Another day, another Bulldog on a preseason award watch list. This time it’s wide receiver/return specialist Isaiah McKenzie, who’s been named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list. The Hornung Award is a relative newcomer to the award landscape (the first one was presented in 2010 and Bulldog Brandon Boykin won it in 2011) which honors college football’s most versatile player. If that’s the objective, then McKenzie is a solid choice for the award committee to keep an eye on.
The junior finished his sophomore season with 10 catches for 123 yards and ran the ball 11 times for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. Toward the end of the season McKenzie was among the most explosive threats on the Georgia Bulldog offense (sic), sparking the team in late season victories over Auburn and Kentucky. But it was on special teams where McKenzie did some of his best work, returning 17 punts for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. Coupled with 2 punt returns for touchdowns as a freshman in 2014 and a kickoff return for a score, McKenzie is tied for the UGA record for career special teams touchdowns (5). That total is also third best in SEC history.
McKenzie was also voted third team preseason All-SEC this week as an all-purpose player (Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk and former Alabama/current Tennessee back Alvin Kamara were first and second team, respectively). It’s worth noting that, assuming he plays two more seasons in red and black, Isaiah McKenzie could leave Athens with every school record for kick/punt return touchdowns and possibly the conference records, too. While McKenzie is nowhere near the top of the chart in average return yardage, it’s safe to say that there hasn’t been a guy at least since Brandon Boykin who teams could less afford to allow into the open field than “iMac.” Until later . . .