

There were only 17 players signed, and when you sign that few, the margin for error becomes slim.  Looking through the list, only a hand few of players had great careers.  Sure, there were some good players.  But whether it was due to injury (Rod Battle, Jeff Owens) or being a ginger (Joe Cox),  this group for the most part never lived up to its potential.   

Also, note that there was only 1 offensive lineman signed-Ian Smith.  For those of you keeping track at home, that is 4 OL signed in two years, with only one making a measurable impact.  Wonder why the OL was a bunch of underclassmen  in 2007 and 2008? 

So far, this has to be the worst recruiting class.  Go see for yourself here. 

Notable Players:  Jeff Owens, Joe Cox, Mohamed Massaquoi, Mike Moore, Bryan Evans,  Kade Weston, Tripp Chandler

Biggest ContributorIf you know me, and see the list above, do you even have to ask?  Mohomed Massaquoi was, in my opinion, one of the best receivers we have had here at UGA.  Massaquoi had a great career.  In his true freshman year in 2005 he was the leading receiver at the wide receiver position.  2006 he hit a bit of a slump, but I blame that on JT III and Matthew Stafford in his freshman year; the whole passing game took a step back.  Mo Mass was an integral part of the passing game in 2007 and 2008.  A Damn Good Dawg, indeed.

 I actually remember signing day in 2005, sitting in Blind Pig with the mysterious Granite and saying how if there was one player in this class to remember who it was, keep an eye out for Massaquoi.  I spent some time before the season started trying to figure out how say his name. 

Biggest Disappointment:  Let’s not rehash it.  Just pull of quick and easy like a Band Aid:  Bryan Evans.

Diamond in the Rough:  No Diamonds, just a lot of rough. 


BBQ Thursday Map

Here at the Grit Tree we hope everyone one enjoys the site and BBQ Thursday.  To try to make it a little easier and more organized we’ve created a map with all the locations we’ve reviewed over the past year, which can be found at the tabs at the top of the site.  On the map you can zoom into all the locations and will find each restaurant’s contact information and address.   The first link will take you to our BBQ review and the second will take you to their website if they have one.  Hope you enjoy and please keep giving us ideas on new places to try.

Recruiting in the Richt Era: 2004 Class

Summary:  This was the third recruiting class under Coach Richt, coming the season following the 2003 season in which Georgia made it to the SEC Championship game.  Notice only 3 offensive linemen were signed in this class, one of which ever contributed anything.  This class was riddled with great in-state talent…so much for all this “Dream Team” talk.

Notable Players:  Chester Adams, Thomas Brown, Dannell Ellerbe, Kenneth Harris, Brannan Southerland, Brandon Miller, Kelin Johnson, Charles Johnson

Biggest Contributor: This one is tough.  I want to say Brannan Southerland.  The fullback is an important part of UGA’s offense, and Southerland was a top fullback prospect in the nation and the 13th top prospect in the state.  He started 3 years before injuries slowed him down his senior season.  But I have to go with Thomas Brown.  He was the nation’s 4th best RB prospect and the state’s #2 overall prospect that year.  Brown was a key part in the running game in 2004 and 2005 before a torn ACL put him on the shelf for the 2006 season.  But Brown was monster in the weight room, and rehabbed quickly.  Brown and Knowshon formed a strong one-two punch in 2007.  Now that he is coming back to help with strength and conditioning, perhaps his contributions will be even greater.  A Damn Good Dawg. 

Biggest Disappointment: Though there are several players in this class that did not live up to their hype/potential, this one is pretty easy-Brandon Miller.   The class’ lone 5 star player and the nation’s top defensive end prospect and Georgia’s top overall prospect never materialized into a linebacker.  This article by NFL FanHouse sums up Miller’s career through this junior season.  2007 wasn’t much better.  A complete bust/waste of talent.  No impact in the NFL. 

Diamond in the Rough:  This was a pretty star studded class.  Several of the state’s top players were in this class.  However, Kelin Johnson was the lowest rated player.  Although I wouldn’t say he had a great career at Georgia, he was a two year starter and a good leader on the field.  He made some big plays when we needed them.