Monday, January 16, 2012

Senior All Stars & Combine Invitees

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Seven Georgia football players have been invited to play in post-season all-star games while seven have also received invitations to the annual NFL Combine.

Cornerback and Paul Hornung Award winner Brandon Boykin of Fayetteville, punter Drew Butler of Duluth, center Ben Jones of Centreville, Alabama, and offensive lineman Cordy Glenn of Riverdale will play in the Senior Bowl game in Mobile, Alabama, Saturday, January 28th.

Placekicker Blair Walsh of Boca Raton, Florida, defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson of Statesboro, and fullback Bruce Figgins of Columbus will participate in the East-West Shrine Game, Saturday, January 21st, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Boykin, Butler, Glenn, Walsh, Tyson, Jones, and Justin Anderson of Ocilla have been invited to the NFL Combine which will be held in Indianapolis February 22nd - 28th.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Top Dawgs Returning For Senior Season

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Georgia football coach Mark Richt confirmed Friday that no other Georgia players will leave early for the NFL draft. Tight end Orson Charles announced earlier this week that he will forgo his senior season.

“Today is great day for Georgia,” Richt said. “We have a lot of good news today. Quite a few guys submitted papers for the draft to see if it was time to make the decision to fulfill their dream of playing in the NFL. These men decided to stay at Georgia. This group of players has tremendous leadership and talent and has played some tremendous football in the Southeastern Conference. I am thrilled that they have made this decision.”

Among those returning for their senior season is safety Bacarri Rambo, who started all 13 game for the Dawgs, registering 55 tackles, including 34 solo tops. He also led the SEC with eight interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

“It means a lot to come back and play with these guys next year,” Rambo said. “Many of these guys gave up their dream of playing in the NFL just to come back. We have a lot of leaders and a lot of really talented players with experience coming back next year. We have guys who are going to go out there and work hard and help lead the young guys and show them the Georgia way. I’m really excited to play with these guys one more year.”

“Every man in this room came to Georgia with dreams and goals of winning championships,” added cornerback Sanders Commings. “That is the reason that I decided to stay here at Georgia. With the leadership in this room we realized that the opportunity of achieving those dreams are great and I am excited to be able to be a part of it.”

Carlton Thomas, who finished the season with 361 yards and two touchdowns, added that the decision to return for his senior year was a team decision.

“Coming back was really a team decision,” Thomas added. “You see all of this talent coming back. There is lot of up side to the defensive side of the ball and we still have a lot of talent on the offense. We’re coming back with maturity, experience and a lot to prove. Why not come back and get what everyone came here to get, a championship? Everyone wanted to come back for the team and to finish business.”

Junior snapper Ty Frix noted that as a lifelong Georgia fan, he is excited about next season and the chance to continue to be a part of the Dawg community.

“I think we want to win,” Frix said. “I think that is why everyone wanted to come back. You can look at last season and say it didn’t end well as it could have or didn’t start well as it should have, but we had a great year. We did a lot of things that a lot of people didn’t think we could do and we won a lot more games than people thought we should have. I think we will build off of that going into next season. If we don’t win, then these guys stayed for no reason. These guys buying in keeps everyone accountable and it’s going to make winning that much more attainable.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rambo Will Return

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University of Georgia junior free safety Bacarri Rambo has decided to return for his senior season rather than enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

Rambo, a 6-0, 218-pound native of Donalsonville, finished the 2011 season with a Southeastern Conference-leading eight interceptions to go along with 55 tackles for the SEC Eastern Division champions. The AP First Team All-American returned those picks a combined 157 yards, which ranks third all-time in Georgia history, while starting 13 games.

During his three seasons with the Dawgs, Rambo is tied for third in the school record books with 13 interceptions and has recorded 162 career tackles. He helped anchor a defense that finished third in the SEC this season in Total Defense (268 yards/game), Pass Defense (165.1) and Rushing Defense (103.4).

Charles Will Turn Pro

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DSC_8280University of Georgia junior tight end Orson Charles has decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

“I want to thank God, the University of Georgia, our coaches and the fans for building me up spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally over the last three years,” said Charles. “The fans stuck with us through a rough season last year and through our struggles this season and our coaching staff provided me with the tools necessary to make it in football and in life. Either decision I made, I want to be able to look back at it and be happy with the choice I made and I think I will with this decision. It was difficult but not stressful to be in a situation where you can’t go wrong either way.”

Charles, a 6-3, 241-pound native of Tampa, Florida, finished the 2011 season with 45 catches for 574 yards and five touchdowns while starting all 14 games for the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division champion Dawgs. The AFCA First Team All-American highlighted his junior season by catching six balls for 109 yards and a touchdown versus #5 Boise State.

Charles, a Mackey Award finalist, completes his three-year career with the most yardage all-time for a Georgia tight end with 1,370 yards. He also tied with Leonard Pope (2003-05) for most touchdowns at the position with 10 and finished third interceptions (94).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Super Dawg Wins Hornung Award

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DSC_2957Georgia senior cornerback/return specialist Brandon Boykin has been named the 2011 Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation’s most versatile player, according to an announcement by the Louisville Sports Commission and Paul Hornung on Monday morning.

Boykin topped Arkansas’ Joe Adams, Oregon’s LaMichael James and Toledo’s Eric Page for the honor in the award’s second year. Boykin will now be honored on Feb. 2 at the Galt House in downtown Louisville during the annual Paul Hornung Award banquet.

"My experience at Georgia has changed my life in so many positive ways and allowed me to be considered for such a prestigious honor,” said Boykin. “Being a Dawg has helped groom me into the individual I am on and off the field. Winning the Paul Hornung Award is an amazing accomplishment and one that I will forever cherish as one of my greatest accomplishments. I am humbled by the fact that I was selected as the winner by Mr. Hornung and everyone else involved with the selection process. I would like to thank my teammates, coaches, fans and the entire Georgia program for helping me to achieve this incredible achievement."

"It's rare for a modern-day college football player to perform at a high level in all three phases of the game, especially in an elite conference," Paul Hornung said. "From what I've seen of Brandon Boykin, he is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win games. That's how I played the game. Brandon Boykin is a deserving winner of the Paul Hornung Award."

Coach Mark Richt has witnessed Boykin be one of his defensive anchors since his sophomore season in 2009 as he started 38 career games for Georgia, including the last 22 in a row.

“There are not many players who have the skill sets Brandon possesses and he’s certainly the model of what the Hornung Award represents,” said Richt. “I wish I had three of him. He could start on offense, defense, and special teams. He’s an outstanding person as well, a great leader, and a great Georgia man. We have been blessed to have him as a Dawg.”

The Fayetteville native was a second team All-Southeastern Conference selection by the league coaches and a Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist in 2011 after recording 55 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a safety. A threat in the return game as well, Boykin added 850 kickoff return yards and 180 punt return yards.

He was also used on the offensive side of the ball this year, rushing for 103 yards and a score and catching five passes for 71 yards and another two touchdowns. For his career, the 5-10, 183-pound Dawg is Georgia's all-time leader in kickoff return yardage with 2,663, which ranks second on the SEC's all-time list.

Boykin is also the only player in SEC history with three 100-yard plays of any kind. He completes his UGA career with 159 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss, nine interceptions, four kickoff returns for touchdowns and one punt return for a touchdown.

Boykin saved one of his top performances for his final collegiate game during the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., on January 2nd. In a rare decision, Boykin was named the game’s overall Most Valuable Player despite No. 18 Georgia’s 33-30 overtime loss to No. 12 Michigan State.

On the Spartans’ first play on offense, Boykin recorded a safety after knocking Keshawn Martin into the end zone. He extended the Dawgs’ lead to 16-0 late in the first half on a bowl record-breaking 92-yard punt return for a touchdown. Boykin then helped Georgia recapture the lead in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Aaron Murray.

In addition, Boykin finished with four kickoff returns for 70 yards, giving him a school record 2,663 yards on 110 returns (24.21 yards/return). The Dawgs starting cornerback was also fourth on the team with seven tackles, including two for loss, and had two carries for eight yards against the Spartans.

Boykin will now join three of his teammates at the 2012 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, on January 28th as he prepares for the NFL Draft.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lady Dawgs Lose To Tennessee

BASKETBALL

Glory Johnson's game-highs of 22 points and 13 rebounds led No. 6 Tennessee (11-3, 2-0 SEC) to an 80-51 victory over No. 16 Georgia (12-3, 1-1 SEC) Thursday night.

Freshman Ariel Massengale added 19 points, 15 in the first half, for the Lady Volunteers. Meredith Mitchell led Georgia with 14 points.

"We got some nice looks inside early and people that normally hit shots missed some easy ones," coach Andy Landers. "In the second half, we got good looks from the perimeter, but it seemed like none of our three-pointers would fall.

"But I wasn't impressed with us tonight," Landers continued. "I'm not going to sugar coat it. We got our butts kicked. We got our butts kicked on the offensive glass and then we drew a lot of fouls so they killed us at the free throw line. We didn't try very hard, and that's what I'm most disappointed about."

After the Lady Dawgs opened the scoring on a jumper by Jasmine James, Tennessee quickly rolled off eight straight points in a span of 96 seconds. The Lady Vols pushed their lead to double digits at 17-6 with 13:36 remaining in the first half, scoring 10 of those points on layups.

Georgia closed to within five at 30-25 with 2:05 remaining before Tennessee ended the period on a 6-2 surge. The Lady Dawgs pulled within 38-32 early in the second half and were within eight at the 15:56 mark. The Lady Vols then embarked on a 17-4 run over the next 5:21 to put the game out of reach.

Georgia will return to action Sunday, remaining on the road to face Auburn at 2 p.m. ET. The game will be televised regionally on CSS.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lady Dawgs Win SEC Opener

BASKETBALL

Jasmine Hassell's team-high 19 points led the No. 17 Georgia Lady Dawgs (12-2, 1-0) to victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks (11-2, 0-1), 67-57, Sunday afternoon.

For the third straight game, four Lady Dawgs put up double-digit points. Anne Marie Armstrong scored 15 points, helped by perfect shooting behind the three-point line and at the charity stripe.

“We have the ability to be a very balanced team," said coach Andy Landers. "They play unselfishly and share the ball. They all have the ability to score. Today, they executed the game plan very well.”

Khaalidah Miller and Meredith Mitchell scored 12 points apiece. Miller's 12 points all came from three point shots, as did nine of Mitchell's points.

“I thought that we were very good," continued Landers. "We had difficulty manning their zone at times, but overall I thought we executed very well offensively. We rebounded the ball well until the end. Towards the end of the game, we showed some signs of fatigue. We may have played people too long.”

After trailing Arkansas for a better portion of the first 10 minutes, back-to-back three pointers from Erika Ford and Armstrong tied the game at 18-18 with 10:07 left in the period.

Over the next 10 minutes, the Lady Dawgs outscored the Razorbacks 20-10, entering the locker room with a 38-28 lead. Georgia's 48.4 percent shooting from the field was aided by Hassell's 4-of-4 effort in just 17 minutes of first half play.

Georgia started the second half much like it ended the first, with a 12-4 run that lasted five minutes. Another pair of treys by Armstrong and Mitchell increased the Lady Dawg lead to 63-44 with 6:28 left in the game. Arkansas made a surge late, scoring 11 points in the last three minutes, but it was too little too late.

The Lady Dawgs will return to action Thursday, January 5th, when they travel to Knoxville to take on No. 7 Tennessee at 7 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on CSS. Georgia's next home game is a week from Thursday on January 12th when the Lady Dawgs host Florida at 7 p.m. The first 500 UGA students receive "Beat Florida" t-shirts, pizza and drinks.

Post-Game Notes

• The Lady Dawgs improved to 12-2 overall and 26-4 all-time against Arkansas.
• With the victory in their SEC opener, Georgia is now 1-0 in conference play.
• UGA has won the last five games against the Razorbacks and nine of the last 10 meetings.
• In Georgia’s last eight outings, the Lady Dawgs have converted on 117-of-164 trips to the free throw line, a 71.3 percent conversion rate.
• The Lady Dawgs converted eight Razorback turnovers into 17 points.
• Georgia has now built a 25-5 record in SEC openers since the 1982-83 season, including a 14-2 mark in Athens.
Andy Landers is now four games shy of his 1050th contest as head coach of the Lady Dawgs.

Lady Bulldogs In Double Digits

Jasmine Hassell tallied 19 points marking her 11th double-digit game of the season and the 31st of her career. Hassell has reached double figures in each of the past 10 games.
Anne Marie Armstrong scored 15 points for her sixth double-digit game of the season and the 22nd of her career.
• Khaalidah Miller
recorded 12 points, marking her 11th double-digit game of the season and the 25th of her career.
Meredith Mitchell’s 12 points brought her double-digit performances to five for the season and 31 for her career.

Four Dawgs Invited To Senior Bowl

FOOTBALL

Four members of the Georgia football team have been extended -- and accepted -- invitations to participate in the 2012 Senior Bowl later this month in Mobile, Alabama.
Cornerback Brandon Boykin, punter Drew Butler, offensive tackle Cordy Glenn and center Ben Jones will play in the Senior Bowl, which will kick off at 4 p.m. on January 28th.

The game and all of the practices will be shown on the NFL Network.

"Georgia had one of the more remarkable winning streaks in the country this season, and there's no doubt these four seniors played a big role in the Dawgs reeling off 10 straight victories to claim the Eastern Division title," Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said. "We're confident this group will take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the NFL decision makers."

DSC_6783Boykin was a second team All-SEC selection by the league coaches and Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist in 2011 after recording 48 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, three interceptions, nine pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. A threat in the return game as well, Boykin added 780 kickoff return yards and 88 punt return yards. He was also used on the offensive side of the ball this year, rushing for 95 yards and a score and catching four passes for 58 yards and another touchdown. For his career, the Fayetteville, native is Georgia's all-time leader in kickoff return yardage with 2,593, which ranks second on the SEC's all-time list. Boykin is also the only player in SEC history with three 100-yard plays of any kind. He enters Monday's Outback Bowl against Michigan State with 152 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss, nine interceptions and 18 pass breakups.

DSC_7912Butler was an Honorable Mention All-SEC selection by the Associated Press this season. He punted 51 times for 2,260 yards, averaging 44.3 yards per punt, which ranks second in the SEC and 13th in the country. He had 16 punts of 50 yards or more and downed 19 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line. The son of former NFL great and 1985 Senior Bowler Kevin Butler, Drew set an SEC Championship Game record against LSU with a 51.6 yards per punt average, including a season-long 62 yarder. Butler enjoyed his best season as a sophomore, taking home the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter and earning unanimous first team All-America honors in the process. For his career, the Duluth, native has punted for 7,283 yards, averaging 45.5 yards per punt. He's had 56 punts of 50 yards or more and booted 58 punts inside the 20-yard line. A member of UGA's Team of the Decade, Butler's career long punt came in 2009 -- a 75-yarder against Oklahoma State.

DSC_0525Glenn was a third team AP All-American in 2011 and first team All-SEC pick by both the AP and league coaches. The left tackle from Riverdale, anchored an offensive line that ranked third in the SEC in total offense this year, averaging 413.85 yards per game. Glenn currently ranks second all-time in school history in starts for an offensive lineman with 49. His next start against Michigan State will tie him with former Senior Bowler Clint Boling for the school mark for offensive linemen.

DSC_7813

The 2012 Senior Bowl will be a homecoming of sorts for Jones. The Centreville, Alabama, native landed on both the AP and Coaches All-SEC second teams in 2011.

He was also a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the best center in the nation and was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice this season.

Jones was named to UGA's Team of the Decade and has made 48 career starts, ranking third all-time in school history for an offensive lineman

Welcome To 2012–The Year Of The Dawg

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The New Year brings a close to the current football season but it also signals the early prognosticators to begin looking at next season. The Dawgs have been ranked as a top five team in several early bird polls and more will follow as spring arrives.

The emergence of the defense under coach Todd Grantham should continue with the number of returning starters next fall. The offense will again be led by quarterback Aaron Murray and like the defense, will see a majority of the starters return. The kicking game will undergo the greatest change following the graduation of Butler and Walsh but Collin Barber and Marshall Morgan are very talented and will be ready to contribute by the opening kickoff.

The incoming freshmen have been dubbed the “Ring Team” by tailback Keith Marshall and will be expected to have an impact similar to that of last year’s “Dream Team.”

The release of next season’s favorable schedule by the SEC this week brought a smile to the Dawg Nation, replacing Alabama with Missouri was the major change.

All of the pieces are in place to make a legitimate run at another SEC East Division title and a return to the dome. With a couple of breaks along the way, the Dawgs may well end up in Miami on January 7th, 2013.