Now that National Signing Day has come and gone, we can take stock regarding the players coming into Athens. I've always thought that one of the best ways to come to grips with how well (or not) we've done in a given class is by comparing the newer players to guys we've all already seen. So consider this post a modest attempt to do just that, albeit in a slightly unorthodox manner. On this site, how else would we do it?
So, I'm handing out a few awards. Please hold your woofing until all the winners have been recognized.
Our first award is the Trinton Sturdivant Memorial "What Redshirt?" Award, which goes to the signee who I'm absolutely sure will play as a true freshman. This one is easy. It's kicker Blair Walsh. While he's the smallest signee other than Carlton Thomas, Walsh has the potential to be in more critical situations than any other member of the class of 2008. Imagine if you will, it's the night of October 25, 2008. The Bulldogs are driving, down 28-27 late in the Fourth Quarter. Matt Stafford gets the 'Dawgs down to the Bayou Bengal 37, and Mark Richt calls his team's final timeout with :04 left on the clock. Blair Walsh may very well be the guy who's called on to boot a 54 yarder to keep our National Championship hopes alive. Nervous yet?
The Ben Watson Memorial "Eyeball Test Valedictorian"Award: Do you remember the first time you saw Ben Watson out on the field? I do. I remember thinking that the guy looked as much like a pro wrestler as a football player, and wondering how in the heck he ended up at Duke out of high school. And while they don't hand out Sugar Bowl trophies based on bench press numbers, some guys come in just looking like football players. The guy who fits that description in this class is A.J. Harmon. Harmon doesn't have Watson's chiseled abs, but if you've seen him up close you know that the kid is just massive. It's like somebody pried a brick wall off an elementary school and slapped a red and black baseball cap on it. Just ask fellow signee Cornelius Washington, who didn't see the brick wall coming on a trap block in this video.
The Knowshon Moreno "Due For a Breakout" Award: This one goes to the signee who'll end up redshirting despite unbelievable talent, because there's just nowhere to put him on the field. This one is tougher because there is so much talent returning on this team. Very few of this year's signees are certain to play next season. But the guy most likely to find his way blocked in my opinion is Dontavious Jackson. DJax faces a perfect storm of talent at his position. The first two slots on the depth chart are spoken for by Moreno and King. Add to those two Richard Samuel (who has the size and athleticism to contribute on special teams, a big time tiebreaker in deciding which freshmen play) and Carlton Thomas (who did a great job returning kicks at the Under Armor All Star Game, and could play as a slot receiver as well), and it's clear that there's a lot of competition at the tailback slot. Add in the fact that Samuel is already on campus and Jackson is coming off an injury that cost him most of his senior season, and it starts to look like DJax may have to wait, despite immense talent. But if Richard Samuel ends up on defense or Thomas moves full time to the slot, the Heard County tailback may get a look.
I'll be back with more tomorrow, but until then, does anybody disagree with these selections? I sure hope so, because this stuff would be a lot more boring if it weren't so subjective.