Georgia football: Former QBs who should have won a ring as a Dawg

Stetson Bennett celebrates with the National Championship trophy after the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Stetson Bennett celebrates with the National Championship trophy after the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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Georgia football
David Greene makes a pass against the Florida Gators.(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

David Greene and DJ Shockley

I’m cheating a little with this double entry, but when you think of David Greene and DJ Shockley, you typically think of them together. Both of these talented quarterbacks helped revitalize Georgia football in the early 2000s when Mark Richt took over the program.

During his time at Georgia, Greene established himself as both a prolific passer and winner. He broke multiple passing records held by Eric Zeier, and he won 42 career games, the most wins in NCAA history by a quarterback. That record was broken by Texas quarterback Colt McCoy in 2009.

He made several legendary plays during his time as the Bulldogs’ starter, including the “Hobnail Boot” play against Tennessee, and the late fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Michael Johnson against Auburn in 2002 that helped the Dawgs win the SEC East.

Shockley was Richt’s first recruiting target when he was hired as the head coach of Georgia. He played at North Clayton High School in College Park, Ga., and established himself as one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation.

He sat behind David Greene for much of his time with the Bulldogs, but would see playing time often.

He finally got his opportunity to be the full-time starter in 2005, and he made the most of it. He passed for 2,588 yards, rushed for 322 yards, and accumulated 28 total touchdowns. His excellent play helped Georgia go 10-3 and win the SEC Championship.

The closest both Shockley and Greene got to playing for a national championship was in 2002. Richt was coming into his second season, and expectations were high for the Bulldogs.

The Dawgs got off to a great start, as they started 8-0 for the first time since 1983. This included victories over teams such as Clemson, Alabama, and Tennessee. Both Greene and Shockley saw playing time at the quarterback position.

Everything looked to be going Georgia’s way that season as they headed into Jacksonville to take on a 5-3 Florida team. The Gators had other plans.

This was not a great day for either of Georgia’s quarterbacks, as they finished with a combined 168 passing yards. David Greene’s completion percentage was just 37.9% on the day. Despite the poor passing, the Dawgs held a 13-12 lead at halftime thanks to the defensive efforts of players like Tim Jennings and David Pollack.

The game continued to be a defensive battle before Florida scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

With less than three minutes remaining in the fourth, Bulldog wide receiver Terrance Edwards dropped a wide-open pass from Greene that would have gone for a TD to tie the game. In the end, Florida would upset the Dawgs 20-13, essentially ending Georgia’s plans of playing for the BCS Championship.

Georgia would finish the year on a winning streak, beating Arkansas 30-3 in Atlanta to win their first SEC Championship since 1982. The Dawgs were matched up with Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, and Richt took down his former team 26-13.

Had the College Football Playoff existed in 2002, I believe Georgia would have made it as a top-four team, where they would have matched up with either Ohio State, Miami, or USC. This team was one of the most talented in Georgia football history, and the disappointing loss against Florida ultimately cost them a chance at the BCS title.