Tag: Georgia

Georgia Bulldogs Outranked by Tech in Poll

Are Bulldog fans in for a dismal football season? That could be the case if preseason polls are accurate. Georgia will start the football season ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press preseason poll.

Bulldogs’ Lowest Preseason Rank Since 2001

It’s the Bulldogs’ lowest preseason position since they were unranked in coach Mark Richt’s first season in 2001. The AP poll, has the Bulldogs two spots lower than their No. 21 ranking in the USA Today coaches’ poll released earlier this month. Georgia is coming off an 8-5 season and is back in the AP poll for the first time since the September 27, poll of last season.

“I’m thankful that we’re ranked,” Richt told reporters at a press conference . “I think it’s important to be ranked. I hope we play well enough to move up. That’s the plan.”

Jackets Outrank Dawgs?

The Southeastern Conference has six teams ranked, the most of any conference. Four opponents on Georgia’s schedule are ranked: No. 4 Florida, No. 16 Georgia Tech, No. 17 Arkansas and No. 22 Auburn.

The Georgia Tech Yellowjackets outrank the Bulldogs. It’s the first time since 2001 that Georgia Tech begins the season ranked ahead of the Bulldogs in the preseason poll.

ACC Needs Non-Conference Wins

Though the ACC has the second-most teams in the poll, personality Lou Holtz said earlier this month that if the conference wants to truly be considered a power in college football, its teams must start winning some of the important non-conference games.

He noted Tech losing to Georgia and Iowa last season, as well as Florida State getting blasted by Florida, which has forced it further away from the SEC and more toward the Big East in the power structure of college football.

To truly move up college football’s pecking order, the ACC needs to have a team play for the national championship, something the SEC has had a stranglehold on for the past four years.

Bulldogs Watch List

The Bulldogs, with 17 starters returning, will play four teams that are ranked in the preseason: at home against No. 17 Arkansas (Sept. 18), against No. 4 Florida in Jacksonville (Oct. 30), at No. 22 Auburn (Nov. 13) and at home against Tech on Nov. 27. South Carolina (Sept. 11) also received votes.

Sophomore Orson Charles is working as Georgia’s starting tight end, but it’s junior Aron White who made the preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award for nation’s top tight end. Charles had 23 catches for 374 yards and three touchdowns last season. White had 13 catches for 198 yards and four touchdowns.

A.J. Green isn’t the only threat among the Georgia wide receivers for quaterback Aaron Murray to throw to in his first college season. According to the Athens Banner Herald, Murray is already talking up the possibilities in the red zone with the 6-foot-4 Green and Kris Durham and Marlon Brown, both 6-5.

Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas: Could Yellow Jacket Be Sleeper Pick of NFL Draft?

What’s notable about Thomas is that with those 46 catches, he produced 1,154 yards, averaging a remarkable 25.1 per reception. Those numbers do gain some special attention.

Before entering the NFL draft, Thomas played for — a team that rarely puts the ball in the air. But when the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense did use the pass, chances were excellent that the ball was going to Thomas.

Tech threw 168 times last season, an average of only 12 per game. Of the mere 78 completions, Thomas was on the receiving end 59 percent of the time. He caught eight of the Yellow Jackets’ 11 touchdown passes.

His prospects for NFL stardom, however, have been highly in question this winter, as he was not being projected as a first-round selection in the April 22-24 NFL draft. He was not named as one of the top 32 prospects by ESPN’s Scouts Inc., nor mentioned as one of Scout.com’s top 50.

NFL Draft Scout.com. rated Thomas as the No. 49 prospect and the No. 5 wide receiver in its Feb. 5 rankings. But at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Thomas has impressive size for a wide receiver. If he can prove that he has ideal NFL speed, his value could skyrocket.

The Strengths of Demaryius Thomas

Thomas is a big, strong guy who can outmuscle and outleap defenders, break tackles and block with great effectiveness. He’s also an explosive runner once he hits stride.

Thomas also has big hands, long reach and good body control. He can’t be compared to Calvin Johnson, the Georgia Tech alum who’s attained NFL stardom after being a No. 2 overall draft pick in 2006, but his overall physical package certainly makes him a possible sleeper selection.

During his solid three-year career at Georgia Tech, Thomas earned praise as a hard worker who responds well to coaching.

The Weaknesses of Demaryius Thomas

The main doubts surrounding Thomas involve his speed. Does he have enough burst to succeed as a pro wide receiver, or should he just bulk up a bit and be a tight end? Reports on his 40-yard dash time were vague entering the NFL combines, ranging from 4.5 to 4.6.

Draft analysts also question Thomas’ route running and his lack of experience in a pro-style offense. They also wonder if his statistics weren’t actually helped by playing two seasons with a run-first team. After all, opposing defenses were very rarely set up to stop the pass.

How Demaryius Thomas Rates Against Other WR Prospects

Thomas makes most lists as one the top 10 wide receiver prospects in the draft, and is sometimes ranked as one of the top five.

Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant has been a near-unanimous choice as the No. 1 wide receiver, but there’s little agreement over who comes next. USC’s Damian Williams, LSU’s Brandon LaFell and Illinois’ Arrelious Benn have also being highly rated.

The list also includes Notre Dame’s Golden Tate, Cincinnati’s Mardy Gilyard, Texas’ Jordan Shipley, Clemson’s Jacoby Ford, Missouri’s Danario Alexander and Tulane’s Jeremy Williams as well as Thomas.

Thomas’ worth will be enhanced if he can produce a strong performance at the combines, which are scheduled for Feb. 24-March 2 at Indianapolis. Perhaps the most important number could be the time he posts in the 40-yard dash.