Georgia football battles Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl in just two weeks for the right to play for the National Championship.
Thank you seniors.
You have accomplished what so many senior classes before you could not do. You lead Georgia football
to an SEC Championship and to the pinnacle of this year’s bowl season. Thanks to you, the Bulldogs crushed the dreams and goals of 12 teams.
Some of my most satisfying victories of my life as a Georgia fan have come this season. And the seniors deserve much of the credit for that. Whether it’s Davin Bellamy’s and Lorenzo Carter’s forced fumbles against Notre Dame and Auburn, or Sony Michel’s early knock out shot against Florida. You seniors delivered each and every week.
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel
You two climbed up the SEC rushing yard list and now both sit inside the top-25. Chubb is second behind fellow Bulldog Herschel Walker. Michel is at no. 21 and could realistically crack the top-10 in two weeks. And both sit at no. 2 and no. 3 in UGA history.
Chubb has 1,000 yards for the third time in his career. Michel should reach 1,000 yards against Oklahoma. That will make you two the first duo in school history to rush for 1,000 in one season. Something “Gurshall” never did. The duo’s and trios of the 1980’s never accomplished that. Kevin McLee and Willie McClendon didn’t even achieve that.
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This year, the two of you ran over every challenger. Notre Dame’s highly praised defense couldn’t stop y’all. Tennessee and Vanderbilt were severely over-matched. Your performances against Florida were so dominant, it was comedic. And the one team that actually shut y’all down succumbed three weeks later.
You two were the constant of these last four years on offense. Your presence meant more than just 25 combined carries and 200 yards a game. Your leadership helped a quarterback mature, created opportunities for other skill players, and made the offensive line’s job easier.
Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy
Y’all came to Athens at an interesting time. Georgia had just gone 8-5 in 2013. The reason for that big drop off from 2012, besides injuries, was the defense. That 2013 defense was terrible. But things began to change in 2014.
You two were here in 2014. The evolution of Georgia’s defense going from mediocre to deserving of bringing back the moniker “Junkyard Dawgs”, began and ended in your careers.
Neither of you were the “sack masters” fans thought you might be as high school seniors. But your impacts were always felt elsewhere. Y’all are great tacklers and even better at containment. Our run defense wouldn’t be the same without your ability to keep running backs between the tackles.
last year, the offensive line was terrible. When Nick Chubb and Sony Michel struggle, clearly the blocking is failing them. But that changed this season and that was evident by your leadership. You were the senior leader of this group. They grew up and improved around you. This offense needs a great line and you were a big reason why the offensive line provided that.
Your total interceptions may have dropped off since your sophomore seasons. But that’s hardly your fault. Well, let me rephrase that. It is your fault because no quarterback has been dumb enough to hang a ball in the middle of the field against Georgia since 2015.
Since your sophomore season where you intercepted six passes, you completely shut down the middle of the field. Georgia no longer gets beat by tight end’s. Any route in the intermediate-middle section of the field, is taken from every opposing playbook. Perhaps no Georgia defender has effected the opponents offensive strategy as much as you have in these last few years.
It’s really sad to see you go because you were a junior college transfer. We only got two years out of you. But what a senior year you gave us. 38 catches, 631 yards and seven touchdowns is a tremendous season considering Jake Fromm very rarely threw more than 20 passes a game.
Your biggest impact is how you helped Jake Fromm mature. Your ability to catch the high fade routes and pretty much anything on the sidelines gave him confidence to throw the ball to you. How high or wide he threw it never really mattered, you always proved that you could catch it.
You were just a walk-on in 2014. This kid without a scholarship, starting against Clemson in a prime time game “Between the Hedges.” You haven’t looked back since. You didn’t let the lack of a scholarship affect your confidence. You went out there in 2014 and earned one.
Since then, you’ve started games at cornerback, safety and nickel. No matter where you lined up, you excelled. You are certainly one of the best walk-on’s in Georgia football history. Maybe the best.
The 3-4 defense needs a great nose guard and that’s what you are. At 6’4 and 305 pounds, you are an imposing figure on defense. You command double-teams and shrink possible gaps for running backs. Roquan Smith, for as great as he is, wouldn’t be able to run freely to ball carriers without you.
Of course there’s many more who were a big part of Georgia winning the SEC Championship this season. Malkom Parrish had his season derailed with an ankle injury in August and still came back to contribute. Despite clearly being bothered by the injury all year.
Jeb Blazevich never had the great receiving season we all expected, but he was always a top-notch blocker. Go watch film, he’s a tremendous blocker. As is Christian Payne. We know Kirby Smart isn’t into having fullbacks, but for two years, he was a Christian Payne guy.
Reggie Carter may not have the superstar potential that Smith and Natrez Patrick have, but that’s never stopped him. He’s been a solid player throughout his career. When Patrick missed time with suspensions, there was never a drop off because Carter always played well.
Finally, Cameron Nizialek. Everything said about Wims as a transfer can be said about him. he was an excellent punter this season. That’s the most underrated position on the team. Georgia’s defense never dealt with bad field position thanks to his punting.
Honorable mention: Roquan Smith
Your time here is up. You’re not a senior but you might as well be. You’re the best defensive player in college football. I don’t care who has the award. It’s you and it was you all year. It’s time for you to head to the NFL, become a millionaire. You’re going to be a superstar. Don’t risk it by spending another year in college.
Many of you didn’t have to come back. But you did anyways. us fans will always remember and be thankful for that. But’s more so than just returning, and this applies to the senior class as a whole, you exceeded expectations.
You were merely supposed to get Georgia football in the Kirby Smart era on the right track. Instead, you brought us an SEC Championship. We’re in the playoffs for the first time. In the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1943. A National Championship is just two games away.
The Bulldogs are contenders again. It wouldn’t be that way without you all. Win or lose in two weeks, you have given us a season we can be proud of and remember fondly. The future looks much brighter now than it did a year ago. So again, thank you seniors.