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Bulldog News

    ATHENS Social media has never played a bigger role in sports than it has the past 2 1/2 months with college sports sidelined on account of the coronavirus. For better and sometimes for worse, fanbases have relied heavily on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for their sports takes of late. Certainly, social media had a field day on Sunday after watching 'The Match ll' on television featuring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. There was key insight into the Georgia football program to be found on Twitter, too. More social media buzz is schedule for Tuesday, when UGA star pitcher Emerson Hancock holds a 10 a.m. Zoom press conference to announce his future intentions with the Major League Baseball Draft approaching. On Wednesday, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity joins DawgNation at noon for the On The Beat program. The show moved from its customary 7:30 p.m. Monday slot on account of Memorial Day. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean appeared last week. The Bulldogs have a reloaded team that looks to break more records next season. RELATED: How Tom Crean plans to turn Georgia basketball into a winner Here are three social media blasts worth noting from the Memorial Day weekend: Monty speaks up and out Georgia senior Monty Rice has yet to make first-team All-SEC, and he's hardly a household name even in his home state of Alabama. But the feeling here is Rice has evolved into the leader and player Kirby Smart knew he could be two years ago when he tabbed him to step in Roquan Smith's shoes at linebacker. Rice echoed his head coach's Sugar Bowl post-game sentiments when he called out himself and teammates on Memorial Day, setting a tone that's sure to roll into workouts when UGA players return on June 8. WATCH: Kirby Smart sends stern message after Sugar Bowl win It's one thing for a coach to say it, but another when a team leader like Rice is sending the message in the locker room when the coaches aren't around. I've been on a defense that was supposed to be dominant and we weren't. Wanna know why? 1word complacency #ripshotime #lastyeardontmatter Monty Rice (@RiceMonty) May 25, 2020 It's worth noting Georgia led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense last season and ranked third in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense. It's also worth pointing out that it was Rice throwing a fit in the postgame of the Auburn game. While many others celebrated a 21-14 win, Rice was aggravated UGA gave up its first rushing TD of the season. WATCH: Monty Rice more evidence of invisible progress during COVID-19 break And, from the sounds of it, incoming freshmen like Kelee Ringo will see to it returning starters can't afford to get complacent. RELATED: Kelee Ringo trains with NFL star, could make sudden impact at cornerback Peyton tees off Former Tennessee standout and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning is perhaps the greatest pitch man in football history, so he was right at home being mic'd up for 'The Match ll' golf event with Brady, Woods and Mickelson. Manning hilariously explained why he wouldn't match the signature red and black colors worn by his golf partner, Woods. 'I'm mot wearing black and red, that's Georgia Bulldog colors, I mean, I just can't do that,' Manning said. 'If you want me to get sick on the first hole I'll do it. 'I'm not gonna let Kirby Smart get a picture of me in black and red for their social media account.' #Georgia fans take note: social media matters, even Peyton conscientious of Kirby Smart https://t.co/xNX3jz8bIJ MikeGriffith32 (@MikeGriffith32) May 24, 2020 Tennessee has elevated its program image through social media throughout the offseason like no other program, trumpeting a No. 2 recruiting ranking that currently hinges more on volume than average player rating. To boot, the Vols social media account is promoting fictitious cartoon 'Coach Duggs' playing video games, celebrating the animated action as though it was real. Gametime Back where it all began Tennessee @ Toledo Starts Now -> https://t.co/MzqHRTGM0Z pic.twitter.com/2so1jP0swO Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) May 25, 2020 RELATED: Vols rewriting recruiting playbook Jake's belated farewell Celebrated Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm slipped away from the Bulldogs' program via a social media farewell on Jan. 8. RELATED: Jake Fromm drops surprising decision on Georgia, ends decorated career It seemed odd that a player so highly regarded and accomplished as Fromm would choose to bid his program and fan base farewell via a social media post rather than an in-person press conference. The personable Fromm is as celebrated a home-state hero as one will find. From his heroic Little League World Series days in Warner Robins, to his fascinating and fun character reveal as a star of the Netflix QB1 Series. Fromm, now in the role of NFL underdog quarterback as a rookie with the Buffalo Bills, took time to share his sentiments for Georgia through the school's football account on Saturday. Most everyone knew how Fromm felt about the Bulldogs, but to finally hear him acknowledge the legacy he leaves behind had to leave UGA fans feeling fulfilled Fromm shared some of his favorite memories, concluding, 'What's not to love about it? Everything, honestly . I loved every minute of it, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the entire world. 'The fans are amazing, and that's what makes Georgia football fun, the whole state of Georgia and DawgNation gets on board.' . An Experience Unlike Any Other | @FrommJake takes us back to some of his favorite memories as a Dawg #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/mYjAS6y94A Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 23, 2020 DawgNation Georgia football offseason Kirby Smart shares thoughts on June 8 return to campus Jamaree Salyer one of the big offseason winners for Georgia Rival programs looming on recruiting trail for Bulldogs Podcast: George Pickens should ease Jamie Newman transition WATCH: Jamie Newman gets offseason work with Justin Fields The post 3 Georgia football social media blasts from Monty Rice, Peyton Manning and Jake Fromm appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia has arguably the best secondary in the nation returning, but there's talk incoming freshman Kelee Ringo is so good he might ultimately win a starting job this season. Ringo, no doubt, has the mindset and approach along with talent to make a sudden impact for the Bulldogs. WATCH: Early takeaways on newcomers, Kelee Ringo leads No. 1 class The No. 1-ranked cornerback prospect in the country certainly isn't resting on his laurels, as his recent workout at Ford Sports Performance indicated. NFL trainer Tracy Ford post pictures on his twitter account of the young and gifted Ringo working out with 5-time NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman on Saturday. Ford said Ringo, the No. 4 overall player in the nation per the 247Sports composite, was 'getting the words of wisdom.' The #1 rated HS corner in the country in 2020 @KeleeRingo getting the words of wisdom today from the Best Corner in the @NFL @RSherman_25 during today's on field session. The knowledge is priceless when the vision is clear and the people are Pure! #FSPCulture #WeJustWorking pic.twitter.com/efzQdQiEoF Tracy Ford (@TFordFSP) May 24, 2020 There's sure to be plenty more of those from Georgia secondary coach Charlton Warren, one of the more celebrated position coach hires of the Smart era last summer. RELATED: What Kelee Ringo's decision to attend Georgia means for future Fact is, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ringo will arrive in Athens in June with NFL prototype size. 'Everybody that first sees him goes he is probably a safety right?' said Ringo's Saguaro High School coach, Jason Mohns. 'You're not used to seeing corners that are that big and that physical. But the kid is a 10.4 state champion in the 100 meters. He's a back-to-back 100 meters champion in the state of Arizona. He ran the fastest time in the state last year. So why do you need to move him?' 'He's got great feet. He's got great hips. He's got tremendous speed. He's got great length. He's got the instincts of a great cornerback. He's what I have heard described as a unicorn. They don't make them like Kelee.' Indeed, but a ton of experienced competition awaits Ringo in Athens. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy was commenting last week on how much experience the Bulldogs bring back from a secondary that ranked No. 8 in the nation in pass efficiency. Eric Stokes, D.J. Daniel and Tyson Campbell all have multiple starts under their belts, and safety Richard LeCounte has the look of a preseason All-American. Hard to imagine any team having more upperclassmen DB talent than @GeorgiaFootball. Seniors DS Richard LeCounte and CBs D.J. Daniel & Mark Webb are all next-level players. RS junior CB Eric Stokes is also a @seniorbowl candidate if he grads in December. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/Sow4qhykez Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) May 18, 2020 Lewis Cine shined in place of safety J.R. Reed in his Cotton Bowl start, and then there's all sorts of talented depth in the defensive backs room. RELATED: J.R. Reed says UGA defense won't be no name' much longer Senior Mark Webb has the inside track at the star position but sophomore Tyrique Stevenson impressed in the spring of 2019 and appears poised to make an impact. Redshirt sophomore Divaad Wilson, junior Ameer Speed, junior Christopher Smith, junior William Poole and junior Latavious Brini are all considered in the mix. RELATED: 3 parting shots from dominant Sugar Bowl win over Baylor Georgia signed some other talented defensive backs, too, including early enrollees Major Burns and Jalen Kimber. But Ringo, the sentiment is, could be a difference-maker. The fact he was willing to travel up to Washington to work out before reporting to Georgia is merely more evidence of just how special of an addition Ringo could be. DawgNation Georgia football offseason Kirby Smart shares thoughts on June 8 return to campus Jamaree Salyer one of the big offseason winners for Georgia Rival programs looming on recruiting trail for Bulldogs Podcast: George Pickens should ease Jamie Newman transition WATCH: Jamie Newman gets offseason work with Justin Fields The post Georgia freshman Kelee Ringo works out with NFL All-Pro, preparing for greatness appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Now comes the hard part. So says Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity with the return of college football underway across the country. 'We have one chance to get this right and we all know what happens if we don't get it right, it certainly pushes us back to the way things are right now,' McGarity said on the Bulldogs Game Day program. RELATED: Kirby Smart discusses Georgia's return to campus 'So we've got to be careful, we've got to do our due diligence, we've got to do a tremendous educational job not only for our staff, but our student athletes, for his new world.' SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced that the league's new world on campus can begin as early as June 8 with voluntary workouts on campus. RELATED: SEC presidents' vote, what it means for Georgia football The football coaches will not be allowed to oversee the workouts, but the programs' strength and conditioning staff will be permitted to supervise. What next? DawgNation Friday Night Mike 1. Uniform football start College programs' return to campus for workouts vary, but the start date for football practices overseen by coaches is expected to be uniform. The Big Ten is allowing its schools to return to campus at their own discretion, Nebraska among the early returners on the first eligibile date, June 1. The SEC has announced a June 8 date, and the Big 12 schools can return as early as June 15. The conference commissioners have agreed on a six-week training camp in effect by mid-July with an on-time season start date in mind. UGA officials have discussed among many possibilities quarantining the coaches and players on campus during a two-introductory phase. McGarity pointed out there is much to be determined. 'It's only the first step and there are many details still to be determined on every campus,' McGarity said. 'We'll certainly be driven by the medical community and our sports medicine staff led by (director of sports medicine) Ron Courson.' The NCAA oversight committee had recommended the six weeks of preparation before the season. 2. Fans in the stands The most fluid element of college football's return also figures to be the most controversial, with impassioned fans holding their collective breath as in-person attendance remains in limbo. Georgia, like every other program, has been considering several models with any sort of final decision still weeks way and almost completely at the mercy of the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio State announced last week it was considering a social-distanced model of 20,000 to 22,000 fans in its 102,000-seat football coliseum. Georgia is considering several attendance models that would take into consideration various COVID-19 conditions and circumstances, using a similar formula to Ohio State from approximately 18,000 on up. The question is, how would the tickets be distributed beyond essential personnel needed for sideline and stadium operations? Major donors, parents of players, recruits and students would seem to be at the forefront of the line in terms of ticket priority. Many scenarios and models are being worked on. 3. Georgia athletes' testing The SEC provided minimum guidelines for its 14-member schools upon announcing the league's June 8 start date with coaching restriction. SEC provides blueprint for team's return A league-appointed 'Medical Guidance Task Force,' which includes top pubic health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the league, plans a 3-stage screening process and testing symptomatic team members. Georgia's plan, however, takes it a step further and involves COVID testing and the medical evaluations on all student-athletes. The obvious question is what happens when a player or players test positive? How will the quarantine process work? McGarity said early on the key words would be 'testing, tracing and treatment,' but until it plays out, there are questions. Players who test positive will likely have their identities withheld by the school under HIPAA guidelines. The value of the UGA sports scholarship has never been more evident, as the programs need not cut any corners because of the $105 million available in the schools' reserve fund. Only 41 percent of FBS programs have a reserve fund, and many have announced cuts and furloughs, some schools eliminating athletics programs. DawgNation College Football Offseason SEC presidents make it official, looking ahead to June 8 return RELATED: 5 keys, NCAA vote on Wednesday includes pivotal provisions College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors votes unanimously in favor of NIL compensation The post WATCH 3 things: What's next for college football return appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It's been interesting to see how the newspapers I read regularly have chosen to deal with the lack of sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Athens Banner-Herald has done away with its sports section for the duration; what sports stories it runs (mostly about what the future holds for the UGA football program), are in the news pages. USA Today has kept its sports section, spending a lot of time discussing what the sports landscape might look like later this year. And, the AJC also has kept its sports section, much of which has been devoted to nostalgic looks back at local teams' triumphs, like the Braves' World Series-winning season. The AJC also has been running a series of columns from its various sports staffers, in which they recount the five most memorable games they have covered in their careers. The articles have been fun reading, covering quite a wide variety of sports (with Georgia football well represented). That put me to thinking about the five most memorable games I've attended. I won't say 'covered,' because, although I've been blogging about Georgia football for 15 seasons, that's always been as a fan, not a reporter. I wasn't a sportswriter during my career with the AJC, and I only ever participated in covering one football game in my career, for The Red & Black student paper at UGA. That was the Sept. 15, 1973, season opener in Athens against the Pitt Panthers. The Dogs were a 17-point favorite, but the Panthers had a running back making his collegiate debut that day named Tony Dorsett, and he rushed for 101 yards as the two teams played to a 7-7 tie. I'd been managing editor of The Red & Black that summer, and all of the paper's student staff wasn't back yet, since school hadn't started (UGA began classes much later in those days), so the sports editor asked me to help out with the coverage. It was the only regular season game I've ever watched from the press box, an experience I didn't particularly enjoy, since you weren't supposed to cheer. After the game, I did the locker room interviews with a disappointed bunch of Dawgs. 'We just never could get going,' my old Athens High classmate Andy Johnson told me. 'We didn't underestimate them. We knew they would be good, but I don't know, I guess we just weren't ready.' So, yeah, it was one of the most memorable games ever for me, in terms of how I experienced it, but not a great outcome. Likewise, the Oct. 22, 1977, homecoming game certainly was one of the most memorable ever, with Prince Charles in attendance (the Georgia student section chanted 'Damn good prince!') and James Brown performing with the Redcoats at halftime (with my brother Jonathan underneath the stage, bracing it with his back as the Godfather of Soul did his splits). But, the game itself was one of the worst ever in Athens, a 33-0 loss to Kentucky. (I believe that might have been the game where an irate Vince Dooley pushed over a row of lockers at halftime in frustration.) The 21-10 win to end the losing streak against Tennessee in 2000 also was memorable. The atmosphere was unforgettable, as the Sanford Stadium crowd sensed victory and massed around the field, but while fans taking down the goalposts after the game was understandable, the fact that some of them then trashed their own stadium, ripping up the hedges, was an act so mindless that I still don't understand it. So, that one stays off the list. I also was at the basketball game in the Georgia Coliseum on March 8, 1969, when 'Pistol Pete' Maravich scored 58 points. With LSU ahead by 8 in the second overtime, Maravich dribbled around Bulldogs defenders for about a minute, putting on a show, then launched a 35-foot hook shot at the buzzer for a 90-80 win. Georgia fans, appreciative of the amazing performance they'd just seen, mobbed him on the floor. But, again, it was a Georgia loss. So, stipulating that I want my five most memorable games to be Dawgs wins, that sent me back to a listing of the greatest games my brothers and I ever have attended. We first compiled it shortly after I started the Junkyard Blawg in 2005, and I updated it in 2009 and 2017, to add additional games. The most recent version offered a baker's dozen of the greatest games I'd seen, and, believe me, it was tough narrowing it down to those. Picking the five most memorable? Even tougher. Still, here goes, ranking them in ascending order, like the AJC series did. (Keep in mind, this is limited to games I saw in person. My list doesn't include some of Georgia's greatest wins games that I watched on TV or listened to on radio, including the upset of Michigan in Ann Arbor, 'Run, Lindsay!' in Jacksonville, the national championship win over Notre Dame in New Orleans and the 'hobnail boot' game in Knoxville.) 5. Georgia over Georgia Tech, 30-24, Nov. 28, 2009:Frankly, I was dreading attending this one when my son Bill decided to take me to my first game at Grant Field in decades, but the lightly-regarded Dawgs ran it down the throats of a Jackets team that ended up winning the ACC Championship. This was the original 'We run this state' game. The looks on the faces of the Tech fans on the walk back to the North Avenue MARTA station afterward were priceless. 4. Georgia over Clemson, 27-12, Oct. 5, 1991:Recently replayed on WSB radio, this was one of the high points of the Ray Goffyears (and there weren't many), as the Dawgs upset the No. 6 Tigers, who went on to win the ACC Championship, in a night game on national TV. Key plays were Georgia safety Mike Jones stripping the ball after a Clemson back had run 54 yards, and quarterback Eric Zeier setting up a TD with a 59-yard bomb to Arthur Marshall. This also was the day the Braves clinched the division title that began their celebrated run under Bobby Cox.When the Braves score was announced after the football game, Georgia and Clemson fans chopped and chanted together. Unforgettable. 3. Georgia over Auburn, 45-20, Nov. 10, 2007:The first 'Blackout' game. I don't think I've ever seen a Sanford Stadium crowd as excited as when the Dawgs burst through that banner in those black jerseys. Still, the Tigers made it a game, taking a 20-17 lead, before a Georgia team featuring Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno scored 28 unanswered points, and wound up dancing to Soulja Boy. 2. Georgia over Alabama, 21-0, Oct. 2, 1976:The outcome of the game between the No. 6 Bulldogs and the No. 10 Crimson Tide never really was in question, and the Sanford Stadium crowd smelled the Bear's blood from the start. This was the loudest I ever heard a Sanford crowd until they enclosed the east end of the stadium. Matt Robinson and Ray Goff alternated running Georgia's veer option offense, and Erk Russell's Junkyard Dogs defense held Bama's vaunted wishbone attack to just 49 yards rushing. Manhandling Bama, which was coming off five straight conference crowns, just wasn't done in those days. This game was one of the toughest tickets ever in Athens. Folks camped out overnight on the tracks, and my Dad had to watch from the Sanford Drive bridge. The postgame celebration in Athens was wild, with police having to close Milledge Avenue. 1. Georgia over Alabama, 18-17, Sept. 18, 1965: This was back during a period when Alabama was our opening game, and the last time the Dogs had won was during the 1959 SEC championship season with Fran Tarkenton. After that, the whippings by the Tide had become somewhat expected. N ot many folks gave the Dawgs much of a chance against the defending national champion Tide at the beginning of Dooley's second season. But, the Dawgs were hanging tough and behind only 17-10 in the fourth quarter. I'd gone to get a Coke and was walking back to my seat when I heard a guy I knew casually from school say to his father, 'The Bear better do something, or Bama could lose this thing.' I'm not sure if he was happy or sad about that, but, sure enough, moments later came the legendary flea-flicker pass from Kirby Moore to Pat Hodgson to Bob Taylor. And then, with the 2-point play pass to Hodgson, Georgia had one of its most unexpected wins ever, especially considering the Tide went on to take another AP national title that year. So, those are five memorable games I've seen in person. Are they the most memorable? Well, yeah, but, ask me tomorrow, and you might get a slightly different listing. After all, they don't come much more memorable than the 2013 UGA-LSU shootout featuring former roomies Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger (the loudest game I've ever experienced at Sanford Stadium) or the butt-kicking of Nick Saban's defending national champion LSU Tigers in 2004 (featuring f ive touchdown throws by David Greene ) or that spine-tingling moment last year when the stadium was lit-up all red at the beginning of the fourth quarter of yet another Georgia win over Notre Dame, or Yeah, I've seen a lot of memorable games. The post It's not easy to narrow down my five most memorable UGA games appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Tom Crean is well known for his Xs and Os and uptempo teams, and Georgia's 2020 basketball recruiting class makes it clear there are no plans to slow down. The Bulldogs are coming off a 16-16 season that saw the team peak the final night with an 18-point win over Ole Miss in the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville. RELATED: Georgia pounds Ole Miss, aims for Florida in SEC tourney The next day, March 12, the college sports world shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. Crean and his team were left wondering what might have been. The Bulldogs have made just one NCAA tournament appearance the last nine years (2015). Crean, who rebuilt Marquette into a Final Four team and rebuilt Indiana into a two-time Big Ten champion knows UGA remains a work in progress. Crean inherited a mess two years ago. A vacuum existed among six returning seniors after star Yante Maten took his leadership and scoring with him to the NBA. Three other players served disciplinary suspensions or have been dismissed from the program. The sole shining star was Nicolas Claxton, and he improved so much under Crean in one season that he went to the NBA following his sophomore year. This rebuild is such that just one player remains from that 2018-19 team. RELATED: Tom Izzo shares insight into his former assistant, Tom Crean UGA appears to be a refreshed and recharged program moving in the right direction. Georgia has a solid nucleus to build around with players like freshman assists record holder Sahvir Wheeler, junior guard Tye Fagan and sophomore power forward Toumani Camara returning. The players are eligible to return to campus as early as June 8 after the SEC presidents voted on Friday to give the green light to players wanting to return to practices for voluntary workouts. The basketball team's plans are currently being evaluated. Look back The 2019-20 campaign saw Georgia set a single-season attendance record in Stegman Coliseum that included marquee home wins over Tennessee and Auburn. On the road, Crean's Bulldogs scored only the second non-conference road victory over a Top 25 team in program history, beating Memphis. And now, another reload is underway, with projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards moving on. RELATED: Georgia's 'Antman' declares for NBA draft, stock soaring Junior power forward Rayshaun Hammonds also elected to leave early, though his professional status is considerably less certain. Crean is looking forward, his roster now void of any players recruited by former coach Mark Fox. 'What I want is a team that can switch, a team that can play multiple ways,' Crean told DawgNation during the Ingles On The Beat show last Monday night. 'We don't need to get anyone that will slow us down or clog that lane. We have to get to the basketball, but we have to be able to run.' No doubt, Georgia has scored 90 or more points 11 times in Crean's two seasons. Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had scored 90 or more points in 11 times in 11 seasons. 'We were second in the country in transition points, we were third in the country at points at the rim, and yet we shot 30 percent from three,' Crean points out. 'You look at some of the games we had, if you had another 3-point make, or two more 3-pointers and I'm not talking about manufacturing threes, I'm talking about making the open threes that we had that's four or five more wins right there.' Georgia could be that close to the bubble again the season, but they'll need to rely on newcomers once again. Experienced recruits Once season after reloading with 10 newcomers and the No. 5-ranked signing class in the county, the Bulldogs are poised with seven more new players. Georgia most recently added Andrew Garcia, a 6-foot-5, 228-pound shooting guard who figures to add scoring punch and muscle to a team that will need to grow up in a hurry. Garcia is the second graduate transfer in the class, joining George Mason transfer Justin Kier (6-4, 197) on what looks to be another very versatile team. '(Kier) is gonna be a combination guard that can handle it and that can score,' Crean said. 'He'll be comfortable bringing the ball up the floor, or be comfortable having the ball thrown ahead to him.' Crean said this Georgia team will need to grow up fast, and that's likely why he's adding two graduate transfers and two junior college transfers, as well. Jonathan Ned is a 6-9 inside-out forward from Eastern Florida State junior college that shot 48-percent from beyond the 3-point line last season. 'We need Jonathan to come in and make threes,' Crean said. 'We need him to drive the ball, rebound and defend his position, but we also need him to make open jump shots.' Mikal Starks (6-0 guard) is another Eastern Florida State junior college transfer 'I think he's a highly competitive leadership guy, he's a winner, he competes, he fights, he's quick and he can get to the basket,' Crean said. 'I think he's going to be a good shooter for us, and I think that's important.' Georgia also has a commitment from Tyron McMillian, a 6-8, 225-pounder from Kilgore, Texas. McMillan is ranked the No. 11 junior college player in the nation. Incoming freshmen K.D. Johnson is a 6-1, top 100 signee out of Hargrave Military Academy High School the Crean believes will have an immediate impact. 'K.D. is a high, high level competitor,' Crean said. 'He's a two-way guy that picks the ball up full court, he'll hawk you, he'll fight you. 'He plays with a high motor, he plays to win, and I love his fearlessness.' Crean said Johnson will take on anybody at the rim, though he expects the talented prospect will quickly adjust to the SEC competition level. 'Sometimes he thinks he's going to go score on the 6-10, 6-11 guy, and I think he's going to have to make the growth of how to get to the other side of the rim and make the kick out (pass),' Crean said. 'But he passes the ball well, when he's locked in and stepping into his shot he's making it consistently. 'I love his track mentality, and I love the fact that he loves the game. Anthony Edwards is like that. You want guys that want to be in the gym making themselves better.' Josh Taylor is another incoming freshman, a 6-8, 195-pounder out of Norcross. 'Josh works around the bucket and he's a very good rebounder,' Crean said. 'He wants to get better as a shooter and driver but he rebounds the ball, he runs both ends and he wants to compete.' Future profile Crean plans to keep with his uptempo style, and he's hoping to develop more toughness and see leaders step up in tight games. That was something that was missing at times the past two seasons. 'Some of those games last season, we couldn't stop the runs because we couldn't stop the bleeding,' Crean said. 'We couldn't go in and get a bucket inside, or we couldn't just say we're going to get an And One. ''We had some maturity leadership issues with that when it was time to get it settled down.' Crean said it's something he needs to recruit to, and he feels good about what Georgia has in the works with a class currently ranked No. 29. 'You can't put a value on people that can settle your team down and bring them confidence on the floor,' Crean said. 'And it isn't always the point guard, and it isn't always the oldest guy. 'Anybody can change momentum inside a game, but very few can bring a lot of confidence every day to a team. Your job as s coach is to develop it and recruit it, and it's imperative you find those people.' Tom Crean May 18, 2020 DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs upset Ole Miss in SEC tourney opener LSU beats Georgia in regular-season finale Georgia basketball goes cold in loss to Florida Anthony Edwards takes over final minute, UGA topples Arkansas WATCH: Georgia celebrates like crazy after Vandy win Bulldogs score resounding win over No. 13 Auburn Georgia basketball drops close one at Texas A&M, Anthony Edwards ill Georgia suffers deflating defeat at Florida UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener The post WATCH: Georgia basketball look ahead, how Tom Crean's building another winner appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart and university leadership made it clear the Bulldogs' program is committed to a safe return when players get back on campus on June 8. 'We're excited to now know when players can begin returning to campus,' Smart said in a statement released on Friday afternoon, hours after the SEC announced the league presidents' vote. RELATED: SEC presidents clear way for voluntary on-campus workouts, Georgia set for return 'We'll be coordinating our efforts with the medical staff keeping the primary focus on health and safety of our student-athletes and those working directly with them at this time.' Smart and his coaching staff will not be allowed to supervise or gather information on the workouts. The players' return is voluntary and can only be overseen by the strength and conditioning staff. Georgia features one of the most respected strength and conditioning coaches in the nation in Scott Sinclair. Sinclair, like Smart, enters his fifth year in the program. RELATED: Scott Sinclair keys positive culture shift in Kirby Smart Era Smart said UGA will be working to implement the return of the players in the coming days amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has sidelined collegiate sports since the winter sports championships were canceled on March. 12. 'I'm sure they are looking forward to returning to begin working toward what we hope is a regular season in the fall,' said Smart, himself once quarantined for two weeks after returning with his family from a vacation in Central America last March. Week Two Update: Coronavirus self-quarantines include Kirby Smart Georgia is scheduled to start the season against Virginia on Sept. 7 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has been holding calls with the league athletic directors on an almost daily basis, and weekly conference calls with SEC league presidents and chancellors leading up to Friday's announcement. RELATED: SEC provides medical task force blueprint' for return Sankey says his focus is on starting the season on time, though he has said the COVID-19 recovery will ultimately set the timeline. UGA athletic director Greg McGarity acknowledged in his statement the return to campus is only a beginning. 'It's only the first step and there are many details still to be determined on every campus,' McGarity said. 'We'll certainly be driven by the medical community and our sports medicine staff led by Ron Courson. 'Guidelines and enhanced health and safety measures will be followed to the letter. Again, this is only the first step with further details and plans coming over the next several days and weeks.' The conference commissioners have agreed on a six-week training camp in effect by mid-July if the season is to start on time. The six weeks had been recommended by the NCAA oversight committee. Courson, Georgia's globally-renowned director of medicine since 1995, is part of the SEC-appointed Medical Guidance Task Force.' 'The great work of the SEC Medical Guidance Task Force, which included Ron Courson, provided the Presidents with thoughtful analysis which helped inform our decision,' said UGA president Jere Morehead, who added that the vote to return on June 8 was unanimous. Courson, who a year ago to the date helped save the life of UGA redshirt freshman quarter D'Wan Mathis, provided an outline of UGA's voluntary work-out and transition plan summary as follows: RELATED: Mind Game, D'Wan Mathis overcoming brain surgery, eager to compete The approval of 'voluntary work-outs' is the first step back in an orderly progression for the return of sports, as follows: First and foremost, our focus is on health and safety. We are taking a collaborative approach that involves public health, community health care system, sports medicine, sports performance, sports nutrition, and sport coaches working together to develop a plan and ensure each student-athlete has a individualized plan for return. We will conduct COVID testing and perform medical evaluations on all student-athletes and they must be medically cleared prior to any physical activity. We will identify any student-athletes and staff who may be more vulnerable due to existing health conditions and ensure that we have an individualized plan of care for their safe return to sport or work based upon medical guidance. Our student-athletes have had an unprecedented lay-off from sports and we have to be smart about how we progress back to activity during this 'transition period'. Our strength and conditioning return to sport plan will be based off national consensus guidelines developed by a joint task force with representatives from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. It involves starting with a reduced volume of work and modified work-rest ratios with a gradual increase, allowing the student-athletes to acclimate to both the environment with heat and humidity as well as building up exercise tolerance. We have developed a detailed plan to utilize the strength and conditioning facilities that follows the State of Georgia Executive order for re-opening of exercise facilities, including screening procedures, small groups using social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. DawgNation College Football Offseason SEC presidents make it official, looking ahead to June 8 return RELATED: 5 keys, NCAA vote on Wednesday includes pivotal provisions College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors votes unanimously in favor of NIL compensation The post Kirby Smart reveals thoughts on return, Georgia outlines voluntary workout transition plan appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The most recent installment of DawgNation's 'Before the Hedges' weekly live recruiting program called to attention the five biggest programs in the way for the best possible Georgia recruiting class for the 2021 cycle. Given how Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs have been going of late, that would mean another No. 1 national class. If so, that reality would match what the Bulldogs did in claiming the nation's No. 1 class on the 247Sports Team Composite rankings in both 2018 and 2020. Which schools are in the way? We counted them down on 'Hedges' this week. 5. Auburn (Looks to be the biggest rival for the Bulldogs in the chase for 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr.) 4. Michigan (The Bulldogs are trying to pull 4-star RB Donovan Edwards out of Michigan 3. North Carolina (Tar Heels loom as the top contender to UGA for 5-star CB Tony Grimes) 2. Clemson (Recently offered priority OLB Dallas Turner and are in the final 3 for 5-star S James Williams) 1. Alabama(The Crimson Tide has been the leader for Turner and are major contenders for OT Amarius Mims, LB Xavian Sorey Jr. and 5-star safety James Williams.) Want more detail? Sure you do. Check out the full episode of this week's 'Before the Hedges' below. DAWGNATION 'BEFORE THE HEDGES' Top Targets for 5/20/2020 8.4-star OG Dylan Fairchild (West Forsyth/Cumming, Ga. 7. 4-star OL Terrence Ferguson/Peach County/Fort Valley, Ga. 6. 4-star ILBSmael Mondon Jr./Paulding County/Dallas, Ga. 5. 5-star ILBSmael Mondon Jr./Paulding County/Dallas, Ga. 4.4-star RB Donovan Edwards/West Bloomfield/West Bloomfield, Mich. 3. 5-star OT Amarius Mims/Bleckley County/Cochran, Ga. 2. 5-star S James Williams/American Heritage/Plantation, Fla. 1. 5-star CB Tony Grimes/Princess Anne/Virginia Beach, Va. The 'Hedges' program extends its weekly 'top targets' feature out to 13 names in the embedded video streams above. 2021 Georgia commits Current national ranking: No. 20 overall (7 commitments) (All ratings from the 247Sports Composite) (Includes change in overall ranking from the 5/13/20 edition of 'Before the Hedges') 5-star QB Brock Vandagriff/Prince Avenue Christian/Bogart, Ga. 6-3/205/Nation's No. 2 dual-threat QB/No. 12 overall (No change) 4-star Micah Morris/Camden County/Kingsland, Ga. 6-5/325/Nation's No. 7 OT/No. 61 overall (No change) 4-star ATH David Daniel/Woodstock HS/Woodstock, Ga. 6-2/193/Nation's No. 4 ATH/No. 84 overall (Up 3 spots overall) 4-star RB Lovasea Carroll/IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla. 6-1/199/Nation's No. 7 RB/No. 118 overall (Up 5 spots overall) 4-star DE Jonathan Jefferson (Projects to DT) 6-4/270/Nation's No. 14 SDE and No. 145 overall (Down 1 spot overall) 4-star OLB Elijah Jeudy 6-3/244/Nation's No. 10 weak-side DE and No. 167 overall (Down 4 spots overall) 3-star DT Marlin Dean/Elbert County/Elberton, Ga. 6-5 and 265/Nation's No. 35 DT/No. 449 overall (Down 17 spots overall) DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) Brock Bowers: The nation's No. 3 TE knows what he would like to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The real nuggets to know about the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect Elite cornerback Marquise Groves-Killebrew is a 'No. 1 priority' for 2022 Moliki Matavao: Nation's No. 4 TE releases his commitment date Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit Dylan Fairchild: Elite O-line target includes UGA among his top six schools What exactly are these virtual recruiting visits like right now? How the 2021 commits turned a slick edit into Amarius Mims Appreciation Day Dallas Turner: Why Alabama has a slight lead on UGA for the elite pass rusher HEDGES: Why James Williams looms so large for the 2021 Georgia class Georgia's program is now moving past the de-commitments of previous cycles Georgia extends an impactful offer to future 5-star RB Richard Young The 5 things you haven't read yet about recent OLB commit Elijah Jeudy Georgia OL commit Micah Morris made a silent pledge to UGA quite a long time ago The post HEDGES: The programs looming as the big hurdles for Georgia recruiting in 2021 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The SEC included guidances and best practices for student-athletes and support personnel to adhere to once the football and basketball players return to campus on June 8. Coaches will not be allowed to supervise nor garner reports on the student-athletes' activity through the month of June. NCAA regulations allow only strength and conditioning coaches to supervise the workouts. RELATED: SEC presidents' vote triggers Georgia players' return June 8 There is a waiver, however, that allows eight hours of virtual film review through June 30 for football and basketball. The league presidents and chancellors appointed a ' Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force,' in April. It's a group made up of top public health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the SEC's 14 schools. Per the SEC release, In addition to standard infection prevention measures as approved by public health authorities such as facility cleaning and social distancing, recommended enhanced health and safety measures include: Enhanced education of all team members on health and wellness best practices, including but not limited to preventing the spread of COVID-19 A 3-stage screening process that involves screening before student-athletes arrive on campus, within 72 hours of entering athletics facilities and on a daily basis upon resumption of athletics activities Testing of symptomatic team members (including all student-athletes, coaches, team support and other appropriate individuals) Immediate isolation of team members who are under investigation or diagnosed with COVID-19 followed by contact tracing, following CDC and local public health guidelines A transition period that allows student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sport activity following a period of inactivity SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has said since the onset of the COVID-19 crises, as far back as March 12, that the league would prioritize the safety of the student-athletes at each step. 'The safe and healthy return of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our greater university communities have been and will continue to serve as our guiding principle as we navigate this complex and constantly-evolving situation,' Sankey said in Friday's release. 'At this time, we are preparing to begin the fall sports season as currently scheduled, and this limited resumption of voluntary athletic activities on June 8 is an important initial step in that process. 'Thanks to the blueprint established by our Task Force and the dedicated efforts of our universities and their athletics programs, we will be able to provide our student-athletes with far better health and wellness education, medical and psychological care and supervision than they would otherwise receive on their own while off campus or training at public facilities as states continue to reopen.' UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson, who one year ago today (May 22) is credited with saving the life of Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis, represents UGA in task force. RELATED: Georgia saved my son's life,' D'Wan Mathis update DawgNation College Football Offseason College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors votes unanimously in favor of NIL compensation The post SEC includes task force blueprint' for safe return to campus activity appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS SEC football and basketball players can return to campus for voluntary workouts on June 8 after a vote of league presidents on Friday. ALERT-Voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on @SEC campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution. Southeastern Conference (@SEC) May 22, 2020 The NCAA cleared the path for the student-athletes return as early as June 1 on Wednesday when the Division I Council voted to lift a moratorium for on-campus activity that ran through May 31. RELATED: NCAA vote on Wednesday includes pivotal provisions The 40-member council decided in a virtual meeting that Division I football and basketball players could take part in voluntary activities provided they adhere to state and federal provisions and/or guidelines. Per the NCAA release, council members emphasized health and safety aspects, to the extent that reopening campuses ' will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts,' per council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Penn. Coaches cannot attend or direct the voluntary workouts unless there's a safety exemption nor can they receive reports from the activity. Prep work The University of Georgia has been working on the players returning to campus for weeks, since president Jere Morehead appointed nine groups made up of 140 people. 'There will obviously have to be some changes, and there will have to be some precautions,' Morehead said in an April WGAU interview. Morehead said the groups are working in the areas of: workplace safety, instruction, research, public service and outreach, student life, athletics and the fiscal impact. Scott Woodward, the athletic director at defending national football champion LSU, said last week his program was preparing for the June 1 return. 'We are preparing for a June 1 return, even though we don't know that,' Woodward said in a Zoom call that included the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. 'I see some time in June our athletes getting back to campus and us taking care of them and being paramount in safety and health.' Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said last week the Buckeyes set a potential return date of June 8, per Bucknuts. Next step This, after NCAA president Mark Emmert said he would not legislate a uniform return from conference to conference. RELATED: NCAA preside Mark Emmert addresses uniformity of schools' return While voluntary workouts will resume on campuses across the country at different times, conference commissioners reached a consensus on a six-week training camp in effect by mid-July if the season is to start on time. The six weeks had been recommended by the NCAA oversight committee, as previously reported by DawgNation. The Division I Council said it will address the return of other sports to campus soon, with their respective status' determined by electronic vote. DawgNation College Football Offseason Key for college football return to campus, hurdles still ahead College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors votes unanimously in favor of NIL compensation The post SEC presidents clear voluntary on-campus workouts, Georgia players return June 8 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entrydetails a very recent conversation with 4-star Georgia tight end target Brock Bowers out in California. If the NCAA decided today to green light on-campus recruiting visits again for the 2021 recruiting class, the nation's No. 3 TE prospect where he would go. Brock Bowers does want to check out the University of Georgia again. 'Shoot I know I'd want to go check out Georgia again,' Bowers said. 'Just to go back down there. To feel that again. I want to get up to Oregon and actually have like a real visit up there. Shoot, then some other schools probably. I'm not totally sure yet.' Georgia and Oregon were the two schools he felt that he needed to check out the most at this time. Bowers rates as the nation's No. 3 TE prospect and the No. 94 overall prospect for the 2021 cycle on the 247Sports Composite rankings. It is because he can do things like this practice clip below. Missing the practice vibes #3 pic.twitter.com/WsIhiUu8wB Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) May 21, 2020 Bowers said in early April that he needed some visits once the quarantine lifted to sort out the remainder of his recruiting process. Has that changed at all? 'Not really,' he said. 'I'd like to take a couple of officials before I make my decision but that would be like a best-case scenario there. We'll see.' He named his top 8 back on April 5. Top 8 Edit: @Hayesfawcett3 pic.twitter.com/E4sZhCZprX Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) April 5, 2020 He's not sure if he will whittle that down to an even more select group. 'I'm not totally sure about that yet,' Bowers said. 'I kind of like where I am at right now. Just like leaving doors open and everything. But maybe down the road I might cut it down to a top 3 or a top 4 or something. I'm not totally sure yet.' It doesn't sound like he will have enough time to take all five of his official visits. 'Not sure about that the way everything is going,' he said. RELATED: Do you know Bowers carries a 4.33 grade-point average? Check out the first deep DawgNation profile on Brock Bowers Brock Bowers: The latest here with the Georgia Bulldogs There's a list of recent social media posts that deserve a mention here in this space. The first was the back and forth between Bowers and 5-star QB commitment Brock Vandagriff on Twitter. Brock -> Brock for 6!! I could get used to that @brockbowers17 pic.twitter.com/9oe0OxAiJT brock (@BrockVandagriff) May 14, 2020 Bowers took that and ran with it. Could be nasty https://t.co/KxMvteWjHs Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) May 14, 2020 What would it be like to pair up with Vandagriff? 'We've texted a little bit here and there,' Bowers said. 'It is cool to talk to him. It would be cool just having a guy like that as one of the top players as your quarterback. It would be pretty cool.' The edit itself was 'pretty cool' in his opinion, too. He visited Georgia right before the dead period prior to the National Signing Day for the 2020 class. There are certain aspects of that trip that still resonate with Bowers. 'The people there were just great and that's what I really remember,' he said. 'I liked all the coaches and the players I met and the other recruits it just all seemed that like they wanted to be there. It was like they all really were happy to be there. It was where they wanted to be.' The big thing he likes about Georgia right now has to do with his peers in the 2021 recruiting class. 'I think the best thing for me is the relationships I have with the coaches and like I just feel connected with a couple of the players there I guess,' Bowers said. He said that was Brock and a couple of other recruits he has gotten to know in the 2021 class. That has been fostered by his participation in a group text message chat for 2021 commits and major Georgia targets. Bowers said he was really starting to connect with a pair of 2021 Georgia targets in OLB prospect Chaz Chambliss and OL Dylan Fairchild. 'I talk to [tight ends coach] Todd Hartley a lot and I will talk to coach [Kirby] Smart about once a week,' he said. 'Those are the main two I usually hear from.' When it comes to those chats, he said they have evolved to where it feels natural. Nothing really seems forced. There was one other aspect of his recruiting story which will be of major interest here. That has to do with his parents. His mother is a schoolteacher and he hails from a family of athletes. It appears that Mr. and Mrs. Bowers have done their homework in reaching out to another California family that is now a big part of the Georgia football program. 'I'm pretty sure that both my Mom and Dad really like it at Georgia,' he said. 'They've been talking to Kendall Milton's parents out in Fresno about Georgia and how he likes it and how he adjusted to like Georgia from California. That's good for them to get a little bit of another family's insight on that.' They gathered some UGA Intel of their own. 'It was pretty cool and good for my parents to hear for them to have some security about everything,' Bowers said. The 6-foot-3 rising senior feels like there will be a high school season in California. It might just be delayed and start about a month later than the norm. Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. What else did Brock Bowers have to say? Bowers is a serious athlete. The sort that Georgia doesn't really have in its program at the TE spot. He timed at 4.55 seconds on the laser in the 40 at an Opening regional in 2019. That combine showing for him that day, when he had just an offer from Nevada at the time, also included a 40-inch vertical. That really sent his stock soaring. His 2019 junior film only elevated that. He turned 14 of his 39 catches into TDs in 2019. He averaged 28 yards per catch. It followed an 0-10 season in 2018. He played tight end, running back, wide receiver, linebacker and punt returner for his team as a junior. He totaled up 355 rushing yards, including a pair of 100-yard games on the ground. He wrapped up 25 stops, eight tackles for losses and a sack at OLB. The 2021 All-American Bowl commitment has caught 21 touchdowns over the last two seasons. There was that season-opening game last fall in which he reeled in eight catches for 91 yards and two scores. He also had an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in that contest. Could he make a commitment over the next three months? 'I'm just going to play it by ear,' Bowers said. 'I'm not really in a rush but it would be nice to get it over with. So it is like just whenever I am ready, I will just do it I guess.' If he can get his top schools down to three or four programs, then he feels like it would be the same thing as trying to limit the recruiting pressures that might have stunted his ability to take a lot of the stress out of his senior season. It would be almost like committing prior to the season to take a lot of the pressure off. Bowers has been able to limit some of the communication during the quarantine. 'I don't have to do every single zoom call and I can say no to some requests but I am always good to get on the phone and everything.' At the start of the quarantine, he said those calls were 'pretty overwhelming' regarding his time. It is a lot better now. He feels like he's still pretty dialed-in athletically. The 4-star TE prospect said he's been able to lift and get on thegrassregularly and also work on his speed training and conditioning during the pandemic. 'I've been doing all it can to stay ready and keep working,' he said. What new hobby or skill has he picked up during COVID-19? He said it was an appreciation for 'The Office' through binge-watching. His favorite character in the series? That's Michael. Check out his junior highlight reel below. DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) De'Jahn Warren: The real nuggets to know about the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect Elite cornerback Marquise Groves-Killebrew is a 'No. 1 priority' for 2022 Moliki Matavao: Nation's No. 4 TE releases his commitment date Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Why the 2021 class could be Kirby Smart's best DB recruiting crop yet Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit Dylan Fairchild: Elite O-line target includes UGA among his top six schools What exactly are these virtual recruiting visits like right now? How the 2021 commits turned a slick edit into Amarius Mims Appreciation Day Why O-line target Noah Josey goes a long way back with Georgia's Matt Luke Dallas Turner: Why Alabama has a slight lead on UGA for the elite pass rusher HEDGES: Why James Williams looms so large for the 2021 Georgia class Georgia's program is now moving past the de-commitments of previous cycles Georgia extends an impactful offer to future 5-star RB Richard Young The 5 things you haven't read yet about recent OLB commit Elijah Jeudy Georgia OL commit Micah Morris made a silent pledge to UGA quite a long time ago Jermaine Burton: Why coming home meant everything to Georgia's next great WR The post Brock Bowers: The nation's No. 3 TE knows what he would like to do before his decision appeared first on DawgNation.

Local News

  • The first week of work on Oconee County’s newest traffic circle is coming to a close: crews have closed a stretch of Malcom Bridge Road to construct a roundabout. The impacted area is between the 2400 block of Malcom Bridge to its junction with Mars Hill Road. It’s a project that is designed to facilitate traffic at the bus and staff entrance to Malcom Bridge elementary and middle schools in Oconee County. Work is expected to continue through the end of July.  This will be Oconee County’s second roundabout. The first opened last year at Mars Hill Road’s intersection with Malcom Bridge Road. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Police are searching for suspects in the reported armed robbery of an auto parts store on Hawthorne Avenue: workers in the store tell police they were made to lie on the floor by two men wearing surgical masks.  The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says an Athens man arrested and booked into the Oconee County jail after allegedly shoplifting at a Wal Mart store on Epps Bridge Road was armed at the time of the crime. In addition to the theft charges, 24 year-old Shaquavion Adkins (pictured above) is facing counts related to the gun possession and the fact that had been previously convicted on felon charges and was thus not legally allowed to have the handgun.  A Newton County woman arrested after police say she shot her child’s father and his girlfriend is now facing a murder charge: police in Covington say charges for 22 year-old Dalanna Bailey were upgraded from aggravated assault after the death of 27 year-old La’Peachah Nash.
  • The system that runs Georgia’s 22 technical colleges introduced a plan to its board Wednesday that proposes furloughs and layoffs to meet the state government’s demand to cut its budget by 14% for the 12-month fiscal year that starts July 1. The plan does not specify how many employees would be laid off. The system said it still in the process of evaluating to determine an exact number Regarding furloughs, the system is planning a tiered approach that includes up to 12 days. The furloughs would begin July 1. The system’s commissioner, Greg Dozier, would participate in the furlough plan, a spokesman said. State officials earlier this month asked all departments and agencies to come up with the 14% cuts in response to revenue declines created by the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed 14% cuts total $52.3 million across the technical college system, with more than $46 million coming from general education programs and the rest from its adult education budget, administrative costs and other programs. Dozier told board members that some educational programs being done on multiple campuses would be consolidated, such as auto collision or fire services. Some adult education programs would have more students and more classes would be taught online. The system has metro Atlanta colleges in Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties and the city of Atlanta.
  • The Clarke County School District says links to virtual graduation ceremonies for seniors at Clarke Central, Cedar Shoals, and Classic City high schools will be available later today: the District says the events are not live and can be viewed on-demand. From the Clarke Co School District… Cedar Shoals High School Valedictorian – Paula Figueroa Ms. Paula Figueroa, the valedictorian of Cedar Shoals, is continuing her academic journey at Emory University. Active on and off-campus in student government, service clubs, and volunteer organizations, she also conducted research at the Tsai Lab Genetics Department, as part of the “Young Dawgs” program at the University of Georgia. Ms. Figueroa received accolades from the National Honor Society, National Hispanic Honor Society, and was named an AP Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction. “My experience at Cedar Shoals was one I wouldn’t change. When I first started high school, I was new to the state, and I didn’t know anyone, but I came to realize how inviting, and inclusive the community was. I fell in love with my school’s diversity and its constant successful fights with adversity. Cedar Shoals is where I met my closest friends, where I learned how to speak up, lead, and, most importantly, how to grow and keep going when things get tough.” “Ms. Figueroa was a joy to have in our classrooms and school community – she is charismatic, humble, and brought a wonderful spirit to Cedar,” states Antonio Derricotte, principal.  Co-Salutatorian – Angela Ghimire Cedar Shoal’s co-salutatorian, Ms. Angela Ghimire, credits her involvement in the Freshman Academy Mentoring Program as having a significant influence on her future. Helping to impact the lives of other students motivated her to set higher goals and work to achieve academic success. “The diverse and open-minded environment of Cedar Shoals allowed me to build a foundation of excellence for myself and gave me countless opportunities to strive for greatness. Cedar Shoals introduced me to so many hard-working educators and supportive peers who all contributed to helping me to reach where I am today,” states Ms. Ghimire. Co-Salutatorian – Aaliyah Hill Ms. Aaliyah Hill, co-salutatorian at Cedar Shoals, recognized and valued how a school community could positively shape the entire student body. “Attending high school at Cedar makes you feel like you have a second family. Through the ups and downs, we always seemed to come together for the better,” states Ms. Hill. Active in extra-curricular activities as a varsity cheerleader and a member of the Senior Advisory Board, she was named to the National Honor Society and served as president of the Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Political Science Honor Society. Ms. Hill will attend Georgia State University, with plans to major in nursing or health sciences. “Ms. Hill was an advocate for fellow students, constantly campaigning on their behalf, and inspiring them to find their voice and seek answers. She’s a positive force and will be a success in whichever field she chooses,” states Antonio Derricotte, Cedar Shoals principal.Clarke Central High School Co-Valedictorian – Theron Camp Clarke Central’s co-valedictorian, Mr. Theron Camp, is attending the University of Georgia as a Foundation Fellow, after an accomplished high school career which included being named a National Merit Finalist and the Clarke County STAR Student. 'I have only positive things to say about the people at Clarke Central. I know people say this sort of thing all the time in these situations, but I don't think they entirely understand what it means or how uncommon it really is for people's high school experience (and, in fact, their entire school experience) to be defined by positive and productive interactions. Looking back, four years is an awfully short time, and though I'm ready to move on to the college part of life, I don't think I spent nearly as much time at Central as I might've liked.' Mr. Theron’s extra-curricular activities included competing with the cross country and track teams, creating art, serving as the team photographer for the DC Girls’ Baseball team, and being a founding player/member of Northeast Georgia Hockey Association. “Mr. Camp is an academically focused student-athlete who represented our school well,” states Dr. Swade Huff, principal of Clarke Central.  Co-Valedictorian – Elena Gilbertson Hall Ms. Elena Gilbertson Hall, Clarke Central’s co-valedictorian, parlayed her high school success into acceptance from 14 post-secondary institutions (and almost $700,000 in scholarship offers), deciding to attend the University of Chicago, with the intent to study political science and mathematics. “Clarke Central has given me so many opportunities, including amazing teachers, classes, clubs, and extraordinarily supportive staff members and administrators,” states Ms. Gilbertson Hall. “My favorite thing about CCHS is the diverse student body, and I have learned so much from my peers over the past four years. Although our senior year didn't end as expected, I am grateful for the years I have gotten to spend with the class of 2020, and I wish all my classmates the best in the future.” Ms. Gilbertson Hall’s high school highlights include Editor-in-Chief of the ODYSSEY Media Group, 2020 Georgia Champion Journalist, Legislative Fellow for State Representative Spencer Frye, Founder of the Equal Test Prep Initiative, President of the CCHS Young Democrats Club, CoPresident of the CCHS Women in STEM Club, Winner of the National Merit Scholarship, Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of the Athens Mayor's Youth Commission. “Ms. Gilbertson Hall is a talented ambassador of Clarke Central who advocated for others through her thoughts and actions, as evident with her Equal Test Prep program to prepare students for the ACT/SAT,” states Dr. Swade Huff, principal.  Salutatorian – Lucy Yeomans Ms. Lucy Yeomans acquired accolades in the classroom, on the concert stage, and as a recordsetting athlete. As a scholar, she was named Cumulative “All-A” Honor Roll, AP Scholar with Distinction, Georgia Certificate of Merit, and National Merit Commended Scholar. A school recordholder in swimming and track and field, Ms. Yeomans led teams to state competitions, earning region and state honors. As a member of the Clarke Central Orchestra, she was named Most Valuable Player, Most Dedicated Player, and designated Concertmaster. Ms. Yeomans will attend the University of Richmond. 'I wouldn't trade my experience at Clarke Central for anything. It is such a diverse, unique school that has afforded me many opportunities,' states Ms. Yeomans. Clarke Central’s principal knows Ms. Yeomans will be successful going forward. “She worked hard as a student-athlete and positioned herself to continue finding success in both roles at the collegiate level,” states Dr. Swade Huff.Classic City High School Valedictorian – Joseph Ferdina Thoyi Le Le Walker Along with his high school diploma, Classic City’s top student, Joseph Walker, received a Technical Certificate of Credit for Video Game Design Specialist, prompting aspirations to enter the field of animation after college. “After starting school in Oregon then moving from Mississippi to Athens, my educational experience took a different turn. I came to Classic City to get ahead with my credits. I remained focused and even took advantage of academic opportunities to gain college credits,” states Mr. Walker. “The experiences I had going to a non-traditional school made it worth my while because attending Classic City and taking college courses through Athens Tech at ACCA gave me real-world practice for my future in college and life. I had the opportunity to feel the freedom and responsibility that comes with having entire sections of the day where I had no classes. The friends I made came from different grade levels and experiences, and we were all able to connect as equals. I wouldn't change it for the world. As a result of taking a non-traditional route, putting in hard work, and making genuine connections, I know that my future in animation will be bright.” “Joseph is one of a kind. His thinking is atypical of students his age – he thinks outside of the box but has realistic visions. Joseph takes advantage of opportunities to encourage others and is on the right track to accomplish future goals. I know success is in his future and can’t wait to see how he brightens up the world,” states Katrina Daniel, principal of Classic City. Salutatorian Melissa Campbell Classic City’s salutatorian decided to go to Classic City to experience a different educational environment, seeking smaller class sizes and an accelerated pace. Ms. Melissa Campbell utilized Classic City’s college and career resources to help her decide to continue her education and train to be a medical assistant. “Classic City allowed me to open up more and be myself. If it weren't for the amazing teachers, I would not be in this position today to graduate a year early. They all continued to encourage me, along with my wonderful mother,” states Ms. Campbell. “I am proud to be the salutatorian of Classic City's Class of 2020!” “Melissa is honest, caring, and very compassionate about doing her best,” states Katrina Daniel, Classic City principal. “She worked hard and accomplished her goal by finishing a year ahead of schedule – proving when you stay focused, set goals, and work hard, all things are possible.” 
  • The landfill on Lexington Road near the Clarke-Oglethorpe County line is reopening for Saturday service starting tomorrow, but Athens-Clarke County officials say you will have to make an appointment.From the Athens-Clarke Co government website… In addition to Monday-Friday, ACC Landfill will re-open for residential customers on Saturdays beginning May 23, 2020 by appointment only. ACC Landfill residential customers must make an appointment online at www.accgov.com/landfill before visiting the Landfill.  Operations have been adjusted to allow a manageable flow of customers while keeping staff safe. Face masks and social distancing are highly encouraged. Residents can pay via water business account or check ONLY.  Oglethorpe Construction & Demolition Landfill will also re-open on Saturdays from 8-11:45 am. Face masks and gloves are required for all Oglethorpe landfill customer

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Social media has never played a bigger role in sports than it has the past 2 1/2 months with college sports sidelined on account of the coronavirus. For better and sometimes for worse, fanbases have relied heavily on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for their sports takes of late. Certainly, social media had a field day on Sunday after watching 'The Match ll' on television featuring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. There was key insight into the Georgia football program to be found on Twitter, too. More social media buzz is schedule for Tuesday, when UGA star pitcher Emerson Hancock holds a 10 a.m. Zoom press conference to announce his future intentions with the Major League Baseball Draft approaching. On Wednesday, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity joins DawgNation at noon for the On The Beat program. The show moved from its customary 7:30 p.m. Monday slot on account of Memorial Day. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean appeared last week. The Bulldogs have a reloaded team that looks to break more records next season. RELATED: How Tom Crean plans to turn Georgia basketball into a winner Here are three social media blasts worth noting from the Memorial Day weekend: Monty speaks up and out Georgia senior Monty Rice has yet to make first-team All-SEC, and he's hardly a household name even in his home state of Alabama. But the feeling here is Rice has evolved into the leader and player Kirby Smart knew he could be two years ago when he tabbed him to step in Roquan Smith's shoes at linebacker. Rice echoed his head coach's Sugar Bowl post-game sentiments when he called out himself and teammates on Memorial Day, setting a tone that's sure to roll into workouts when UGA players return on June 8. WATCH: Kirby Smart sends stern message after Sugar Bowl win It's one thing for a coach to say it, but another when a team leader like Rice is sending the message in the locker room when the coaches aren't around. I've been on a defense that was supposed to be dominant and we weren't. Wanna know why? 1word complacency #ripshotime #lastyeardontmatter Monty Rice (@RiceMonty) May 25, 2020 It's worth noting Georgia led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense last season and ranked third in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense. It's also worth pointing out that it was Rice throwing a fit in the postgame of the Auburn game. While many others celebrated a 21-14 win, Rice was aggravated UGA gave up its first rushing TD of the season. WATCH: Monty Rice more evidence of invisible progress during COVID-19 break And, from the sounds of it, incoming freshmen like Kelee Ringo will see to it returning starters can't afford to get complacent. RELATED: Kelee Ringo trains with NFL star, could make sudden impact at cornerback Peyton tees off Former Tennessee standout and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning is perhaps the greatest pitch man in football history, so he was right at home being mic'd up for 'The Match ll' golf event with Brady, Woods and Mickelson. Manning hilariously explained why he wouldn't match the signature red and black colors worn by his golf partner, Woods. 'I'm mot wearing black and red, that's Georgia Bulldog colors, I mean, I just can't do that,' Manning said. 'If you want me to get sick on the first hole I'll do it. 'I'm not gonna let Kirby Smart get a picture of me in black and red for their social media account.' #Georgia fans take note: social media matters, even Peyton conscientious of Kirby Smart https://t.co/xNX3jz8bIJ MikeGriffith32 (@MikeGriffith32) May 24, 2020 Tennessee has elevated its program image through social media throughout the offseason like no other program, trumpeting a No. 2 recruiting ranking that currently hinges more on volume than average player rating. To boot, the Vols social media account is promoting fictitious cartoon 'Coach Duggs' playing video games, celebrating the animated action as though it was real. Gametime Back where it all began Tennessee @ Toledo Starts Now -> https://t.co/MzqHRTGM0Z pic.twitter.com/2so1jP0swO Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) May 25, 2020 RELATED: Vols rewriting recruiting playbook Jake's belated farewell Celebrated Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm slipped away from the Bulldogs' program via a social media farewell on Jan. 8. RELATED: Jake Fromm drops surprising decision on Georgia, ends decorated career It seemed odd that a player so highly regarded and accomplished as Fromm would choose to bid his program and fan base farewell via a social media post rather than an in-person press conference. The personable Fromm is as celebrated a home-state hero as one will find. From his heroic Little League World Series days in Warner Robins, to his fascinating and fun character reveal as a star of the Netflix QB1 Series. Fromm, now in the role of NFL underdog quarterback as a rookie with the Buffalo Bills, took time to share his sentiments for Georgia through the school's football account on Saturday. Most everyone knew how Fromm felt about the Bulldogs, but to finally hear him acknowledge the legacy he leaves behind had to leave UGA fans feeling fulfilled Fromm shared some of his favorite memories, concluding, 'What's not to love about it? Everything, honestly . I loved every minute of it, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the entire world. 'The fans are amazing, and that's what makes Georgia football fun, the whole state of Georgia and DawgNation gets on board.' . An Experience Unlike Any Other | @FrommJake takes us back to some of his favorite memories as a Dawg #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/mYjAS6y94A Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 23, 2020 DawgNation Georgia football offseason Kirby Smart shares thoughts on June 8 return to campus Jamaree Salyer one of the big offseason winners for Georgia Rival programs looming on recruiting trail for Bulldogs Podcast: George Pickens should ease Jamie Newman transition WATCH: Jamie Newman gets offseason work with Justin Fields The post 3 Georgia football social media blasts from Monty Rice, Peyton Manning and Jake Fromm appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia has arguably the best secondary in the nation returning, but there's talk incoming freshman Kelee Ringo is so good he might ultimately win a starting job this season. Ringo, no doubt, has the mindset and approach along with talent to make a sudden impact for the Bulldogs. WATCH: Early takeaways on newcomers, Kelee Ringo leads No. 1 class The No. 1-ranked cornerback prospect in the country certainly isn't resting on his laurels, as his recent workout at Ford Sports Performance indicated. NFL trainer Tracy Ford post pictures on his twitter account of the young and gifted Ringo working out with 5-time NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman on Saturday. Ford said Ringo, the No. 4 overall player in the nation per the 247Sports composite, was 'getting the words of wisdom.' The #1 rated HS corner in the country in 2020 @KeleeRingo getting the words of wisdom today from the Best Corner in the @NFL @RSherman_25 during today's on field session. The knowledge is priceless when the vision is clear and the people are Pure! #FSPCulture #WeJustWorking pic.twitter.com/efzQdQiEoF Tracy Ford (@TFordFSP) May 24, 2020 There's sure to be plenty more of those from Georgia secondary coach Charlton Warren, one of the more celebrated position coach hires of the Smart era last summer. RELATED: What Kelee Ringo's decision to attend Georgia means for future Fact is, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ringo will arrive in Athens in June with NFL prototype size. 'Everybody that first sees him goes he is probably a safety right?' said Ringo's Saguaro High School coach, Jason Mohns. 'You're not used to seeing corners that are that big and that physical. But the kid is a 10.4 state champion in the 100 meters. He's a back-to-back 100 meters champion in the state of Arizona. He ran the fastest time in the state last year. So why do you need to move him?' 'He's got great feet. He's got great hips. He's got tremendous speed. He's got great length. He's got the instincts of a great cornerback. He's what I have heard described as a unicorn. They don't make them like Kelee.' Indeed, but a ton of experienced competition awaits Ringo in Athens. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy was commenting last week on how much experience the Bulldogs bring back from a secondary that ranked No. 8 in the nation in pass efficiency. Eric Stokes, D.J. Daniel and Tyson Campbell all have multiple starts under their belts, and safety Richard LeCounte has the look of a preseason All-American. Hard to imagine any team having more upperclassmen DB talent than @GeorgiaFootball. Seniors DS Richard LeCounte and CBs D.J. Daniel & Mark Webb are all next-level players. RS junior CB Eric Stokes is also a @seniorbowl candidate if he grads in December. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/Sow4qhykez Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) May 18, 2020 Lewis Cine shined in place of safety J.R. Reed in his Cotton Bowl start, and then there's all sorts of talented depth in the defensive backs room. RELATED: J.R. Reed says UGA defense won't be no name' much longer Senior Mark Webb has the inside track at the star position but sophomore Tyrique Stevenson impressed in the spring of 2019 and appears poised to make an impact. Redshirt sophomore Divaad Wilson, junior Ameer Speed, junior Christopher Smith, junior William Poole and junior Latavious Brini are all considered in the mix. RELATED: 3 parting shots from dominant Sugar Bowl win over Baylor Georgia signed some other talented defensive backs, too, including early enrollees Major Burns and Jalen Kimber. But Ringo, the sentiment is, could be a difference-maker. The fact he was willing to travel up to Washington to work out before reporting to Georgia is merely more evidence of just how special of an addition Ringo could be. DawgNation Georgia football offseason Kirby Smart shares thoughts on June 8 return to campus Jamaree Salyer one of the big offseason winners for Georgia Rival programs looming on recruiting trail for Bulldogs Podcast: George Pickens should ease Jamie Newman transition WATCH: Jamie Newman gets offseason work with Justin Fields The post Georgia freshman Kelee Ringo works out with NFL All-Pro, preparing for greatness appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Now comes the hard part. So says Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity with the return of college football underway across the country. 'We have one chance to get this right and we all know what happens if we don't get it right, it certainly pushes us back to the way things are right now,' McGarity said on the Bulldogs Game Day program. RELATED: Kirby Smart discusses Georgia's return to campus 'So we've got to be careful, we've got to do our due diligence, we've got to do a tremendous educational job not only for our staff, but our student athletes, for his new world.' SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced that the league's new world on campus can begin as early as June 8 with voluntary workouts on campus. RELATED: SEC presidents' vote, what it means for Georgia football The football coaches will not be allowed to oversee the workouts, but the programs' strength and conditioning staff will be permitted to supervise. What next? DawgNation Friday Night Mike 1. Uniform football start College programs' return to campus for workouts vary, but the start date for football practices overseen by coaches is expected to be uniform. The Big Ten is allowing its schools to return to campus at their own discretion, Nebraska among the early returners on the first eligibile date, June 1. The SEC has announced a June 8 date, and the Big 12 schools can return as early as June 15. The conference commissioners have agreed on a six-week training camp in effect by mid-July with an on-time season start date in mind. UGA officials have discussed among many possibilities quarantining the coaches and players on campus during a two-introductory phase. McGarity pointed out there is much to be determined. 'It's only the first step and there are many details still to be determined on every campus,' McGarity said. 'We'll certainly be driven by the medical community and our sports medicine staff led by (director of sports medicine) Ron Courson.' The NCAA oversight committee had recommended the six weeks of preparation before the season. 2. Fans in the stands The most fluid element of college football's return also figures to be the most controversial, with impassioned fans holding their collective breath as in-person attendance remains in limbo. Georgia, like every other program, has been considering several models with any sort of final decision still weeks way and almost completely at the mercy of the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio State announced last week it was considering a social-distanced model of 20,000 to 22,000 fans in its 102,000-seat football coliseum. Georgia is considering several attendance models that would take into consideration various COVID-19 conditions and circumstances, using a similar formula to Ohio State from approximately 18,000 on up. The question is, how would the tickets be distributed beyond essential personnel needed for sideline and stadium operations? Major donors, parents of players, recruits and students would seem to be at the forefront of the line in terms of ticket priority. Many scenarios and models are being worked on. 3. Georgia athletes' testing The SEC provided minimum guidelines for its 14-member schools upon announcing the league's June 8 start date with coaching restriction. SEC provides blueprint for team's return A league-appointed 'Medical Guidance Task Force,' which includes top pubic health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the league, plans a 3-stage screening process and testing symptomatic team members. Georgia's plan, however, takes it a step further and involves COVID testing and the medical evaluations on all student-athletes. The obvious question is what happens when a player or players test positive? How will the quarantine process work? McGarity said early on the key words would be 'testing, tracing and treatment,' but until it plays out, there are questions. Players who test positive will likely have their identities withheld by the school under HIPAA guidelines. The value of the UGA sports scholarship has never been more evident, as the programs need not cut any corners because of the $105 million available in the schools' reserve fund. Only 41 percent of FBS programs have a reserve fund, and many have announced cuts and furloughs, some schools eliminating athletics programs. DawgNation College Football Offseason SEC presidents make it official, looking ahead to June 8 return RELATED: 5 keys, NCAA vote on Wednesday includes pivotal provisions College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors votes unanimously in favor of NIL compensation The post WATCH 3 things: What's next for college football return appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It's been interesting to see how the newspapers I read regularly have chosen to deal with the lack of sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Athens Banner-Herald has done away with its sports section for the duration; what sports stories it runs (mostly about what the future holds for the UGA football program), are in the news pages. USA Today has kept its sports section, spending a lot of time discussing what the sports landscape might look like later this year. And, the AJC also has kept its sports section, much of which has been devoted to nostalgic looks back at local teams' triumphs, like the Braves' World Series-winning season. The AJC also has been running a series of columns from its various sports staffers, in which they recount the five most memorable games they have covered in their careers. The articles have been fun reading, covering quite a wide variety of sports (with Georgia football well represented). That put me to thinking about the five most memorable games I've attended. I won't say 'covered,' because, although I've been blogging about Georgia football for 15 seasons, that's always been as a fan, not a reporter. I wasn't a sportswriter during my career with the AJC, and I only ever participated in covering one football game in my career, for The Red & Black student paper at UGA. That was the Sept. 15, 1973, season opener in Athens against the Pitt Panthers. The Dogs were a 17-point favorite, but the Panthers had a running back making his collegiate debut that day named Tony Dorsett, and he rushed for 101 yards as the two teams played to a 7-7 tie. I'd been managing editor of The Red & Black that summer, and all of the paper's student staff wasn't back yet, since school hadn't started (UGA began classes much later in those days), so the sports editor asked me to help out with the coverage. It was the only regular season game I've ever watched from the press box, an experience I didn't particularly enjoy, since you weren't supposed to cheer. After the game, I did the locker room interviews with a disappointed bunch of Dawgs. 'We just never could get going,' my old Athens High classmate Andy Johnson told me. 'We didn't underestimate them. We knew they would be good, but I don't know, I guess we just weren't ready.' So, yeah, it was one of the most memorable games ever for me, in terms of how I experienced it, but not a great outcome. Likewise, the Oct. 22, 1977, homecoming game certainly was one of the most memorable ever, with Prince Charles in attendance (the Georgia student section chanted 'Damn good prince!') and James Brown performing with the Redcoats at halftime (with my brother Jonathan underneath the stage, bracing it with his back as the Godfather of Soul did his splits). But, the game itself was one of the worst ever in Athens, a 33-0 loss to Kentucky. (I believe that might have been the game where an irate Vince Dooley pushed over a row of lockers at halftime in frustration.) The 21-10 win to end the losing streak against Tennessee in 2000 also was memorable. The atmosphere was unforgettable, as the Sanford Stadium crowd sensed victory and massed around the field, but while fans taking down the goalposts after the game was understandable, the fact that some of them then trashed their own stadium, ripping up the hedges, was an act so mindless that I still don't understand it. So, that one stays off the list. I also was at the basketball game in the Georgia Coliseum on March 8, 1969, when 'Pistol Pete' Maravich scored 58 points. With LSU ahead by 8 in the second overtime, Maravich dribbled around Bulldogs defenders for about a minute, putting on a show, then launched a 35-foot hook shot at the buzzer for a 90-80 win. Georgia fans, appreciative of the amazing performance they'd just seen, mobbed him on the floor. But, again, it was a Georgia loss. So, stipulating that I want my five most memorable games to be Dawgs wins, that sent me back to a listing of the greatest games my brothers and I ever have attended. We first compiled it shortly after I started the Junkyard Blawg in 2005, and I updated it in 2009 and 2017, to add additional games. The most recent version offered a baker's dozen of the greatest games I'd seen, and, believe me, it was tough narrowing it down to those. Picking the five most memorable? Even tougher. Still, here goes, ranking them in ascending order, like the AJC series did. (Keep in mind, this is limited to games I saw in person. My list doesn't include some of Georgia's greatest wins games that I watched on TV or listened to on radio, including the upset of Michigan in Ann Arbor, 'Run, Lindsay!' in Jacksonville, the national championship win over Notre Dame in New Orleans and the 'hobnail boot' game in Knoxville.) 5. Georgia over Georgia Tech, 30-24, Nov. 28, 2009:Frankly, I was dreading attending this one when my son Bill decided to take me to my first game at Grant Field in decades, but the lightly-regarded Dawgs ran it down the throats of a Jackets team that ended up winning the ACC Championship. This was the original 'We run this state' game. The looks on the faces of the Tech fans on the walk back to the North Avenue MARTA station afterward were priceless. 4. Georgia over Clemson, 27-12, Oct. 5, 1991:Recently replayed on WSB radio, this was one of the high points of the Ray Goffyears (and there weren't many), as the Dawgs upset the No. 6 Tigers, who went on to win the ACC Championship, in a night game on national TV. Key plays were Georgia safety Mike Jones stripping the ball after a Clemson back had run 54 yards, and quarterback Eric Zeier setting up a TD with a 59-yard bomb to Arthur Marshall. This also was the day the Braves clinched the division title that began their celebrated run under Bobby Cox.When the Braves score was announced after the football game, Georgia and Clemson fans chopped and chanted together. Unforgettable. 3. Georgia over Auburn, 45-20, Nov. 10, 2007:The first 'Blackout' game. I don't think I've ever seen a Sanford Stadium crowd as excited as when the Dawgs burst through that banner in those black jerseys. Still, the Tigers made it a game, taking a 20-17 lead, before a Georgia team featuring Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno scored 28 unanswered points, and wound up dancing to Soulja Boy. 2. Georgia over Alabama, 21-0, Oct. 2, 1976:The outcome of the game between the No. 6 Bulldogs and the No. 10 Crimson Tide never really was in question, and the Sanford Stadium crowd smelled the Bear's blood from the start. This was the loudest I ever heard a Sanford crowd until they enclosed the east end of the stadium. Matt Robinson and Ray Goff alternated running Georgia's veer option offense, and Erk Russell's Junkyard Dogs defense held Bama's vaunted wishbone attack to just 49 yards rushing. Manhandling Bama, which was coming off five straight conference crowns, just wasn't done in those days. This game was one of the toughest tickets ever in Athens. Folks camped out overnight on the tracks, and my Dad had to watch from the Sanford Drive bridge. The postgame celebration in Athens was wild, with police having to close Milledge Avenue. 1. Georgia over Alabama, 18-17, Sept. 18, 1965: This was back during a period when Alabama was our opening game, and the last time the Dogs had won was during the 1959 SEC championship season with Fran Tarkenton. After that, the whippings by the Tide had become somewhat expected. N ot many folks gave the Dawgs much of a chance against the defending national champion Tide at the beginning of Dooley's second season. But, the Dawgs were hanging tough and behind only 17-10 in the fourth quarter. I'd gone to get a Coke and was walking back to my seat when I heard a guy I knew casually from school say to his father, 'The Bear better do something, or Bama could lose this thing.' I'm not sure if he was happy or sad about that, but, sure enough, moments later came the legendary flea-flicker pass from Kirby Moore to Pat Hodgson to Bob Taylor. And then, with the 2-point play pass to Hodgson, Georgia had one of its most unexpected wins ever, especially considering the Tide went on to take another AP national title that year. So, those are five memorable games I've seen in person. Are they the most memorable? Well, yeah, but, ask me tomorrow, and you might get a slightly different listing. After all, they don't come much more memorable than the 2013 UGA-LSU shootout featuring former roomies Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger (the loudest game I've ever experienced at Sanford Stadium) or the butt-kicking of Nick Saban's defending national champion LSU Tigers in 2004 (featuring f ive touchdown throws by David Greene ) or that spine-tingling moment last year when the stadium was lit-up all red at the beginning of the fourth quarter of yet another Georgia win over Notre Dame, or Yeah, I've seen a lot of memorable games. The post It's not easy to narrow down my five most memorable UGA games appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Tom Crean is well known for his Xs and Os and uptempo teams, and Georgia's 2020 basketball recruiting class makes it clear there are no plans to slow down. The Bulldogs are coming off a 16-16 season that saw the team peak the final night with an 18-point win over Ole Miss in the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville. RELATED: Georgia pounds Ole Miss, aims for Florida in SEC tourney The next day, March 12, the college sports world shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. Crean and his team were left wondering what might have been. The Bulldogs have made just one NCAA tournament appearance the last nine years (2015). Crean, who rebuilt Marquette into a Final Four team and rebuilt Indiana into a two-time Big Ten champion knows UGA remains a work in progress. Crean inherited a mess two years ago. A vacuum existed among six returning seniors after star Yante Maten took his leadership and scoring with him to the NBA. Three other players served disciplinary suspensions or have been dismissed from the program. The sole shining star was Nicolas Claxton, and he improved so much under Crean in one season that he went to the NBA following his sophomore year. This rebuild is such that just one player remains from that 2018-19 team. RELATED: Tom Izzo shares insight into his former assistant, Tom Crean UGA appears to be a refreshed and recharged program moving in the right direction. Georgia has a solid nucleus to build around with players like freshman assists record holder Sahvir Wheeler, junior guard Tye Fagan and sophomore power forward Toumani Camara returning. The players are eligible to return to campus as early as June 8 after the SEC presidents voted on Friday to give the green light to players wanting to return to practices for voluntary workouts. The basketball team's plans are currently being evaluated. Look back The 2019-20 campaign saw Georgia set a single-season attendance record in Stegman Coliseum that included marquee home wins over Tennessee and Auburn. On the road, Crean's Bulldogs scored only the second non-conference road victory over a Top 25 team in program history, beating Memphis. And now, another reload is underway, with projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards moving on. RELATED: Georgia's 'Antman' declares for NBA draft, stock soaring Junior power forward Rayshaun Hammonds also elected to leave early, though his professional status is considerably less certain. Crean is looking forward, his roster now void of any players recruited by former coach Mark Fox. 'What I want is a team that can switch, a team that can play multiple ways,' Crean told DawgNation during the Ingles On The Beat show last Monday night. 'We don't need to get anyone that will slow us down or clog that lane. We have to get to the basketball, but we have to be able to run.' No doubt, Georgia has scored 90 or more points 11 times in Crean's two seasons. Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had scored 90 or more points in 11 times in 11 seasons. 'We were second in the country in transition points, we were third in the country at points at the rim, and yet we shot 30 percent from three,' Crean points out. 'You look at some of the games we had, if you had another 3-point make, or two more 3-pointers and I'm not talking about manufacturing threes, I'm talking about making the open threes that we had that's four or five more wins right there.' Georgia could be that close to the bubble again the season, but they'll need to rely on newcomers once again. Experienced recruits Once season after reloading with 10 newcomers and the No. 5-ranked signing class in the county, the Bulldogs are poised with seven more new players. Georgia most recently added Andrew Garcia, a 6-foot-5, 228-pound shooting guard who figures to add scoring punch and muscle to a team that will need to grow up in a hurry. Garcia is the second graduate transfer in the class, joining George Mason transfer Justin Kier (6-4, 197) on what looks to be another very versatile team. '(Kier) is gonna be a combination guard that can handle it and that can score,' Crean said. 'He'll be comfortable bringing the ball up the floor, or be comfortable having the ball thrown ahead to him.' Crean said this Georgia team will need to grow up fast, and that's likely why he's adding two graduate transfers and two junior college transfers, as well. Jonathan Ned is a 6-9 inside-out forward from Eastern Florida State junior college that shot 48-percent from beyond the 3-point line last season. 'We need Jonathan to come in and make threes,' Crean said. 'We need him to drive the ball, rebound and defend his position, but we also need him to make open jump shots.' Mikal Starks (6-0 guard) is another Eastern Florida State junior college transfer 'I think he's a highly competitive leadership guy, he's a winner, he competes, he fights, he's quick and he can get to the basket,' Crean said. 'I think he's going to be a good shooter for us, and I think that's important.' Georgia also has a commitment from Tyron McMillian, a 6-8, 225-pounder from Kilgore, Texas. McMillan is ranked the No. 11 junior college player in the nation. Incoming freshmen K.D. Johnson is a 6-1, top 100 signee out of Hargrave Military Academy High School the Crean believes will have an immediate impact. 'K.D. is a high, high level competitor,' Crean said. 'He's a two-way guy that picks the ball up full court, he'll hawk you, he'll fight you. 'He plays with a high motor, he plays to win, and I love his fearlessness.' Crean said Johnson will take on anybody at the rim, though he expects the talented prospect will quickly adjust to the SEC competition level. 'Sometimes he thinks he's going to go score on the 6-10, 6-11 guy, and I think he's going to have to make the growth of how to get to the other side of the rim and make the kick out (pass),' Crean said. 'But he passes the ball well, when he's locked in and stepping into his shot he's making it consistently. 'I love his track mentality, and I love the fact that he loves the game. Anthony Edwards is like that. You want guys that want to be in the gym making themselves better.' Josh Taylor is another incoming freshman, a 6-8, 195-pounder out of Norcross. 'Josh works around the bucket and he's a very good rebounder,' Crean said. 'He wants to get better as a shooter and driver but he rebounds the ball, he runs both ends and he wants to compete.' Future profile Crean plans to keep with his uptempo style, and he's hoping to develop more toughness and see leaders step up in tight games. That was something that was missing at times the past two seasons. 'Some of those games last season, we couldn't stop the runs because we couldn't stop the bleeding,' Crean said. 'We couldn't go in and get a bucket inside, or we couldn't just say we're going to get an And One. ''We had some maturity leadership issues with that when it was time to get it settled down.' Crean said it's something he needs to recruit to, and he feels good about what Georgia has in the works with a class currently ranked No. 29. 'You can't put a value on people that can settle your team down and bring them confidence on the floor,' Crean said. 'And it isn't always the point guard, and it isn't always the oldest guy. 'Anybody can change momentum inside a game, but very few can bring a lot of confidence every day to a team. Your job as s coach is to develop it and recruit it, and it's imperative you find those people.' Tom Crean May 18, 2020 DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs upset Ole Miss in SEC tourney opener LSU beats Georgia in regular-season finale Georgia basketball goes cold in loss to Florida Anthony Edwards takes over final minute, UGA topples Arkansas WATCH: Georgia celebrates like crazy after Vandy win Bulldogs score resounding win over No. 13 Auburn Georgia basketball drops close one at Texas A&M, Anthony Edwards ill Georgia suffers deflating defeat at Florida UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener The post WATCH: Georgia basketball look ahead, how Tom Crean's building another winner appeared first on DawgNation.