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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports
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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

What a strange week it's been "surreal," to use the word that I heard most often over the past few days. As my old friend Ben put it the other day, " Unfortunately, March madness has a completely new meaning these days."

While the COVID-19 pandemic had been increasingly in the news in recent weeks, prompting the declaration of national and state emergencies and setting off runs on grocery store shelves, the cultural impact of the crisis snowballed and seemed to get more real for many people this week with the shutdown of nearly all professional and college sports. Life seems even more grim without our favorite distractions.

Initially, it appeared athletic events, including like the remainder of the SEC basketball tournament in Nashville (where the Dawgs had won their opening-round game) and the upcoming NCAA basketball Final Four, set for Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, would still go on just without any fans in attendance, due to concerns over large gatherings of people being prime opportunities for the latest coronavirus to spread even more widely.

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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

However, the announcement late Wednesday that the NBA was suspending its season because a player on the Utah Jazz had tested positive for COVID-19 changed all that. It was like the first domino falling; in short order, professional basketball was joined by all the other major pro sports leagues suspending play; the NCAA canceling its tournaments in all winter-spring sports; other major events like the Boston Marathon and the Masters being postponed; and the SEC announcing that all organized team activities, including competitions, team and individual practices, meetings and other organized gatherings, will be suspended through at least April 15 .

That was followed by many schools and universities, including UGA, extending spring break for at least a couple of weeks as they consider finishing off the semester with remote learning, with no classes on campus. They don't want students gathering in large numbers meaning, the Dawgs' spring football practice will not open Tuesday as planned.

At this point, it's possible there won't be a G-Day game at all this year (with or without a crowd in attendance), even if spring practice does convene belatedly (which itself is no sure thing).

As a nervous populace hunkers down to embrace "social distancing," most fans have been supportive of the disruptions. Of course, there are some who think the panic is unnecessary, and I've seen a few UGA fans spouting off on social media about how the SEC's move is an overreaction. One said that the conference should "man up" and operate as usual, ignoring the fact that we're trying to control a pandemic.

The athletes, naturally, are disappointed, but, as Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean noted Thursday , "t he most important thing they can learn from all of this is that when they are responsible for their families someday, that they will always put their safety, their health, and their well-being in front of everything. That's what we're doing throughout the world."

And that's what brought us to a weekend where local TV sportscasts mainly dealt with discussions of there being no sports to cover, and "SportsCenter" was reduced to reporting on mixed martial arts.

Without the prospect of a Big Dance, my friend Greg posted on Facebook that, as someone who annually fills out six to eight brackets online, "this weekend and No-Selection Sunday may be the longest of the year."

So, what to do with all that time you won't be spending filling out your NCAA tournament bracket?

The SEC Network has been filling its schedule with replays of past games, but you don't get to pick and choose with those, and their offerings aren't necessarily what Bulldog Nation wants to see (the 2019 SEC Championship disaster is even harder to watch the second time around).

A better option is hitting YouTube and other streaming video outlets to watch some great games from the past that feature UGA teams.

To get you started, here's a selection of 10 football, basketball and baseball games that Dawgs fans should enjoy.

Georgia-Auburn, 1996

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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

This one features a terrific second-half comeback for Jim Donnan's first UGA team in the SEC's first overtime game. After fumbling twice in a loss to top-ranked Florida two weeks earlier, running back Robert Edwards didn't start the game, and only had 5 yards on six carries in regulation, but he poured it on in the four overtime periods, getting 60 yards on 10 carries, catching three passes from Mike Bobo for 30 yards, and scoring 3 touchdowns. Edwards accounted for 97 of Georgia's 100 yards in overtime, as the Dawgs won 56-49

"It seemed like he was a running back possessed," Auburn defensive back Martavius Houston said after the game. "Since he didn't play much the whole game, it seemed like he wanted to come in and show people what he had. They went to him, and he was money."

This was also the one where Uga V tried to take a bite out of the Tigers' Robert Baker.

Georgia-LSU, 2013

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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

With ESPN's "College GameDay" in town and the eyes of the nation on the quarterback showdown between former roomies Aaron Murrayand Zach Mettenberger, Mark Richt's Dawgs came from behind despite the loss of Todd Gurley to injury in the first half.

Murray led the 2-minute offense to perfection to take a 44-41 lead, then, the defense held as Mettenberger, who grew up in Oconee County just outside Athens, tried to bring the Tigers down the field to tie it up.

Mettenberger played a whale of a game, making one key pass after another, but the day wound up encapsulating the former Bulldog's career in Athens no matter how good he was, Murray came out on top. Said Vince Dooley after the game: "That was the best two-quarterback performance I've ever seen."

This also was the loudest game I've ever experienced at Sanford Stadium and, as I wrote at the time, one of the most thrilling days ever Between the Hedges. On that last futile drive by LSU, particularly the fourth-down incompletion, the place was literally vibrating with a ridiculous decibel level. This one definitely ranks among the Dawgs' best-ever games.

Georgia-Georgia Tech, 1978

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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

This is the game that made Buck Belue a Georgia legend even before the 1980 game against Florida. With Tech leading 20-0 late in the first half in Sanford Stadium, Dooley changed quarterbacks, sending freshman Belue into the game.

With a little under 5minutes left, Tech still led 28-21, but Belue led the Dogs 84 yards, capped by a fourth-and-3 43-yard touchdown pass to Amp Arnold, followed by a game-deciding 2-point conversion On the latter, the initial effort was an incomplete pass, but an interference penalty gave Georgia the ball at the Tech 1. A pitch to Arnold secured the extra points and the win over Pepper Rodgers' Jackets.

The Dawgs intercepted a Tech pass on the next possession to clinch the thrilling 1-point victory.

Georgia-Tennessee, 2001

The beloved "hobnail boot" game, and Richt's first major victory.

Georgia had lost nine of 10 to the Vols at that point, and hadn't won at Neyland Stadium since 1980. It looked like the Dawgs finally were going to break that streak, and then Tennessee's Travis Stephens went 62 yards to score off a screen pass and give the Vols a 24-20 lead with 44 seconds to play.

But that was more than enough time for Georgia quarterback David Greene, who led the Dawgs 59 yards in 39 seconds, winding up with a pass over the middle to Georgia fullback Verron Haynes in the end zone to give UGA a 26-24 win.

Georgia play-by-play man Larry Munson's reaction became a national sports classic: "My God Almighty, did you see what he did? David Greene just straightened up and we snuck the fullback over! We just dumped it over! 26-24! We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face!"

Georgia-Auburn, 2007

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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

The debut of the modern-day black jerseys and the day Knowshon Moreno led the Dawgs dancing on the sideline to Soulja Boy's "Crank That."

Despite the black jerseys sending the Sanford Stadium crowd into a frenzy, the game was tight early on, with the Tigers taking a 20-17 lead. Then, QB Matthew Stafford got the Dawgs back into it with his passing, and redshirt freshman running back Moreno took over the game. The Dawgs scored 28 unanswered points.

That year was the first time Georgia had beaten both Florida and Auburn in the same season since 1982.

SEC Championship Game, 2017

No. 6 Georgia and No. 2 Auburn met in a rematch of their regular season contest, with the Tigers having prevailed convincingly 3 weeks earlier.

Auburn scored first, but the scoring was all Georgia from that point on, with Bulldogs defensive star Roquan Smith making plays all over the field in the 28-7 Dawgs win. The Georgia offense had trouble at times against the tough Auburn defense, and Sony Michel missed much of the game with a knee injury, but Nick Chubb was at his best, and then-freshman D'Andre Swift electrified the Mercedes-Benz Stadium crowd with a 64-yard TD run to put the game away.

As I'm sure many of you know from personal experience, this one holds up extremely well to repeated viewings.

Rose Bowl, 2018

Quite simply, the best Georgia football game ever, as the Dawgs came from behind to beat Oklahoma in the sort of back-and-forth affair that makes great television.

The aforementioned Michel raced 27 yards for a touchdown in the second overtime (with a key block by quarterback Jake Fromm) to give No. 3 Georgia a 54-48 victory, and send the Dawgs to the national championship game in Atlanta.

Georgia-North Carolina in the 1983 NCAA Basketball Tournament

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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

In the year that followed Dominique Wilkins' early departure for the NBA, Hugh Durham's Dawgs secured their first-ever invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

Georgia made it to the Final Four by beating Dean Smith's North Carolina Tarheels, featuring Michael Jordan, in the East Regional final, prevailing at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York, by a score of 82-77.

Little-remembered footnote: Starting center Terry Fair picked up his fourth foul early in the second half, forcing backup Richard Corhen to play the final 18 minutes of the game.

Georgia-Stanford in the 1996 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament

Led by Saudia Roundtree and La'Keshia Frett, Andy Landers' Lady Dogs made the Final Four for a second consecutive year, and cruised by Stanford 86-76 in this semifinal game to move on to the championship game, where they unfortunately were bested by Tennessee.

No. 5 Georgia outlasts No. 24 Clemson in 20 innings

Just last April, this was the longest baseball game in UGA history, with Scott Stricklin's Diamond Dawgs prevailing 3-2 after 6 hours and 33 minutes.

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Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports

In the bottom of the 20 th , Georgia had the bases loaded when freshman right fielder Connor Tate delivered a walk-off single to left field, scoring center fielder Tucker Maxwell and ending the marathon contest at 1:35 a.m.

"We found a way to win and it was a lot of fun," Stricklin said afterward. "The guys were slap-happy by about the 15th inning. Guys were wearing motorcycle helmets and playing ping pong in the dugout, I've never seen that before."

You can kill an entire afternoon or evening watching this one!

To wind up, and put all this in perspective, I like this post that the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes put on their Facebook page:

"For many, sports help us escape from daily life. We form connections and we build communities. But just because sports have been paused, the community remains. As life continues to change, remember your family, your friends, your team. Treat that community with compassion and selflessness. We're all in this together and we'll always be here for you. Be safe, and we'll be sharing special moments together again soon."

The post Dawgs fans try to adjust to a spring without sports appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • The Georgia Supreme Court upholds the conviction and sentence for a Hall County woman found guilty on a 2013 murder charge: Amy McGarity was convicted and handed a life sentence in 2016. The Oakwood woman was the accused ringleader of a group of four people who killed 20 year-old Kayla Weil. Her remains were found wrapped in a blanket at a park on Lake Lanier in October of 2013. Investigators say she was strangled to death. 
  • Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, a Republican from Jefferson, confirms that one worker at the Plant Vogtle nuclear power facility in Burke County has tested positive for coronavirus. Echols says the Georgia Power Company is continue work on two new nuclear reactors, the first of which is scheduled to begin generating electricity in November of 2021.  Echols says on Twitter that “workers are staying safe and using extreme precautions. We need this carbon-free power by Nov 2021 and this and all of our power plants are critical infrastructure. “So far, only one positive test out of 9000 people. GP (Ga Power) is doing a good job at separating folks.”
  • Many Georgia football fans already had Nov. 14 circled on their calendars, and the date has now become even more alluring. The Masters, originally scheduled to start on Thursday, announced it intends to take place Nov. 12-15 this year. That means traditions will flow within the hallowed grounds of Augusta National on Saturday (Nov. 14) less than 100 miles away from the sacred hedges of Sanford Stadium.  The Bulldogs, a preseason favorite among championship contenders, will be tangling with their orange-clad rivals from the North on that same day in what's sure to be a nationally televised event.  'That makes for a great doubleheader, to have Augusta National followed up by a Georgia-Tennessee football game,' UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said. 'That's some high-quality TV right there.'  A look at the SEC schedule reveals the matchup between the Bulldogs and Vols to most likely be the league's feature matchup, setting up a battle under the lights.  The possibilities are endless. Might we see College GameDay, hosts clad in green jackets, broadcast from Augusta? Georgia football coach and golf fanatic Kirby Smart would be only a short helicopter ride away from an appearance on the show. It certainly makes for a historical afternoon and evening on Nov. 14 that will never and can't possibly ever be replicated. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered these unprecedented times. Precautionary measures such as social distancing and limited group gatherings are wreaking havoc on global activity. It has staggered economies while testing the willpower and patience of society.  Sports has certainly not been spared, fans now chomping at the bit to find a competitive entertainment fix. Spring and summer sports seasons have been canceled and/or postponed, and deadlines are fast approaching if fall athletes are to be properly prepared for their respective seasons.  Football is the cash king among U.S. sports, a vital revenue producer in the television advertising and stakes game. There's a priceless social value as well, particularly in the Southeastern Conference where football Saturdays are their own religion of sorts. The beliefs and practices have played out among generations of family, friends and business associates.  Thus, November 14 stands to represent a day of sports pageantry like no other before in Georgia. Some might point out that, traditionally, it would be Auburn facing the Bulldogs in that November game slot. The SEC office, however, swapped Tennessee and Auburn weekends on Georgia's schedule. It was a tradeoff that accomplished what Kirby Smart wanted, in avoiding consecutive road games with Georgia Tech and Auburn in the same month.  The Tigers, meanwhile, no longer have the prospect of facing Alabama and Georgia on the road in the same month. And for the Vols, it splits up their two key SEC East Division games. At times Florida and Georgia came back to back, a challenge Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer would rather do without.  But this year the scheduling repercussions go well beyond the gridiron. What's arguably the most lavish and sacred golf tournament in the world will intersect a key football weekend. It makes for a sports afternoon like no other.
  • Nancy Williams has been sewing since she was a little girl. That’s saying something, because she’s 96-years old. But what she’s making with a needle and thread today is protecting lives. “My daughter says it’s like a ‘war effort.’ It’s for the virus. And I hand them to anyone who wants one.” From her room at the Retreat at Loganville senior living community, Miss Nancy is sewing masks for the entire staff. “Her mother was a seamstress in Vienna, Georgia where mother grew up. Mother picked it up back then, because they made everything they wore,” Williams’ daughter Joan Ottinger said. Ottinger told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen her mom’s sewing machine has always been her sidekick. Back in the day, Miss Nancy even made clothes for Miss Georgia winners who went on to the Miss America pageant. But now she’s sewing for the healthcare professionals at her senior living center and her own grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the medical field. It all means very much to her family. “We’re very proud of her,' Ottinger said. Miss Nancy says she has made 150 masks so far. Her work has only just begun. “I hope I can make enough. 
  • Oconee County Commissioners schedule what they are calling a virtual town hall meeting, to be held one week from tonight, streaming live from the Oconee County courthouse in Watkinsville: Commissioners will talk about plans for a special purposes local option sales tax.  From the Oconee County government website…   The Oconee County Board of Commissioners will hold a Town Hall Meeting on April 14, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commission Chambers of the Oconee County Courthouse located at 23 North Main Street, Watkinsville, to discuss the 2021 Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). Citizens will be given the opportunity to provide topics for discussion by submitting comments on the link below. The Town Hall Meeting will be live-streamed and can be accessed on the Oconee County website at:  https://www.oconeecounty.com/1156/Virtual-Town-Hall-Meeting-Info

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Many Georgia football fans already had Nov. 14 circled on their calendars, and the date has now become even more alluring. The Masters, originally scheduled to start on Thursday, announced it intends to take place Nov. 12-15 this year. That means traditions will flow within the hallowed grounds of Augusta National on Saturday (Nov. 14) less than 100 miles away from the sacred hedges of Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs, a preseason favorite among championship contenders, will be tangling with their orange-clad rivals from the North on that same day in what's sure to be a nationally televised event. 'That makes for a great doubleheader, to have Augusta National followed up by a Georgia-Tennessee football game,' UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said. 'That's some high-quality TV right there.' A look at the SEC schedule reveals the matchup between the Bulldogs and Vols to most likely be the league's feature matchup, setting up a battle under the lights. The possibilities are endless. Might we see College GameDay, hosts clad in green jackets, broadcast from Augusta? Georgia football coach and golf fanatic Kirby Smart would be only a short helicopter ride away from an appearance on the show. It certainly makes for a historical afternoon and evening on Nov. 14 that will never and can't possibly ever be replicated. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered these unprecedented times. Precautionary measures such as social distancing and limited group gatherings are wreaking havoc on global activity. It has staggered economies while testing the willpower and patience of society. Sports has certainly not been spared, fans now chomping at the bit to find a competitive entertainment fix. Spring and summer sports seasons have been canceled and/or postponed, and deadlines are fast approaching if fall athletes are to be properly prepared for their respective seasons. Football is the cash king among U.S. sports, a vital revenue producer in the television advertising and stakes game. There's a priceless social value as well, particularly in the Southeastern Conference where football Saturdays are their own religion of sorts. The beliefs and practices have played out among generations of family, friends and business associates. Thus, November 14 stands to represent a day of sports pageantry like no other before in Georgia. Some might point out that, traditionally, it would be Auburn facing the Bulldogs in that November game slot. RELATED: Details of 2020 schedule flop, why Kirby Smart approves of it The SEC office, however, swapped Tennessee and Auburn weekends on Georgia's schedule. It was a tradeoff that accomplished what Kirby Smart wanted, in avoiding consecutive road games with Georgia Tech and Auburn in the same month. The Tigers, meanwhile, no longer have the prospect of facing Alabama and Georgia on the road in the same month. And for the Vols, it splits up their two key SEC East Division games. At times Florida and Georgia came back to back, a challenge Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer would rather do without. But this year the scheduling repercussions go well beyond the gridiron. What's arguably the most lavish and sacred golf tournament in the world will intersect a key football weekend. It makes for a sports afternoon like no other. The post Georgia football and The Masters set for weekend unlike any other appeared first on DawgNation.
  • There may not be azaleas in bloom, but there may be a Masters after all. Augusta National Golf Club announced Monday that the intended dates for the 2020 Masters will be Nov. 9-15. The major golf tournament was scheduled for this week before it was postponed last month because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “While more details will be shared in the weeks and months to come, we, like all of you, will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against the coronavirus,” Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement. “Along the way, we hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport. “We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials. Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week.” The club also announced that the Augusta National Women’s Amateur was canceled. The inaugural event was held last year. Each player who accepted an invitation for the 2020 championship will be invited to compete in the 2021, the club announced. Those who purchased tickets to the women’s event will be issued a refund. The Masters new dates would run into college football. On Nov. 14, the Saturday of the third round, Georgia is scheduled to host Tennessee and Georgia Tech is scheduled to play Notre Dame at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • ATHENS What if someone told you the best player on the current Georgia football team has yet to take a game snap for the Bulldogs? That's exactly what the metrics wizards at Pro Football Focus (PFF) are suggesting in their most recent piece. RELATED: Why Jamie Newman expected to excel quickly 'Most don't recognize the magnitude of Newman opting to transfer from Wake Forest to Georgia, but it's massive,' author Anthony Treash penned. 'Newman is an athletic player who is known for his rushing ability, but his arm talent simply does not get enough credit.' Apparently neither does Newman's dancing, as the graduate transfer showcased during a recent Tik Tok video after making a trick shot with a football through a basketball hoop. Jamie Newman introducing himself to #Georgia fans with a throw, a song and a dance https://t.co/BbDqBljH92 MikeGriffith32 (@MikeGriffith32) April 5, 2020 In all seriousness, PFF has been all over the metrics that warrant their selection of Newman as Top Bulldog. The metrics indicate Newman had the second-best tight window throw rating and deep throwing rating last season, behind only departed LSU QB Joe Burrow. Indeed, Newman averaged more offensive yards per game last season than former UGA backup and current Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. RELATED: Comparing Jamie Newman 2019 to Justin Fields There are several ways to judge 'best player,' however, and the DawgNation team held a draft of current Georgia players with its four experts and safety Richard LeCounte was the No. 1 pick. Receiver George Pickens went No. 2, and then was the choice of the fans when asked who their number one pick would be off the Georgia football team. RELATED: The Pickens Plan, why George is key to Bulldogs 2020 offense Here's a look at the best players off other SEC teams, per PFF ratings: Alabama: WR DeVonta Smith Arkansas: WR Treylon Burks Auburn: CB Roger McCreary Florida: CB Kaiir Elam Kentucky: CB Brandin Echols LSU: CB Derek Stingley Jr. Mississippi State: QB K.J. Costello Missouri: LB Nick Bolton South Carolina: CB Isreal Mukuamu Tennessee: CB Shawn Shamburger Texas A&M QB: Kellen Mond Vanderbilt: CB Jaylen Mahoney DawgNation Player Discussion DawgNation Jamie Newman stories Jamie Newman among Top 5 Heisman Trophy favorites Jamie Newman offseason training includes hometown visit How Georgia will look a lot like home to Jamie Newman ACC star says Jamie Newman will bring UGA different dynamic Future Georgia players weigh in on addition of Jamie Newman Jamie Newman much more than just a dual-threat Wake Forest players swear by Jamie Newman at NFL combine QB trainer: Jamie Newman fits new direction of Georgia offense Numbers game: How Jamie Newman compared to Jake Fromm The post Best Georgia football player entering 2020 season, per advance metrics . appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry shares a conversation with a high school teammate of Mekhail Sherman from this year. Shermansigned as part of the 2020 recruiting classwhich again wound up as the nation's No. 1 class on the 247SportsTeamComposite rankings. Mekhail Sherman was rated as a 5-star recruit for almost his entire shelf life as a prospective college football recruit. The last 247Sports Composite ratings saw his rating dip to four stars. It meant he wound up as the nation's No. 32 overall prospect for the 2020 cycle. Sherman now holds the distinction on that scale as the highest-rated 4-star prospect in the 2020 class. That still slots him as the nation's no. 2 OLB prospect. His 2019 senior season contained great intrigue. Sherman suffered a season-ending knee injury early in his junior season. It was something to monitor. The beauty of his game was in the way he covered ground out on the edge and all over the field. Especially for a future college LB. His recovery and comeback proved to be fierce. But he spent his senior year playing defensive end for a powerful St. John's College program in the Washington D.C. metro area. The focus was on getting on the field first. Getting back to helping his team. But there was also the challenge of getting back to being the player he used to be. There were many times where Sherman looked like a one-man wrecking crew on his sophomore film. He had 18 tackles for losses and seven sacks among his 51-tackle year. Check it out below. That was the momentum season for his time as a recruit. The Bulldogs offered him on his birthday in February after that season. He qualified for The Opening. While he was there, his laser time in the 40 turned just about every head there given his size and position. Sherman was in the 220-pound range then. Clocking 4.5s in his laser 40. It meant he dashed alongside all the elite skill guys in the 'Fastest Man' Challenge. At this time a year ago, the 2020 Georgia signee was busy narrowing his decision down to Georgia and Ohio State. He visited Georgia for G-Day and committed to the Bulldogs less than three weeks after that trip . Sherman wound up being a one-man linebacker recruiting class for the program in 2020. 'MJ' can certainly plug-and-play at either LB spot for the Bulldogs. Sherman did see a lot of reps at ILB at the Under Armour All-American Game earlier this year. Sherman finished that contest with six tackles. That tied him for the second-best total from all the All-Americans in that game. He had five solo stops. It also proved for the second-highest game total in that category. The Baltimore native also tied for the game-high total with his two tackles for losses. He said after the game that he had something to prove that night. The future 'Wolfpack' member wanted to show everyone how he could still make plays for the LB spot. That said, his overall athleticism lends itself to being out on the edge as a 'Jack' in Georgia's odd front. Do you believe in stars? Or is the game film a better arbiter? Do the words of a teammate matter more while assessing what Sherman can be at the college level? If so, the scouting report for 2021 4-star recruit Taize Johnson provides an interesting view on Sherman. Mekhail Sherman: What Maryland commit Taize Johnson feels Georgia is getting What does Johnson feel Georgia is getting in Sherman? 'Definitely a natural leader,' Johnson said. 'Leadership comes easily to him. Guys just gravitate towards him. He has real positive energy and a positive spirit all the time. This year, we had a rough patch. Losing four games straight. But he was always steadfast on us. Telling us this isn't our best football yet. This isn't the end for us. Always being positive. He's a very positive guy.' He felt some natural frustration during fall camp getting ready for his return to the field.Sherman had to wait 10 very long months for his clearance to return to the field from that knee injury. 'I was able to imagine how hard it was for him,' Johnson said. 'He was frustrated early on in camp. I can understand what it was like playing at such speed before the injury. But I felt like as the season progressed that speed just naturally came back. I saw the old Sherman. Just him being positive all the time.' DawgNation estimates that Sherman was probably at about 75-to-80 percent of his former self during Under Armour All-American week. He was on a practice field covered with elite talent and he only looked like one of many All-Americans out there at times. 'Sherm' spent some time trying to get his knee brace right. When he's all the way back, he will be hard to miss. Even on a field filled with elite talent. That estimate seems logical given the timelines it takes for an elite athlete to return from that type of knee injury. It falls in line with what Johnson saw, too. 'I honestly give him about 80 percent,' Johnson said of what he saw from Sherman in 2019. 'I feel like this off-season with him going into Georgia he will be back to top shape by next year.' That also might explain what the recruiting industry saw that week when they dropped him from his long-time standing among the nation's top 20 prospects to that No. 32 overall ranking. Sherman, even at less than his best, was still an elite high school football prospect. 'I feel he is going to make an impact early at Georgia. Even if he doesn't get as much playing time, I feel like his presence is going to be known,' Johnson said. 'From the time he steps on campus people are going to know who he is, know who he is about and they will know he is not about any games.' There was a game last fall with St. Joe's Prep that Johnson said he will always remember. That was the same St. Joe's Prep program that D'Andre Swift played for in high school. 'That was a game where anyone could see that our sideline was down,' Johnson said. 'He just said to forget what the coaches are saying. Forget the scoreboard. Forget about us not playing at home. Forget about everybody being hurt or banged up. It is just right now about us. He was just letting us know that we could do this and we were still in that game. He said for all of us to not worry about anyone else but to focus on ourselves and do our own job. He said that was how we were going to get back in that game.' 'He just really kept people on task when they were down.' You asked for it. We heard you. Our weekly live DawgNation 'Before the Hedges' recruiting show is now up on Apple podcasts. Check it out. Mekhail Sherman: His own words That knee injury happened, like most do, on a fluke. But this was a few first downs farther than just that.His knee joint was leg-whipped by his own teammate. He suffered a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament and partial lateral meniscus tear. 'The knee and what it will do to you really all that has done is given me more fuel to my fire,' Sherman said after G-Day a year ago. 'You can love the game so much but the game will cheat you. It cheated me. I got leg-whipped by my own teammate. My ACL was torn. But all that it did was I had to sit back.' 'Then I had to talk to God. I had to talk to family and realize why I do this. I had to revert back to why I do this. Now, this injury will not only touch you physically but also touch you mentally. All I have been doing is going through these trials and tribulations between physical, mental and spiritual ways to get stronger. So when I get back on that field there is no turning back.' 'MJ' gave one of the most unique answers imaginable when asked what was his 'why' for playing the game of football. His answer covered 700 words and was transcribed verbatim by DawgNation last spring. It should serve as the ultimate reference material as to why Georgia valued him so highly in the 2020 class. Sherman is going to be a great candidate to be a team captain at UGA during his time Athens. He proved to be a behind-the-scenes anchor for the 2020 recruiting class. He's just wired to lead. The future Bulldog has had great family support coming up. It has lead to a maturity that goes beyond his years on this Earth up to this point. As an Athlete, 1 out of the 3 will suffer: Social Life, Education, Your Athletic Career. Be Wise. Mekhail Sherman (@JuicedUpK9) January 25, 2019 Want to see for yourself what Sherman is all about? Check out his extended interview with DawgNation from the Under Armour All-American Game Media Day' session in late December below. The post Mekhail Sherman: Former teammate shares what UGA is getting in the elite 2020 signee appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Perspective is a wonderful thing, and like opinions, everyone has their own. This is especially true when it comes to sports, and there's nothing that triggers passion like SEC football. At Georgia, it's all about Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs 365 days a year. Not even the coronavirus pandemic can dampen the excitement building around this current squad. Many of these Georgia players were on display in a dominant 26-14 Sugar Bowl win in New Orleans that closed a season that saw UGA go 5-1 versus Top 25 teams. If was 19-0 at the half before Matt Rhule could hit 'send' on his new Carolina Panthers head coach agreement. Nine of the 11 starters off that Georgia Sugar Bowl defense are returning, along with five of the 11 offensive starters from the tone-setting victory. So when the DawgNation staff huddled last week to pick their 5-on-5 backyard football teams, there was no shortage of candidates for the No. 1 slot. DawgNation recruiting expert Jeff Sentell went first, and Richard LeCounte was the first man off the board. Sentell is as good as they come evaluating talent, and he had no problem defending his pick, explaining how LeCounte 'checks all the boxes.' 'Number One,Pro potential; Two, Former 5-star; Three, Veteran; Four, Great leadership skills and Five, physical ability,' Sentell notes. 'The clincher here are his 27 career starts. Monty Rice is the only returning Bulldog on this roster who has more than 20 career starts on his player resume.' Indeed, LeCounte was a pick everyone liked, but maybe didn't agree with in that No. 1 slot. Did receiver George Pickens, the Sugar Bowl MVP with his mind-bending 12-catch performance, have a better case to be the overall No. 1? Or should the DawgNation Team have handed the No. 1 overall pick to top-five Heisman Trophy favorite Jamie Newman? The quarterback position will, after all, likely prove pivotal to Georgia's national championship hopes. Perhaps it wasn't so surprising that the controversy and debates over player draft order continued throughout the draft, right down to choosing the top four assistant coaches! Here's the video from last week, narrated by DawgNation Daily host Brandon Adams, unscripted, unpredictable, and undefeated. DawgNation offseason blasts Breaking down DawgNation Draft 1.0, scouting reports Identifying the breakout candidates for 2020 Connor Riley's lessons learned from Scott Sinclair workouts Brandon Adams' take on Sam Pittman's need for college football Kirby Smart provides glimpse into future football health protocals The post WATCH: Controversial DawgNation Georgia football team draft sparks No. 1 debate appeared first on DawgNation.