The Georgia Bulldogs stay in the spotlight without even trying, and usually, it’s good news. Since head coach Kirby Smart has taken over, the Dawgs are a team that mostly stays on the good side of the headlines. There have been times when it hasn’t been so pretty, but for the most part, if you see the Georgia Bulldogs, some kind of good news is attached.
The headlines are starting to focus on the semifinal game against Ohio State in a little over two weeks. However, we cannot forget about Early Signing Day before the Holidays on Dec. 21. Georgia is, of course, working on another elite recruiting class. Still, today’s headlines will be all about the current team and the semifinal.
It’s been a smooth week regarding news, as the holiday season is in full force. The Dawgs are on the tail end of award season — you guessed it — there are more accolades to mention. Smart accepted the Peach Bowl invitation on Dec. 14 and spoke with the media about the upcoming matchup — more on that later.
Let’s discuss two topics surrounding Georgia football for your Friday, Dec. 16, Georgia Bulldogs news brief.
Former Georgia Bulldogs legend Champ Bailey will be an honorary captain for the Peach Bowl & Mark Richt will go into Peach Bowl HOF.
One of the greatest ever to wear the Red and Black, Champ Bailey will be the honorary captain for the Dawgs’ semifinal matchup against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Peach Bowl CEO and president Gary Stokan announced it before the press conference on Wednesday.
Bailey was a cornerback and receiver for the Dawgs from 1996-1998. He finished with eight interceptions and 67 career tackles. He would get drafted No. 7 overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. Bailey is a pro hall of Famer and will be inducted into the college football hall of fame this year. While at Georgia, he was a consensus All-American as a junior in 1998 and helped the Dawgs beat Virginia 35-33 in the 1998 Peach Bowl — he was the MVP of that game.
Former head coach Mark Richt will also get honored as one of this year’s Peach Bowl Hall of Fame inductees. So the Dawgs will have a lot of activities going on that week as these two legends are honored by the bowl.
Two Georgia Bulldogs players earn unanimous All-America Distinction.
Georgia football has two players who are the best and some of the most experienced on its defense in Jalen Carter and Christopher Smith. Now the duo has joined an elite company by earning a unanimous All-America distinction.
The NCAA puts together a yearly All-America squad that uses five selectors on who makes that list. They use the American Coaches Association (AFCA), Associated Press (AP), Sporting News (SN), Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) as the five lists to make their decisions.
However, to be a unanimous All-American, players must be on all five of those selectors’ first-team choices. There were only 14 of those guys this year, with Georgia having two. USC joins the Dawgs as the only other school to have two players make the unanimous All-American list.
Carter and Smith have been two anchors for the Dawgs — up front for Carter and in the secondary for Smith. These two guys are veteran leaders for Georgia, and for them to join this elite group of players is impressive. Carter missed seven games and was still able to receive this accomplishment.
Smith started all 13 games for the Dawgs, as he is one of the super seniors on this 2022 squad. He chose to come back, which was one of his best decisions. Look at how much he improved this season, and he proves that sometimes coming back is the best risk to take. Smith leads Georgia with three picks and has the fourth-most tackles on the team with 50. He was the fire starter in the SEC Championship Game after he picked up a blocked field goal and took it back 95 yards to put Georgia on the board and eventually beat LSU 50-30.
Carter currently has 29 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three sacks. He also has 25 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles on his resume this season. Those numbers are what players achieve with 13 games under their belt, and that is with him missing over half the season. He went on a warpath in the last six games with 24 of his 29 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, all three sacks, and his two forced fumbles coming in those matchups.
These two guys became the No. 12 and No.13 players in Georgia history to become unanimous All-Americans. They join Frank Sinkwich, Charley Trippi, Royce Smith, Herschel Walker, Garrison Hearst, Drew Butler, Jarvis Jones, Roquan Smith, Andrew Thomas, Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean. So this duo is a part of some elite company, and rightfully so.
Smith and Carter were key to Georgia’s success this year, and seeing their name alongside those Damn Good Dawgs is important. Georgia inches closer to its Dec. 31 semifinal matchup against Ohio State as the Dawgs look to make even more history.