The Georgia football program has often benefited from recruiting highly talented athletes with the ability to play multiple positions. In recent memory we have seen:
CB Brandon Boykin win the 2011 Paul Hornung Award (for most versatile, high-level performer in major college football) by returning kicks, scorching opposing defenses and also excelling at the position for which he was recruited to play.
CB Branden Smith, with varying degrees of success, do the same. Although Smith was not nearly as successful in the role of "omniman" as Boykin, his 2009 TD run against South Carolina remains one of my favorite plays from the Mark Richt era.
WR Malcolm Mitchell, in light of suspensions to key defensive players, temporarily played CB at the beginning of the 2012 season and did a pretty darn good job. The coaching staff gave him a shot returning kicks last season but Boykin he was not. With the excellent job the coaching staff has done in recruiting, Mitchell, who prefers playing on offense, will likely remain on that side of the ball for the rest of his Georgia career.
And how could we forget Richard Samuel, who will always be remembered as the ultimate team player? Samuel began his UGA career as a RB only to redshirt in preparation for playing LB. After his redshirt year, Samuel ended up back at RB to address depth at the position and finished his career in 2012 working sparingly at fullback and seeing action on special teams. Remember his fake punt sniff-out against Missouri this past season? How about his game-clenching TD against Florida in 2011? I still get a happy tear in my eye when I watch these.
There have been countless others in the annals of Georgia football history, but I'd like to take a look at the potential of a few guys coming to Athens in the 2013 recruiting class.
The first of them is Camden County CB JJ Green. Mr. Sanchez does a great job examining Green's skills here, so I won't spend too much time on him. He and I are in total agreement that Green could end up returning kicks in 2013 since Malcolm Mitchell and Rhett McGowan both yielded somewhat unreliable results last season. Like Mr. Sanchez, I expect to see Green primarily on defense and special teams, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Green being used as the occasional slot receiver, especially if Georgia ends up missing out on Norcross RB Alvin Kamara, who still seems 50/50 between Georgia and Alabama. I love the versatility that Green brings to the table. It should be noted that athleticism runs in the family. His uncle, Jacquez Green, was a star receiver for Florida in the dark days of 1995-97 and was able to throw a TD pass, catch one and run in another against Auburn his final season in Gainesville. In short, I think that if you loved Brandon Boykin, you will love JJ Green.
Goose Creek, SC, ATH Tramel Terry, South Carolina's "Mr. Football" (an honor held in recent memory by Prince Miller, Marcus Lattimore and Jadeveon Clowney), also looks to add some spice to the Georgia football program.
Terry says that the Georgia coaches intend to use him as a "Percy Harvin type of guy." I couldn't stand Harvin, but that was only because of the jersey on his back. He was able to rack up over 1,900 receiving yards and 1,800 on the ground in his time as a Florida Gator and is currently playing WR and returning kicks for the Minnesota Vikings. Terry elaborates on his potential at Georgia that, "They don’t have a guy like me to where I can run the ball and I’m a wide receiver at the same time. Sometimes they’ve got to go to the defensive side and bring Brandon Boykin or Branden Smith over to the offensive field. Now that they have me, they don’t have to do all that."
Coach Richt intends to use the 6', 190-lb. Terry primarily at WR, but he has the ability to line up at WR or RB on offense and return kicks. At Goose Creek High School, he accounted for 2,245 receiving yards, 1,560 rushing yards and 1,318 return yards during his career. Should Georgia miss out on Alvin Kamara, Terry could be yet another candidate to play slot receiver.
The only question surrounding this phenomenal athlete is when he will hit the field. Terry, already enrolled at UGA, recently underwent surgery on January 4 to repair a torn ACL in his left knee that he suffered returning a kick in the Shrine Bowl all-star game on December 15. Recovery time was estimated at five to six months and Terry seems optimistic that he will play in 2013.
In Athens, Terry is currently rooming with fellow early enrollees S Tray Matthews, QB Brice Ramsey and the aforementioned JJ Green. It should also be noted that Terry grew up a fan of AJ Green from Summerville, SC, about 12 miles from Goose Creek, and is trying to be, like Green, "the next big player from South Carolina to go to Georgia."
My overall prognosis for Terry at UGA is "the sky is the limit." His athleticism speaks for itself and he appears to be a very upbeat and team-oriented player who just wants the opportunity to compete. In today's world of instant gratification, guys like Tramel Terry are few and far between.
Georgia has a tradition of getting the best out of versatile high school recruits and this class looks to contain a special few young men who will carry the torch and provide us fans with future highlight reels.