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World News Headlines

    The Trump name graces apartment towers, hotels and golf courses. Now it is the namesake of a tiny Israeli settlement in the Israel-controlled Golan Heights. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet convened in this hamlet Sunday to inaugurate a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in a gesture of appreciation for the U.S. leader's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territory. The settlement isn't exactly new. Currently known as Bruchim, it is over 30 years old and has a population of 10 people. Israel is hoping the rebranded 'Ramat Trump,' Hebrew for 'Trump Heights,' will encourage a wave of residents to vastly expand it. 'It's absolutely beautiful,' said U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, who attended Sunday's ceremony. Noting that Trump celebrated his birthday on Friday, he said: 'I can't think of a more appropriate and a more beautiful birthday present.' Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in 1981. Most of the international community considers the move illegal under international law. But during a visit to Washington by Netanyahu in March, just weeks before Israeli elections, Trump signed an executive order recognizing the strategic mountainous plateau as Israeli territory. The decision, the latest in a series of diplomatic moves benefiting Israel, was widely applauded in Israel. 'Few things are more important to the security of the state of Israel than permanent sovereignty over the Golan Heights,' Friedman said. 'It is simply obvious, it is indisputable and beyond any reasonable debate.' After the Cabinet decision, Netanyahu and Friedman unveiled a sign trimmed in gold with the name 'Trump Heights' and adorned with U.S. and Israeli flags. Trump retweeted photos Friedman posted of the event and thanked Netanyahu 'and the State of Israel for this great honor!' Addressing the ceremony, Netanyahu called Trump a 'great friend' of Israel and described the Golan, which overlooks northern Israel, as an important strategic asset. 'The Golan Heights was and will always be an inseparable part of our country and homeland,' he said. Developing Ramat Trump will not be easy. Ringed by high yellow grass and land mines, it is roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Syrian border and a half hour drive from the nearest Israeli town, Kiryat Shmona, a community of about 20,000 people near the Lebanese border. According to Israeli figures, almost 50,000 people live in the Golan, including about 22,000 Jewish Israelis and nearly 25,000 Arab Druze residents. While Israel has encouraged and promoted settlement in the Golan, its remote location, several hours from the economic center of Tel Aviv, has been an obstacle. The area is home to small agriculture and tourism sectors but otherwise has little industry. The eight-year Syrian civil war, which at times has resulted in spillover fire into the Golan, also could present an obstacle to luring new residents. Rosa Zhernakov, a resident of Bruchim since 1991, said the community was excited by Sunday's decision. 'We hope it will benefit the Golan Heights,' she said, standing outside her bungalow on one of Bruchim's few streets. She said the revitalization of the settlement will mean 'more security' for residents from any possible return of the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a future peace treaty. Syria has demanded a return of the strategic territory, which overlooks northern Israel, as part of any peace deal. After the devastating civil war in Syria, the prospects of peace talks with Israel anytime soon seem extremely low. Vladimir Belotserkovsky, 75, another veteran resident, said he welcomed any move to build up the settlement. 'We certainly thank, and I personally, am satisfied by the fact that they're founding the new settlement named for Trump,' he said. Ramat Trump joins a handful of Israeli places named after American presidents, including a village for Harry S. Truman, who first recognized the Jewish state, and George W. Bush Plaza, a square the size of a modest living room in central Jerusalem. Following Sunday's decision to rename the community, developing the settlement still requires overcoming several additional bureaucratic obstacles. With Netanyahu running for re-election in the second national election this year, it remains unclear whether he will be able to complete the task. Zvi Hauser, an opposition lawmaker who formerly served as Netanyahu's Cabinet secretary, called Sunday's ceremony a cheap PR stunt. 'There's no funding, no planning, no location, and there's no real binding decision,' he said.
  • A 51-year-old immigrant has been elected mayor of a town in eastern Germany after beating a candidate from the far-right Alternative for Germany party in a runoff that drew international attention. The dpa news agency reported that Octavian Ursu, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party who came to Germany from Romania in 1990, received 55.1 percent of the vote in Sunday's election in Goerlitz. Preliminary returns showed opponent Sebastian Wippel received 44.9 percent. Actors, directors and others who made films on location in Goerlitz had called on residents to vote against the Alternative for Germany candidate. 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and 'Inglourious Basterds' are among the movies shot there. They signed a letter saying: 'Don't succumb to hate and enmity, discord and exclusion. AfD condemned the letter as unwelcome outside advice.
  • The Latest on the blackout in Argentina and Uruguay (all times local): 4:45 p.m. The president of the Center for the Study of Energy Regulatory Activity in Argentina says that a massive blackout that left millions without electricity 'has never happened' in the country. Raúl Bertero is a professor at the University of Buenos Aires. He said Sunday that systemic operational and design errors played a role in the power grid's collapse. 'A localized failure like the one that occurred should be isolated by the same system,' he said. 'The problem is known and there is technology and studies that (work to) avoid it.' He also said that independent experts should be asked to determine what happened. The failure left many in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay without electricity for hours. ___ 4 p.m. Argentina's energy secretary says that the cause of a massive blackout is still unknown. Gustavo Lopetegui said at a press conference Sunday: 'We don't have information about why it occurred.' The secretary also said that electricity is expected to be 100% restored by the end of the day. Argentine energy company Edesur said that a failure in the Argentine interconnection system originated at an electricity transmission point between the power stations of Yacyretá and Salto Grande in the northeastern part of the country. ___ 2:45 p.m. Argentine energy company Edesur says that electricity has been restored to more than 1.5 million people. President Mauricio Macri also said that 50% of the country had power after a massive failure in Argentina and Uruguay on Sunday morning left many in the dark. Macri said on Twitter: 'As time passes, service will be restored for all customers.' The cause of the blackout was not immediately clear. Edesur said that a failure in the Argentine interconnection system originated at an electricity transmission point between the power stations of Yacyretá and Salto Grande in the northeastern part of the country. Uruguayan energy company UTE said 75% of service had been restored in its country. ___ 2 p.m. A massive blackout left millions without electricity in Argentina and Uruguay on Sunday after an unexplained failure in the neighboring countries' interconnected power grid. Authorities were working frantically to restore power but only about a half a million in Argentina had electricity back by early afternoon. Voters cast ballots by the light of cell phones in gubernatorial elections in Argentina. Public transportation halted, shops closed and patients dependent on home medical equipment were urged to go to hospitals with generators. 'I was just on my way to eat with a friend, but we had to cancel everything. There's no subway, nothing is working,' said Lucas Acosta, a 24-year-old Buenos Aires resident. In Uruguay, power was being more steadily restored, with lights back on in at least three regions by early afternoon.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reaching out to wary foreign leaders to frame alleged Iranian attacks in a Middle East oil shipping route as a problem for the world at large, especially for Asian countries vitally dependent on that oil. Pompeo, in a series of Sunday television interviews, emphasized the U.S. international outreach in the wake of what the U.S. says were Iranian attacks Thursday on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz . 'I made a bunch of phone calls yesterday. I'll make a whole bunch more calls today. The world needs to unite,' Pompeo said. He did not say what kind of action the Trump administration envisioned. 'We are going to work to build out a set of countries that have deep vested interest in keeping that strait open to help us do that,' Pompeo said. That echoed comments from acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan this past week when he said the U.S. goal is to 'build international consensus to this international problem.' Iran has denied being involved in the attacks and accused America of promoting an 'Iranophobic' campaign against it. Pressed on whether any new U.S. military deployment to the region was possible, Pompeo said that 'of course' remained among the options that President Donald Trump may consider to keep shipping safe through the narrow strait, a strategic choke point for oil shipments from the Middle East. Trump last year withdrew the U.S. from an international agreement, signed in 2015 by President Barack Obama, to limit Iran's nuclear program. Trump has reinstated economic sanctions and recently ended waivers that allowed some countries to continue buying Iranian oil. That has deprived Iran of oil income and has coincided with what U.S. officials said was a surge in intelligence pointing to Iranian preparations for attacks against U.S. forces and interests in the Gulf region. The U.S. has accelerated the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier battle group to the region, sent four nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Qatar and bolstered its defenses in the region by deploying more Patriot air defense systems. Some European allies have called for a careful investigation of responsibility, worried that Trump was escalating tensions with a country he has long called a top U.S. enemy. Pompeo stressed that the U.S. gets relatively little of its energy supplies through the strait, which lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says 16 percent of U.S. petroleum imports came from the Persian Gulf countries in 2018. By contrast, about 80% of oil through the shipping passage supplies energy-hungry countries in Asia, including China, Japan, India and South Korea. Those countries have skin in the game, he said. 'I'm confident that when they see the risk — the risk of their own economies and their own people and outrageous behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they will join us in this,' Pompeo said. Pompeo said intelligence officials had 'lots of data, lots of evidence' that Iran was responsible. Pressed for specifics, Pompeo pointed to grainy black-and-white footage already released by the U.S. American officials say the footage shows Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops removing an unexploded mine from a Japanese tanker. The tanker's crew gave an apparently different account, saying 'flying objects' targeted the vessel. Pompeo said the administration had shared the video and other unspecified evidence with Germany and other nations. Asked if the U.S. had a credibility problem with allies worried Trump could be seeking a pretext to move against Iran, the secretary of state said, 'We're not selling anything. These- these are simple facts.' Pompeo spoke on 'Fox News Sunday' and CBS's 'Face the Nation.
  • Nenette, one of the world's oldest Borneo orangutans in captivity, has celebrated her 50th birthday at a zoo in Paris, where she has lived almost all her life. Birthday cake, wrapped boxes and visitors singing 'Happy Birthday' were part of the party held Sunday for Nenette at Menagerie, a zoo in the Jardin des Plantes gardens. She was treated to exotic fruits and ate a strawberry cake. Some of her favorite activities — painting and do-it-yourself workshops — were also on the party's program. Nenette is one of the last orangutans living in a zoo to be born out of captivity. She settled in Paris in 1972 at age 3. The zoo says orangutans in the wild have experienced sharp population declines in the past 20 years.
  • The chief executive of Boeing said the company made a 'mistake' in handling a problematic cockpit warning system in its 737 Max jets before two crashes killed 346 people, and he promised transparency as the aircraft maker works to get the grounded plane back in flight. Speaking before the industry-wide Paris Air Show, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told reporters Boeing's communication with regulators, customers and the public 'was not consistent. And that's unacceptable.' The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has faulted Boeing for not telling regulators for more than a year that a safety indicator in the cockpit of the top-selling plane didn't work as intended. Boeing and the FAA have said the warning light wasn't critical for flight safety. But the botched communication has eroded trust in Boeing as the company struggles to rebound from the passenger jet crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. 'We clearly had a mistake in the implementation of the alert,' Muilenburg said. Pilots also have expressed anger that Boeing did not inform them about the new software that's been implicated in the fatal crashes. Muilenburg expressed confidence that the Boeing 737 Max would be cleared to fly again later this year by U.S. and all other global regulators. 'We will take the time necessary' to ensure the Max is safe, he said. The model has been grounded worldwide for three months, and regulators need to approve Boeing's long-awaited fix to the software before it can return to the skies. Muilenburg called the crashes of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jets a 'defining moment' for Boeing, but said he thinks the result will be a 'better and stronger company.' In the United States, Boeing has faced scrutiny from members of Congress and the FAA over how it reported the problem involving a cockpit warning light. The company discovered in 2017 that a warning light designed to alert pilots when sensors measuring the angle of a plane's nose might be wrong only worked if airlines had purchased a separate feature. The angle-measuring sensors have been implicated in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. The sensors malfunctioned, alerting software to push the noses of the planes down. The pilots were unable to take back control of the planes. Boeing told the FAA of what it learned in 2017 after the Indonesia crash. Pilot Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the union that represents American Airlines pilot, the Allied Pilots Association, said it's good Muilenburg was willing to revisit the cockpit alert problem and to acknowledge Boeing mishandled conveying information. But Tajer said he thinks Boeing made a series of unprecedented communication missteps that have 'created a massive headwind to rebuilding trust.' Restoring trust in the Max is Boeing's No. 1 priority, Muilenburg said — ahead of an upgraded 777 and work on its upcoming NMA long-range jet. The Max, the newest version of Boeing's best-selling 737, is critical to the company's future. The Max was a direct response to rival Airbus' fuel-efficient A320neo, one of the European plane maker's most popular jets; Airbus has outpaced Boeing in sales in the category. The Max crashes, a slowing global economy, and damage from tariffs and trade fights threaten to cloud the mood at the Paris Air Show. Along with its alternating-years companion, the Farnborough International Airshow near London, the Paris show is usually a celebration of cutting-edge aviation technology. Muilenburg forecast a limited number of orders at the Paris event, the first major air show since the crashes, but said it was still important for Boeing to attend to talk to customers and others in the industry. He also announced that Boeing was raising its long-term forecast for global plane demand, notably amid sustained growth in Asia. Boeing expects the world's airlines will need 44,000 planes within 20 years, up from a previous forecast of 43,000 planes. Muilenburg projected that within 10 years, the overall aviation market — including passenger jets, cargo and warplanes — would be worth $8.7 trillion, compared to earlier forecasts of $8.1 trillion. Both estimates are higher than the ones from Airbus, which sees slower growth ahead. However, Airbus is heading into the Paris show with confidence. It is expected to announce several plane sales and unveil its A321 XLR long-range jet. Airbus executives said the Max crashes aren't affecting their sales strategy, but are a reminder of the importance to the whole industry of ensuring safety. ___ Rachel Lerman in San Francisco contributed to this report.
  • Mexican authorities say they have intercepted four trucks packed with nearly 800 migrants in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The National Migration Institute says in a statement that the 791 people were taken to a migration facility and the drivers of the trucks were arrested. Migrants are routinely transported through Mexico in packed semis, sometimes in dangerous conditions without food or water or sufficient fresh air. Government video showed officials breaking the lock on the door of one cargo truck and helping migrants down. The Saturday night statement said 1,000 immigration agents have been deployed in the north and south of Mexico. The country is under U.S. pressure to reduce the surge of mostly Central American migrants through its territory.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex have released a photograph of their 6-week-old son Archie for Father's Day. The sepia-toned photo, posted Sunday on the royal couple's Instagram feed, shows the baby cradled in Harry's arms and clutching his father's finger. The post is captioned: 'Happy Father's Day! And wishing a very special first Father's Day to The Duke of Sussex.' The couple posted a picture of the baby's feet when Mother's Day was celebrated in the United States last month to mark Meghan's first as a mom. The baby hadn't yet been born when the U.K. had its Mother's Day this year. Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on May 6 and is seventh in line to the British throne.
  • The Latest on protests in Hong Kong against an extradition bill (all times local): 11:15 p.m. Pro-democracy activists helping to drive mass protests in Hong Kong over a proposed extradition law have rejected an apology issued by the city's leader. Leaders of the Civil Human Rights Front said Sunday that they estimated almost 2 million people had marched to demand Chief Executive Carrie Lam scrap the legislation and resign. Police have not issued an estimate of the crowd size. Many remained gathered outside the city government's headquarters after the march, apparently planning to spend the night there. It was the second straight Sunday of demonstrations by Hong Kong residents worried over China's expanding influence in the former British colony. The activists said the written apology Lam issued late Sunday showed she was not listening to the voices of the people. ___ 9:40 p.m. Hong Kong's China-backed government has apologized over the handling of politically charged legislation that sparked massive street protests over the past week. A statement Sunday credited to an unidentified government spokesman said that unspecified 'deficiencies in the government's work had led to substantial controversies and disputes in society, causing disappointment and grief among the people.' It said Chief Executive Carrie Lam 'apologized to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledged to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public.' Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers jammed the city's streets Sunday in a vehement show of opposition to the legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony. ___ 6:40 p.m. Thousands of people have gathered outside Taiwan's parliament in solidarity with Hong Kong protesters who are marching against a proposed extradition bill. The crowd of Hong Kong students and Taiwanese supporters held a peaceful sit-in in Taipei, the capital of the independently governed island that China claims as its territory. The group that rallied Sunday said the legislation In Hong Kong also posed a risk to Taiwan. Hong Kong's leader on Saturday suspended the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent to mainland China for trials. Opponents see it as way Beijing is interfering with freedoms promised to Hong Kong when it took control of the former British colony in 1997. ___ 3 p.m. Thousands of Hong Kong residents, mostly in black, have jammed streets and subway stations to protest the government's handling of a proposed extradition bill. The crowds, walking slowly and shouting 'withdraw' and 'resign,' spilled into the street Sunday from downtown Victoria Park and began marching toward the Central district where the government headquarters is located. Protesters want Chief Executive Carrie Lam to resign and withdraw rather than just suspend the legislation. Lam backed away from pushing through the legislature the measure that would enable suspects to be sent to stand trial in mainland Chinese courts. Many in Hong Kong fear threats to civil liberties and an independent judicial system that were promised to the former British colony when communist-ruled China took control in 1997. ___ 1 p.m. Hong Kong activists are encouraging the public to support strikes by workers, teachers and students on Monday. The call comes as Hong Kong residents gather for a march through the downtown on Sunday to protest a government plan to enact extradition legislation. Hong Kong's top leader said she was suspending the proposal but opponents want her to drop it for good. Bonnie Leung and other leaders of the pro-democracy Civil Human Rights Front say unions, teachers and others would carry on with plans for a strike on Monday as part of the campaign against the extradition bill. She says, 'We encourage all the public to carry on the campaign.' ___ 10:15 a.m. Hong Kong is bracing for another massive protest over an unpopular extradition bill, a week after the crisis brought as many as 1 million into the streets. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Saturday said she was suspending work on the bill that would allow some suspects to be sent for trial in mainland Chinese courts. But pro-democracy activists say that's not enough. They want the proposal withdrawn and are calling for Lam to step down. In Beijing, the communist government issued statements backing Lam's decision. Mourners meanwhile laid flowers Sunday on the pavement near where a man fell to his death a day earlier after hanging a protest banner on scaffolding on a shopping mall. Emergency workers tried to cushion the man's fall but failed to catch him. ___ This story corrects the spelling of Bonnie Leung's first name.
  • A massive blackout left tens of millions of people without electricity in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay on Sunday after an unexplained failure in the neighboring countries' interconnected power grid. Authorities were working frantically to restore power, but a third of Argentina's 44 million people were still in the dark by early evening. Voters cast ballots by the light of cell phones in gubernatorial elections in Argentina. Public transportation halted, shops closed and patients dependent on home medical equipment were urged to go to hospitals with generators. 'I was just on my way to eat with a friend, but we had to cancel everything. There's no subway, nothing is working,' said Lucas Acosta, a 24-year-old Buenos Aires resident. 'What's worse, today is Father's Day. I've just talked to a neighbor and he told me his sons won't be able to meet him.' By mid-afternoon, power had been restored to most of Uruguay's 3 million people. But in Argentina, only 65% of the nation's grid was back up and running as of 5 p.m. local time, the national news agency Telam reported. 'This is an extraordinary event that should have never happened,' Energy Secretary Gustavo Lopetegui told a news conference. 'It's very serious.' He said the cause of the massive outage was still under investigation and that workers were working to restore electricity nationwide by the end of the day. Argentina's power grid is generally known for being in a state of disrepair, with substations and cables that were insufficiently upgraded as power rates remained largely frozen for years. An Argentine independent energy expert said that systemic operational and design errors played a role in the power grid's collapse. 'A localized failure like the one that occurred should be isolated by the same system,' said Raúl Bertero, president of the Center for the Study of Energy Regulatory Activity in Argentina. 'The problem is known and technology and studies (exist) to avoid it.' The country's energy secretary said the blackout occurred at 7:07 a.m. local time when a key interconnection system collapsed. Argentine energy company Edesur said on Twitter that the failure originated at an electricity transmission point between the power stations in Yacyretá and Salto Grande in the country's northeast. Uruguay's energy company UTE said the failure in the Argentine system cut power to all of Uruguay at one point and blamed the collapse on a 'flaw in the Argentine network.' In Paraguay, power in rural communities in the south, near the border with Argentina and Uruguay, was also cut. The country's National Energy Administration said service was restored by afternoon by redirecting energy from the Itaipu hydroelectric plant the country shares with neighboring Brazil. In Argentina, only the southernmost province of Tierra del Fuego was unaffected by the outage because it is not connected to the main power grid. Brazilian and Chilean officials said their countries had not been affected. Many residents of Argentina and Uruguay said the size of the outage was unprecedented in recent history. 'I've never seen something like this,' said Silvio Ubermann, a taxi driver in the Argentine capital. 'Never such a large blackout in the whole country.' Several Argentine provinces had elections for governor on Sunday, which proceeded with voters using their phone screens and built-in flashlights to illuminate their ballots. 'This is the biggest blackout in history, I don't remember anything like this in Uruguay,' said Valentina Giménez, a resident of the capital, Montevideo. She said her biggest concern was that electricity be restored in time to watch the national team play in the Copa America football tournament Sunday evening. Since taking office, Argentine President Mauricio Macri has said that gradual austerity measures were needed to revive the country's struggling economy. He has cut red tape and tried to reduce the government's budget deficit by ordering job cuts and reducing utility subsidies, which he maintained was necessary to recuperate lost revenue due to years-long mismanagement of the electricity sector. According to the Argentine Institute for Social Development, an average family in Argentina still pays 20 times less for electricity than similar households in neighboring countries. The subsidies were a key part of the electricity policy of President Néstor Kirchner's 2003-2007 administration and the presidency of Kirchner's wife and successor, Cristina Fernández in 2007-2015. Fernandez is now running for vice president in October elections. ______ Associated Press writers Patricia Luna in Santiago, Chile, and Natalie Schachar in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Local News

  • The annual conference of North Georgia United Methodists wraps up today in Athens: the conference began Tuesday at the Classic Center. From the Methodist Conference website…   Friday, June 148 a.m. | Session 72 p.m. | Session 8, Closing Worship4 p.m. | Adjournment   Comprised of more than 800 churches, more than 1,300 clergy members, and approximately 350,000 lay members, The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church seeks to develop principled Christian leaders, to engage in ministry with the poor, improve global health, advocate for justice, respond to disasters, and fulfill the mission of the denomination: “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Currently, it is the largest United Methodist Conference in the United States. 
  • Troopers with the Georgia State Patrol and agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said they made a marijuana bust Tuesday afternoon worth more than $200,000. The GBI sent Channel 2 Action News a photo of the 70 pounds of marijuana officials said agents discovered during a traffic stop in Gwinnett County near the Hamilton Mill Road exit on Interstate 85 northbound. Three men from Charlotte, North Carolina, were arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana: Phetprasong Souriyo, 34, Brandy Souriyo, 28, and Somphone Thongkhamdy, 30. The GBI said their arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into marijuana trafficking via the I-85 corridor from metro Atlanta north to neighboring states.
  • Minicamp ended for the Falcons on Thursday, and players, coaches and staff have about a month away from the facility in Flowery Branch before training camp begins.  Though he didn’t practice all three days, wide receiver Julio Jones said he will be ready for the season and is happy with his place on the team. Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that he and the Falcons are continuing to work on a long-term contract. Jones, who’s also nursing a foot injury, is scheduled to be the 13th highest paid receiver in the league in 2019, according to NFL stats. Tampa Bay’s Michael Evans ($20 million) is set to be highest paid, while Jones is at $13.4 million. The six-time Pro Bowler took more of a leadership role this minicamp, acting as a coach on the field and mentoring younger receivers during and after drills. Former Georgia Tech and Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was in attendance for practice today, as coach Dan Quinn invited him in hopes of providing inspiration for the team’s younger players.  Even if his production has slipped, Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley said he doesn’t feel intimidated heading into an important season — both financially and on the field. The 2015 first-round pick skipped all team offseason programs after the Falcons picked up the $12.8 million fifth-year option on his contract instead of offering a longer-term deal. Beasley, who compiled 15.5 sacks in 2016, has had only 10 sacks in the previous two seasons combined. Quinn said his project over the season is to help Beasley develop more moves off the line of scrimmage, so Beasley has different ways to get to the passer. After skipping OTAs, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett reported for minicamp, but wore a hat instead of a helmet for all three days. Jarrett, too, skipped OTAs while he and the Falcons work out a long-term deal. The Falcons placed the franchise tag on the former Clemson Tiger in March and will pay him $15.2 million this season. On Tuesday, Jarrett deflected all questions from the media regarding his contract to the media. Heading into training camp, it’s possible Grady may continue not to participate if a long-term deal isn’t reached.   Matt Ryan has a problem every player in the league would dream of: How do you get better when you are already one of the best? The Falcons quarterback said he will continue to work on his strength and flexibility this season, and has enlisted professional help to do so. He also plans to organize a players-only camp to help the team create bonds together without coaches present.
  • What makes a great teacher? Aspiring English teachers from the University of Georgia saw one in action this year at Classic City High School in Athens, according to their professor Peter Smagorinsky. Smagorinsky is a Distinguished Research Professor of English Education in UGA’s Department of Language and Literacy Education (English Education). Smagorinsky has profiled many amazing teachers for his Great Georgia Teacher series here on the blog over the years. This time, he lets his UGA education students do most of the talking about what makes teacher Stephanie Johns so effective and so inspiring.   By Peter Smagorinsky   At the University of Georgia, I teach the educational foundations course for undergraduates who hope to become English teachers. The course, Service-Learning in Teacher Education, involves three main components. On campus, they lead one another in discussions of books they choose to broaden their understanding of students, families, and communities. At Classic City High School, the non-traditional school in Athens, they tutor and mentor to learn about school from students on the margins. Finally, they make sense of their experiences in a paper in which they reflect on their learning during the semester.  When I completed my reading of my students’ course papers, I was struck by how many of them talked about what they learned from observing Classic City High School English teacher Stephanie Johns. She’s a great Georgia teacher in a setting where students need her support and love to succeed.  I’ll let my UGA students do most of the talking from here on out. Without being prompted to talk about her, they did quite a bit, and I can only excerpt a small amount of what they wrote:  Love, Encouragement, Respect, and Support “Mrs. Johns . . . really cares about her students and wants them to succeed. She talked to her students as people rather than as a superior to an inferior, which I really appreciated seeing because I’ve definitely seen teachers who come across as condescending or patronizing. Mrs. Johns seemed to really know her students and what they struggled with and tried to provide as much help as she could. She was also understanding of students who might not be having the best day, which was really great to see.”  “I was able see the unconditional love that a teacher has for her students. . . . She recognizes potential in students and pushes them to do their best.”  Going Above and Beyond “All of the extra stuff she was doing for her students was all just extra work and more grading that she was going to have to do, but she was always willing to do that and go above and beyond for her students, which I just found to be very inspirational for my future career as an English teacher.”  Attentive to Students’ Heritages, Needs, and Interests “Mrs. Johns’ class made me realize how important it is to have a variety of diverse materials for the students. I noticed the change in the atmosphere when she brought out information about Hispanic and African American individuals. The atmosphere changed simply because they had something to relate to. I really enjoyed how Mrs. Johns asked the kids what types of poems interested them to keep them focused. When she asked them what they wanted to read, they perked up and were more engaged. . . . I respect Mrs. Johns for recognizing how unmotivated these kids are and have been in previous times. Yet, she still goes out of her way in order to keep them focused and learning.”  Compassion, Energy, Patience, and Positive Outlook “Ms. Johns has a great level of student awareness. . . . I’m particularly inspired by her level of compassion and patience with her students. I can tell that she enjoys her job, which is so important.”  “She approached every lesson and activity with enthusiasm, even when the students were not responding or refused to do work. . . I found the lack of effort from certain students to be frustrating and distracting, but Mrs. Johns only continued to try harder, taking the extra time to reach out individually to those students, until she was able to break the barriers they had put up.”  “Students within institutions such as Classic City High School need teachers like her, who bring a positive attitude and outlook on life into the classroom. . . It’s important for these students to realize that people do truly care and that if school isn’t necessarily working out, there are other pathways that lead to success and happiness.”  Calm Demeanor for Stressful Times “I feel lucky to have been able to witness her in action the week before what some might say is the most stressful time of the year: standardized testing. Mrs. Johns brought a sort of calm to her students that isn’t really describable. It is almost as if there is a tone shift as soon as they walk in the door.”  “It is apparent to the students that she trusts them and that she really cares about them and their families. With all of the stress of graduation and testing coming up, she had meaningful conversations with multiple students about what else is going on in their lives. I feel lucky to watch Mrs. Johns mentor and teach during such a busy time of the school year, and it really gave me perspective on how to navigate preparing your students for big changes. Just because it is an important and stressful time, doesn’t mean you need to escalate or apply more pressure that is already there. There is a way to get people to take things seriously without completely stressing them out. I feel like ultimately, the confidence she was instilling in them will have the biggest impact on their performance.”  Flexibility and Respect for Individuals “She instructs in a way that the students feel comfortable opening up to her and asking questions. . . . It is apparent that she values each student as an individual and their opinions. . . . She is constantly reminding them that they are more than capable and gives them flexibility to work on whatever is at the top of their priority list.”  “I can tell she truly cares about her students and their success. She is not a pushover teacher, but she is very flexible which I think is a great attribute she possesses when dealing with students. . . Her personality is very approachable and she allowed her classroom to be a safe space for students to air out anything that was bothering them; it didn't matter if it had to do with their course work or not. Ms. Johns explained to me if they can’t have a place to comfortably express their issues, then they will not be completely focused on their course work.”  An Inspiring Model “She reminded me of my 12th-grade English teacher who inspired me to become an English teacher. My mentorship allowed me to meet another amazing English teacher who can get through to any student, even the hard ones.”  “I learned a lot from Mrs. Johns, as she was a perfect model of what a teacher should be. I found her attitude and outlook for these students to be inspiring and I hope to one day carry myself like her. I think that without teachers like her in these schools, the success of the students would suffer. She was a true testament to what it means to care and engage your students, no matter the response they give you. One piece of advice she gave me was to remember that as a teacher, you cannot hold a grudge against a student, not even for a minute because when that student is ready and needs you, you have to be ready. I truly believe this was the most important takeaway for me, because I found myself often getting frustrated for her when students failed to complete assignments or participate in class.”  “Mrs. Johns seemed to really care about her students and knew how to motivate them to do their work. When I am a teacher one day, I hope to have the same understanding and ability to connect with my students.”  “I also was able to learn hands-on beside Mrs. Johns, who I know will be an inspiration to me throughout my teaching career. If one day I’m half as amazing of a teacher as she is, I’ll be in pretty good shape. Because of having the opportunity to work one-on-one with these students, I am more understanding, patient, and supportive, all of which will be wonderful things for me to carry into my classroom and the rest of my life.” My Brief Conclusion My UGA students found much to admire in working with Ms. Johns. The qualities they talk about are largely interpersonal. They speak to her care, flexibility, love, respect, compassion, patience, positive outlook, and other non-technical aspects of teaching. Her students in turn tend to work for her, because she makes the effort to connect with and reach out to them. The academics follow from the relationships she cultivates.  That’s the most important trait my students observed again and again, and it rarely makes an impression on policy. But it should. 
  • The 19th annual North Georgia Folk Potters Festival is set for Saturday in Homer: the festival, organized by the Banks County Recreation Department, starts at 9 and lasts til 2 on Thompson Street in Homer. Following is a list of potters expected to take part…   Steve Turpin Abby Turpin David Meaders Wayne Hewell Dwayne Crocker Sid Luck Shelby West Stanley Ferguson Mary Ferguson Jami Ferguson Kris London Marvin Bailey Roger Corn Rex Hogan Carolyn Simmons Rob Withrow Walter Aberson Rodney Leftwich Kim Leftwich Joyce Branch Mike Ledford (Joes Lake Pottery) Mike Craven Bo Thompson Mike Williamson Lynn Thrurmond Michael Ball Michel Bayne Joe Craven Dal Burtchael Stanley and Kathy Irvin Brian Wilson Bobby Gaither · Mike Hanning

Bulldog News

  • Georgia junior defensive end Malik Herring is one of the players Kirby Smart is counting on to step up on the football field this season. But on Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Herring took time to give back to his home community, taking part in a “Kids Fun Day” in Forsyth. Kickball, face painting and water slides were all part of the good times Herring shared with family, friend and youngsters at the Monroe County Rec Department. Macon’s WMAZ-13 was on hand to interview Herring, who explained his motivation for the event. “I saw kids like outside on the porch just bored, and it was just like I called my mom, and was like ‘hey mom we gotta do something for the kids, they don’t have nothing to do,” Herring said in the WMAZ-13 interview. “I just wanted to have something  for the kids to give back, and give them something we’d never had growing up.” UGA defensive lineman and former @MPHSFootball player @HerringMalik came back to his hometown and held a Kids Fun Day. He just wanted kids in his neighborhood to have fun and do something in the summer. At the end you’ll see how he dominated in kickball. He didn’t go easy on them pic.twitter.com/ruzpFMNPXY — Jonathan Perez WMAZ (@_JonathanMPerez) June 15, 2019 Herring, a 6-foot-3, 280-pounder, is one of the more pivotal pieces on a Georgia football team that’s greatest weakness is considered by many to be the defensive line. Smart knows all about Herring’s talent and ability. Herring was part of Smart’s first recruiting class, which this season makes up the nucleus of what’s expected to be a national championship contender. “ Malik can be a good player, (but) he’s gotta hone in and do the little things right and he’s gotta be a little more mature and serious about things to be the player we want him to be,” Smart said in the midst of spring drills. “He’s talented, though and he’s played well. He’s just gotta mature some.” Smart, it should be noted, typically saves his public challenges for the most talented players on his team. It’s an indication the head coach has high hopes set for Herring this season. Herring has made 30 tackles in the 29 games he has played the past two seasons, with 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. “Everything I do, I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten here if it wasn’t for this community, they all supported me throughout it all, with my ups and downs,” Herring said. “I just want to give back and show them that I really appreciate what they have done for me.”   TODAY IS THE DAY‼️‼️‼️ we’re here ready to have a great time‼️‼️ come out and have some fun ‼️‼️‼️ #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/MVlAYILbLP — Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) June 15, 2019 The post Georgia football DE Malik Herring makes time for ‘Kids Fun Day’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • SUNDAY READER ATHENS — The general thought on the Georgia Bulldogs heading into the 2019 season is they’re going to be better offensively than defensively. There’s data beyond tackles and touchdowns that backs that up. The Bulldogs already have been established as a consensus Top 4 team and one of the favorites to contend for the College Football Playoff spot this coming season. Obviously, that means coach Kirby Smart has put together a talented football team for the third year in a row. Georgia’s 2020 recruiting is going the way of the Kirby Smart’s last three classes. That is, among the top in the country including the likes of No. 1 running back Kendall Milton (second from left). (Charles Felder/Special to DawgNation) But DawgNation has taken a closer look and broken down the projected starting lineup for the Bulldogs’ season opener on the road at Vanderbilt (Aug. 31, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network) to examine exactly what is the recruiting profile and makeup of what’s expected to be perhaps Smart’s best team so far. Some of the revelations are surprising, some not so much. For instance, we all know that Smart and his staff have been all-star recruiters since they arrived in town. His first four classes at Georgia have carried an average national recruiting ranking of No. 3 (6, 3, 1, 2, respectively). The one currently being assembled for 2020 is ranked No. 4 at the moment. So it follows that Georgia is should be fielding good teams. Accordingly, the majority of the projected starting lineup for this year’s opener comes from the last three classes. While some from the 2016 class might be considered holdovers from the previous regime, Smart gets full credit for the last three and, by extension, the majority of this year’s squad. That will be reflected in the projected lineup against the Commodores. Only six of the starting 22 came from the 2016 class or before. Linebacker Tae Crowder holds the distinction as the sole Mark Richt recruit in the starting lineup. Then again, there just aren’t that many redshirt seniors on the team period. A few other observations from the accumulated data: Fifteen of the 22 projected offensive and defensive starters (68.2%) are from the state of Georgia. That includes guys from places like IMG Academy in Florida. That’s where they attended high school briefly, not their residence. The other starters are from Florida (2), Alabama (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Pennsylvania (1) and Texas (1). The average star-rating for Georgia’s offensive players versus its defensive players is 4.09 to 3.82. That’s based on the industry-accepted composite ranking of 247Sports, which takes into account the rankings of all services. Therefore, to be considered a 5-star, one must be a consensus 5-star and not just garner the rating from one service. It’s a moving target by the Bulldogs at one time had the most 5-star recruits on its roster. Six are expected to be in the starting lineup versus Vandy, three on offense and three on defense. Stars aren’t the best measure for one’s recruiting pedigree, however. There are high-4-stars and low-4-stars are everything in between. Fortunately, the 247 composite goes deep in their assessment and gives each individual prospect a national prospect. And that’s where the makeup of Georgia’s lineup gets really interesting. On offense, the average national ranking of each individual player is 181. That includes a high of No. 1 for receiver Demetris Robertson and a low of 1,051 for left guard Solomon Kindley. The average national position ranking on that side of the ball is 21.09, though not every player plays the same position now at which he was projected as a prospect. The defense is notably lower-rated on all counts. The average national prospect ranking is a fluffy 555.4. The average national position ranking is 50.18, though many of the players aren’t playing those projected positions. The lowest, or worse, ranking on defense belongs to Tae Crowder, who was rated the 1,863rd prospect in the Class of 2015. But that was as a wide receiver. Crowder actually was signed by the Bulldogs as a running back and now he’s a middle linebacker. So do with that what you wish. Senior J.R. Reed was actually rated just seven spots higher than Crowder at 1,856. He was considered a cornerback then. Now he’s an All-America candidate at free safety. The highest ranking on the defensive side of the ball belongs to cornerback Tyson Campbell. He’s was rated 12th overall and No. 2 at his position when he signed with the Bulldogs out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Of course, he lost his starting position last year to Eric Stokes, ranked 668th and 63rd at cornerback out of Covington’s Eastside High. What’s it all mean? Really, only that good players come from everywhere in all shapes and sizes and with widely varying prospect profiles. That’s why scouting and development are so important, and the Bulldogs seem to be scoring well on both counts. Also, we can quibble all summer and into the fall about who will actually be in the starting lineup. There’s not a lot of argument to be made about quarterback Jake Fromm or running back D’Andre Swift. But, otherwise, Georgia has a bunch of other unresolved position battles heading into preseason camp, and Smart likes to mix-and-match situationally, especially on defense. So that’s moot exercise. For the sake of transparency, though, we went with Demetris Robertson in the slot. He may not end up actually being in the starting lineup and his No. 1 ranking might’ve inflated the overall offensive rating. But if he’s not, his playing time might default to either of two 5-star signees Dominick Blaylock or George Pickens, or at least high 4-star Kearis Jackson. Conversely, though, the low-rated offensive line prospect Kindley could be supplanted in the starting lineup by anyone of several 5-stars, which would take the overall ranking higher. Defensively, there’s still a lot to be sorted out, too. We went with 5-star signee Brenton Cox at the jack outside linebacker, but that could easily have gone to fellow 5-stars Adam Anderson or Robert Beal. Should freshman Nolan Smith end up winning the position, it’d inflate the ranking even more as he was considered the No. 1 overall prospect in America. Same with Nakobe Dean at inside linebacker. There are many other conclusions to draw from this data. And, of course, Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State could make many of the same claims. But breaking it down this way and debating who’s going to be where is a fun exercise during the dog days of summer. Please check out the breakdown below and share your own observations in the comments section. ANATOMY OF THE LINEUP — OFFENSE — QB Jake Fromm As a prospect: 4-star ranking, 44th nationally, 3rd at position As a player: Played in all 29 games in his first two seasons, including 28 starts. Georgia is 24-5 in those games. Fromm has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 5,364 yards and 54 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. Realistic candidate for all national awards, including Heisman Trophy and All-American. RB D’Andre Swift As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 23 national ranking and No. 4 at position As a player: Swift rushed for 618 yards and 3 touchdowns as an understudy to Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. He overcame early injury issues last year to lead the Bulldogs with 1,049 yards and 10 TDs and added another 32 catches and 3 scores as a receiver. If he can stay healthy and be Georgia’s featured back all year as expected, he’ll be a Heisman Trophy contender. WR J.J. Holloman As a prospect: 4-star ranking, 125th nationally, 18th at position As a player: Played in 19 of 29 games, including five starts and all 14 games as a sophomore. Was team’s fifth-leading receiver last year (24-418-5 TDs) but enters his junior season considered Georgia’s top wideout. TE Charlie Woerner As a prospect: Signed as a wide receiver.  4-star rating, 138th nationally, No. 25 at position As a player: Switched to tight end as a freshman. Played in 32 of 39 games in first three seasons with five starts. Nine catches each of last two seasons with 23 for 271 for his career. Yet to score. Sidelined with broken leg at end of 2017 season. With early departure of Isaac Nauta for NFL, only experienced tight end LT Andrew Thomas As a prospect:  4-star rating, ranking 45th nationally, No. 9 at position As a player: Started every game he’s played in his career, all 15 at right tackle as a freshman and all 13 at left tackle as a sophomore. Missed one game last year due to ankle injury from previous contest. Consensus all-conference and All-American. LG Solomon Kindley As a prospect: Signed as offensive tackle. 3-star rating, ranked 1,051st nationally, 89th at his position. As a player: After a redshirt year in 2016, Kindley has played in every game the last two seasons, with 21 starts, including every game last season. Played 75 percent of the snaps in SEC play last season. C Trey Hill As a prospect: 4-star rating, ranked No. 63 nationally and third at his position. Signed as guard. As a player: Played in all 14 games as a freshman, starting the last four at right guard as injuries sidelined Ben Cleveland and Cade Mays. Also filled in for starting center Lamont Gaillard. Won the center position in spring camp. RG Ben Cleveland As a prospect: 4-star rating, ranked No. 90 nationally and 10th at position. Signed as tackle. As a player: After redshirting his first year, Cleveland beat out Kindley for the starting job at right guard for the last four games of the 2017 season, which included an SEC championship and run through the CFB Playoffs. Started the first four games of last season before a broken leg against Missouri sidelined him for the season as an offensive lineman. Won back the starting job over Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer in spring practice. RT Isaiah Wilson As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 16 nationally, fifth at position As a player: Conditioning and heat acclimation led to first-year redshirt for the Brooklyn native. Earned freshman All-America honors last year after starting every game at right tackle WR Tyler Simmons As a prospect: 3-star rating, ranked 383rd nationally and No. 65 at his position. As a player: Simmons earned his place as a special teams player and blocking specialist on offense. He didn’t get his first of six starts as a receiver until his junior season. Now a senior, Simmons has 14 catches for 183 yards and two TDs in his career. But he’s one of the team’s fastest players and the thought is he has more to offer as a receiving target. WR Demetris Robertson As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 13 nationally, No. 1 at position As a player: Robertson earned freshman All-America honors when caught 50 passes for 767 yards and 7 touchdowns at Cal. But he hasn’t been able to replicate that production since transferring to UGA before last season. He played in only nine games as a sophomore and, remarkably, did not record a catch. However, his blazing speed resulted in 109 yards rushing on four carries, including a 72-yard TD in the season opener. Continued improvement on the playbook, sight-adjustments and blocking must be demonstrated to earn more playing time as a junior. — DEFENSE — CB Eric Stokes As a prospect: 3-star rating, 668th nationally, 63rd at position As a player: A track star in high school, Stokes redshirted as a freshman, was pressed into duty due to an injury to Tyson Campbell, then edged Campbell in the battle for playing time opposite of star corner Deandre Baker. One of the fastest players on the team, his DB skills have started to catch up with his speed. CB Tyson Campbell As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 12 nationally, No. 2 at position As a player: Campbell lived up to his lofty billing by starting the first 10 games of his freshman season. But as Baker’s star rose, Campbell found himself increasingly targeted on his side of the field. Loss of confidence and fundamental breakdowns led to Stokes getting three of the last four starts at corner and one for Tyrique McGhee. FS J.R. Reed As a prospect: 3-star rating; 1,856th nationally, No. 157 as cornerback As a player: Went to University of Tulsa out of Frisco, Texas, and only played sparingly before transferring to UGA and sitting out per NCAA rules. Quickly blossomed under the tutelage of former DBs coach/coordinator Mel Tucker and has started all 29 games he’s played at Georgia. Now serves as brains and brawn of the secondary. SS Richard LeCounte As a prospect: 5-star rating, 25th nationally, No. 2 at position As a player: Arrived somewhat raw in defensive fundamentals but with off-the-charts athleticism. Spent his freshman season as backup to Dominick Sanders, but moved into a starting role last season and started 13 of the 14 games. LB Monty Rice As a prospect: 4-star rating, 334th nationally, 18th at position As a player: Rice’s tremendous potential first became evident when he got his first start as a freshman filling in for an injured Roquan Smith. Rice had four tackles against Missouri that day and has been impressing ever since. He started five of nine games last year but has been dogged by injuries, which kept him out of the last four games. Could be a star with a full, healthy season. LB Tae Crowder As a prospect: 3-star rating, ranked 1,868th nationally and 221st at his position (actually wide receiver) As a player: Crowder became a prospect at Harris County High as a wide receiver, switched to running back during his senior season and signed with the Bulldogs as a back. However, he never recorded an in-game carry and, after a redshirt season in 2015, was moved to inside linebacker in the middle of the 2016 season. After playing in only one game that season, he has played in 28 of 29 the last two, including five starts last year. Slated to start this year at middle linebacker. OLB Walter Grant As a prospect: 4-star rating, 202nd nationally, No. 11 at position As a player: Grant has played in every game for Georgia since he arrived from Cairo High. His work came mainly on special teams as a freshman, but he started 8 games at Sam (strongside) linebacker last year. Unfortunately, Grant mans a position that is proving increasingly obsolete against today’s spread offenses. Got some looks at running back and tight end this spring. OLB Brenton Cox As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 23 nationally, third at position As a player: This is an unresolved competition that just as easily could end up being Adam Anderson, Robert Beal, Azeez Ojulari or Nolan Smith. The interesting aspect is they all share similar recruiting profiles as top-rated, elite prospects. Cox did not distinguish himself when forced into action for an injured D’Andre Walker in the SEC Championship Game. But he has played more and been more productive than others in the competition for playing time. DE David Marshall As a prospect: 3-star rating, 433rd nationally and No. 19 as defensive end As a player: The senior Marshall has a lot of experience and playing time, but it has typically been in a specialized role as a run-stopper while sharing time with Jonathan Ledbetter. So his production of 58 tackles in 32 games and just seven starts doesn’t jump off the stat sheet. But Marshall’s absence was evident last season when he missed the last eight games with a broken foot. He was extremely limited in spring practice as well. Again, he’ll be sharing playing time with Malik Herring and Julian Rochester, at the least. DT Tyler Clark As a prospect: 4-star rating, 264th nationally and No. 27 at his position. As a player: Everybody is still waiting for the same Clark to emerge who dominated the second half against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl in 2017. He hasn’t been bad and actually has been the best of the Bulldogs’ tackles, but he hasn’t made enough of the impactful “havoc plays” coach Kirby Smart so desires from his defensive front. Clark has played in all but one game since arriving from Americus in 2016 and that includes 22 starts. But several young prospects will be trying to steal playing time, and Clark needs a big year to attract NFL attention. NG Jordan Davis As a prospect: 3-star rating, 424th nationally, No. 29 at position As a player: Davis is one of those great stories where he proved much better than his recruiting profile. The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder over game weight and conditioning issues to earn a starting job midway through his freshman season and, after recording 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks, was named a freshman All-American. He will need to continue to demonstrate that sharp rate of progress for the Bulldogs to take another step toward becoming an elite defense. The post Anatomy of a lineup: The makeup of the highly-touted 2019 Georgia Bulldogs might surprise you appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS-----University of Georgia All-American Aaron Schunk has been named the 2019 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year, the College Baseball Foundation announced Thursday.   “In the end, we felt that Aaron’s impact on the mound, where he factored in the decision in 15 of his 17 appearances, his steady bat and his outstanding play at third base put him just a tick above the others,” said George Watson, chairman of the Olerud Award selection committee. “Plus his ability to positively affect the lives of others off the field makes him the perfect example of what the Olerud Award is all about. We are excited to see what the future holds for him.”   A second-round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in last week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Schunk helped lead the Bulldogs to a No. 4 National Seed in the NCAA Tournament and a final record of 46-17. He became the first Bulldog in nine years to capture the “Triple Crown,” leading the team with a .339 average, 15 home runs and 58 RBI. On the mound, he tallied 12 saves to go with a 1-2 record and a 2.49 ERA in 17 appearances. Earlier this week, Schunk was named a first team All-American as a utility player by Baseball America along with other multiple All-America and All-Region squads by various outlets. Additionally, Schunk is a Dean’s List student and a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He earned a spot on the 2019 SEC Community Service Team. Schunk signed a professional contract with the Rockies earlier this week.   “We are honored that Aaron has been selected as this year's John Olerud Award winner,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “It's a tremendous accomplishment for him and well-deserved. He's been an outstanding representative of the Georgia baseball program on and off the field throughout his career.”    The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The College Baseball Foundation (CBF) will present Schunk the 2019 award later this year. The other finalists this year were Will Mattiessen (Stanford), Alec Burleson (East Carolina), Tristin English (Ga. Tech) and Davis Sharpe (Clemson).   Schunk is the first Bulldog to win the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. Previous winners of the award include Mike McGee (2010-FSU); Danny Hultzen (2011-Virginia), Brian Johnson (2012-Florida), Marco Gonzales (2013-Gonzaga), A.J. Reed (2014-Kentucky), Brendan McKay (2015-17-Louisville) and Brooks Wilson (2018-Stetson). For more information on the CBF’s John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
  • ATHENS — The Georgia football offense is loaded for 2019, from its experienced and vaunted front line, to a third-year starting quarterback in Jake Fromm and returning 1,000-yard rusher in D’Andre Swift. Sports illustrated is the latest to take note, listing Fromm and Swift among the Heisman Trophy favorites entering the 2019 season. Fromm was listed among four “Elite Quarterbacks on Elite Teams” along with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. Swift, meanwhile, was in the “Workhouse Running Backs” group with 20 other backs. WATCH: Kirby Smart plans heavy usage for D’Andre Swift Fromm and Swift have been among the Heisman Trophy favorites throughout the offseason, with BetOnline.Ag installing them at 12-to-1 back in January. Fromm, Swift among early Heisman Trophy online betting favorites BetOnline.com kept Fromm and Swift’s Heisman Trophy odds at 12-to-1 in February, too. It appears spring drills did nothing to remove Fromm and Swift from the frontrunners for the award. Georgia coach Kirby Smart sounds ready to give new offensive coordinator James Coley some latitude to open up the offense this season. “People think balance means 50-50, (and) balance is not 50-50,” Smart said this spring. “Balance is being able to run the ball when you have to run the ball and being able to throw the ball when you have to throw the ball. So can you do both? Yes, you can be successful at both. “That might be 70-30 one game and then 30-70 the other way the next game.” The good news for Swift — and Fromm — is that Coley’s offense is expected to include plenty of throws to the backs. RELATED: James Coley expected to put his spin on Georgia offense Swift has proven an effective receiver as well as runner. Swift caught four passes or more in five games last season. In the last two games, Swift had more than four catches two TD reception. That bodes well for Fromm, as well. UGA lost four of its top five pass catchers from last season to the NFL draft. Fromm finished fifth in the nation in passing efficiency lat season, with Tagovailoa the only returning QB who was ranked higher. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit says Georgia offense starts with Jake Fromm Fromm ranked only 42nd in the nation in passing yardage (2,749), but that was with Smart looking to play former Georgia QB Justin Fields as much as possible in relief. That’s not as likely to be the case in 2019, meaning the Bulldogs could put up single-season record offensive numbers, and place Fromm and Swift squarely in the Heisman Trophy race.   The post Why Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift are legit Heisman Trophy favorites appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Rankings are subjective, even so, it’s always interesting to ascertain how coaches and programs are judged from the outside. Take Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, for example. Smart, only 43 years old and entering this fourth year as the Bulldogs’ head coach, is already considered to be in rarified air by The Sporting News. Six-time national champion Nick Saban was ranked No. 1 among college coaches, while two-time national champ Dabo Swinney is at No. 2. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher comes in at No. 3, and then there’s Smart at No. 4 with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley No. 5. The rest of the top 10 includes Washington’s Chris Petersen at No. 6, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly at No. 7, Florida’s Dan Mullen at No. 8, Texas coach Tom Herman at No. 9 and Jim Harbaugh at No. 10. Smart will go head-to-head with Fisher for the first time this season when Texas A&M plays at Sanford Stadium on Nov. 23. Here’s the Top 10-ranked coaches by Sporting News analyst Bill Bender, and how they compare in age and record at current school: 1. Nick Saban (67), 141-20 (.881) 2. Dabo Swinney (49), 116-30 (.795) 3. Jimbo Fisher (53), 9-4 (.692) 4. Kirby Smart (43), 32-10 (.762) 5. Lincoln Riley (35), 24-4 (.857) 6. Chris Petersen (54), 47-21 (.691) 7. Brian Kelly (57), 60-34 (.638) 8. Dan Mullen (47), 10-3 (.769) 9. Tom Herman (44), 17-10 (.630) 10. Jim Harbaugh (55), 38-14 (.731) Other SEC Coaches, and where they are ranked: No. 15 Ed Orgeron (57), 25-9 (.735) No. 19 Gus Malzahn (53), 53-27 (.663) No. 33 Mark Stoops (51), 36-39 (.480) No. 36 Will Muschamp (47), 22-17 (.564) No. 37 Joe Moorhead (45), 8-5 (.615) No. 40 Barry Odom (42), 19-19 (.500) No. 53 Derek Mason (49), 24-38 (.387) No. 54 Jeremy Pruitt (45), 5-7 (.417) No. 62 Matt Luke (42), 11-13 (.458) No. 65 Chad Morris (50), 2-10   (.167)   The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart chasing two SEC coaches in Sporting News rankings appeared first on DawgNation.