The All-Time Underappreciated Georgia Football Team

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Defensive Back: Ben Smith, Jamie Henderson, Dick Conn and Charlie Trippi

In 1989, Georgia was a two-man team. Rodney Hampton on offense and Ben Smith on defense. Smith had ten interceptions in 1989, still tied for second on both the Georgia and the SEC list. It is the last annual double-digit interception mark for a Bulldog. Smith was a two-time All-SEC selection and played six years in the NFL.

In 1972, Dick Conn led the team in interceptions with five. Like many underappreciated players, Conn played on less successful Georgia teams. Conn’s best season came during the disappointing 1972 season. Conn combined a blocked kick and an interception with a 33 yard punt return to lead the Dawgs to an upset of Mississippi State in what might have been his best game. Conn proved his worth in the NFL, playing six years, the last five with the New New England Patriots.

Jamie Henderson’s career as Georgia cornerback followed on the heels of Champ Bailey’s – Bailey played in 1996, 1997, 1998 and Henderson in 1999 and 2000. Following the beloved Bailey, he hardly had a chance to gain the appreciation of the Bulldog Nation. But Henderson lead the team in interceptions with five, something Bailey never accomplished, and while he never made All-SEC he went on to play three years in the NFL for the New York Jets.

While Trippi was the ultimate offensive and special team’s weapon, he was an even better defensive back, perhaps as good as any to ever play the game. Because his offensive talents so overshadow his defensive talents and because his defensive talents are so immense, he makes the All-Time Underappreciated team.

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