Saturday is senior day at Sanford Stadium. While this year’s group of seniors doesn’t boast a large contingent of starters, there are quite a few players who have had a significant impact on this team over the last four years.
Leading the class is, of course, quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray’s contributions have been discussed at length; most eloquently in an excellent recent post by Dawg Haus: http://www.dawgsports.com/2013/11/17/5114902/what-it-means-to-be-a-dgd-an-open-letter-to-aaron-murray. There isn’t much else to say about Murray, except that he is one of my favorite Bulldogs of all time, and I can’t wait to join the rest of the Bulldog Nation in cheering him on in his final home start.
Though Murray is by far the most well known and popular senior (and rightfully so), there are many others who deserve recognition. I’d like to shine a light on a few of my favorites:
Arthur Lynch-TE: After spending two seasons backing up Orson Charles, who would be drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2012 NFL draft, Lynch came into his own over the last two seasons. The Darmouth, Massachusetts native has been very productive since becoming the starting tight end, posting 43 receptions, 749 yards, and 6 touchdowns over the last two seasons.
Chris Burnette, Kenarious Gates, Dallas Lee-OL: With a hundred career starts between them, these three have been instrumental in giving Aaron Murray time to throw the ball. Without their protection, there is no way Murray could have put up the record setting numbers he has accumulated.
Rhett McGowan-WR: This former walk-on has been especially valuable in 2013, with so many receivers missing time due to injury. Though he has made a number of big plays, McGowan will be most remembered for the huge third down catch he made against Florida this season, which allowed the Dawgs to maintain possesion of the ball and eventually run out the clock.
Blake Sailors-CB: Sailors, whose listed position is cornerback, has been an extemely valuable member of the Georgia special teams unit during his time at UGA. Time and again he has come up with the big tackle on kick coverage.
Brandon Harton-RB: During the 2011 season, with Georgia missing several running backs due to injury and suspension, Harton filled in admirably, rushing for a combined 199 yards and a touchdown in victories over New Mexico State and Kentucky. His contributions to Georgia’s SEC Eastern division title can’t be overlooked.
Rantavious Wooten-WR: After several seasons of limited playing time and time missed due to injuries, Wooten finally got his chance to shine in 2013. The fifth year senior has come through in a big way this season. He is Georgia’s third leading receiver in both receptions and yards, and leads the Dawgs with five touchdown catches. Who could forget his last second, overtime-forcing touchdown against Tennessee which eventually led to a Georgia win?
Garrison Smith-DT: Smith has been one of Georgia’s defensive leaders in 2013, posting 51 tackles, including 6 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. He also gave a memorable, emotional interview after Georgia’s win over Florida, after racking up 9 tackles and 2.5 sacks against the Gators.
These Bulldogs, as well as all of the other seniors who will suit up for the last time on Saturday, deserve our support and gratitude for the blood, sweat, and tears they’ve put into the Georgia program over the last few years. While this senior class didn’t produce an SEC Championship, they did earn two trips to the Championship Game, and came up only five yards short of playing for a National Title in 2012. I ask all Georgia fans to join me in giving them the send off that they deserve on Saturday.
Here is a complete list of our 2013 seniors:
· QB Greg Bingham (Columbus, Ga., Columbus HS)
· OG Chris Burnette (LaGrange, Ga., Troup County HS)
· FB Corey Campbell (Hephzibah, Ga., Hephzibah HS)
· SS Marc Deas (Kissimmee, Fla., Osceola HS)
· OT Kenarious Gates (Grantville, Ga., Greenville HS)
· SN Wright Gazaway (Buford, Ga., Buford HS)
· TB Brandon Harton (Reidsville, Ga., Tattnall County HS)
· SS Austin Herod (Woodstock, Ga., Etowah HS)
· P Ethan Jackson (Sandersville, Ga., Washington County HS)
· DE Clinton Kirk (Perry, Ga., Perry HS)
· OG Dallas Lee (Buford, Ga., Buford HS)
· TE Arthur Lynch (Dartmouth, Mass., Dartmouth HS)
· WR Rhett McGowan (Calhoun, Ga., Calhoun HS)
· TE Greg Mulkey (Fairmount, Ga., Sonoraville HS)
· QB Aaron Murray (Tampa, Fla., Plant HS)
· FS Connor Norman (Duluth, Ga., Peachtree Ridge HS)
· TB Alex Parsons (Fayetteville, Ga., Fayette County HS)
· WR Jamal Payette (Cleveland, Ga., White County HS)
· CB Blake Sailors (Athens, Ga., Oconee County HS)
· DE Garrison Smith (Atlanta, Ga., Douglass HS)
· OLB T.J. Stripling (Decatur, Ga., Southwest Dekalb HS)
· OLB Chase Vasser (Gainesville, Ga., Chestatee HS)
· QB Parker Welch (Jesup, Ga., Wayne County HS)
· TE Hugh Williams (Atlanta, Ga., Marist HS)
· TE Drew Wilson (Tignall, Ga., Washington-Wilkes HS)
· WR Rantavious Wooten (Belle Glade, Fla., Glades Central HS)
· WR Curtis "CJ" Wyatt (Locust Grove, Ga., Ola HS)
· FB Chris Young (Hinesville, Ga., Bradwell Institute)