Some Notable UGA Football Walk-ons that Earned Scholarships

Taking a moment to reflect, UGA has had some really outstanding walk-ons come through the football program. Many of these walk-ons eventually earned a scholarship, started games, made big plays, and earned SEC honors. Some notable (50+) walk-ons through the years:

Coach Butts:

Jimmy Orr (slotback) – led UGA in receiving in 1955 & 1957; 2-time NFL Pro Bowler caught 400 passes for 7,914 yds & 66 TDs during his professional career

Coach Dooley (4 former walk-ons started for his 1980 National Championship Team):

Spike “Sputnik” Jones (punter) – 3-year starter [1967-1969]; avg. 41.5 yds per punt [x194] during his career; went on to play 8 years in the NFL

Jim McCullough (placekicker) – 3-year starter [1967-1969]; led UGA in scoring 3 consecutive years totaling 150 pts by converting 84 PATs & 22 FGs

Hilton Young, Jr. (running back) – played on the 1975-1976 teams; 1999 recipient of the Bill Hartman Award (recognizes former UGA student-athletes who have distinguished themselves as alumni)

Jim Griffith (middle linebacker) – 3-year starter [1975-1977]; 325 career tackles

Keith Hall – led JV team in sacks in 1978; awarded a scholarship prior to the 6th game (Virginia) of 1979 after blocking a punt in practice

Mike Fisher (cornerback) – started for UGA’s 1980 National Championship team; intercepted 3 passes that season

Robert Miles (defensive end) – started 3 games as a tight end in 1979, then changed positions and started for UGA’s 1980 National Championship team as a defensive end

Nate “Tifton Termite” Taylor (5’10”, 195-lb. middle linebacker that ran a 5.2 second 40-yd dash) – 4-year starter [1979-1982] that led UGA w/ 390 tackles during his career; Vince Dooley called Taylor “the biggest surprise of my career”

Dale Williams (cornerback) – 2-year starter [1979 & 1981]; intercepted 2 passes for UGA’s 1980 National Championship team

Richard “Le Sack” Tardits (outside linebacker) – earned a scholarship in 1988 and started 9 games that season; finished career [1985-1986] w/ 29 sacks (a UGA record until David Pollack broke it in 2004)

Recruiting Stars and Starts: UGA Football Edition

73.1% of UGA football enrollees (x223) started at least 1 game during their UGA careers (not including current players that haven’t started a game yet but still have time) since Coach Richt was hired on 26 December 2000.5-stars: 11 of 12 [i.e., 91.7%] started at least 7 games during their UGA career [avg. 17.8 starts per player]; only Marquis Elmore didn’t start a game (he had back surgery on 6 August 2002 shortly after arriving to repair a herniated disk and that seemed to derail his career; however, he did play in 17 games and made 8 tackles) Continue reading

Best-of-the-Best: UGA Football Players Under Coach Richt

Special Teams

Placekicker
1) Brandon Coutu (former walk-on placed on scholarship): 3-year starter; converted 51 of 64 FGs [79.7%] w/ a long of 58 yds; 109 of 109 [100%] PATs; 221 kickoffs [avg. 60.7 yds] w/ 47 touchbacks2) Blair Walsh: 4-year starter; converted 76 of 103 FGs [73.8%] w/ a long of 56 yds; 184 of 185 PATs [99.4%]; 292 kickoffs [avg. 63.7 yds] w/ 52 touchbacks Continue reading

UGA Football Recruiting (2001-’13): the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

299 recruits signed LOIs w/ UGA in the last 13 years, an average of 23 recruits per year w/ an average star rating = 3.48
— 5-stars: 14
— 4-stars: 142
— 3-stars: 122
— 2-stars: 18
— Unranked: 3The Good (Academics/Graduation/1st & 2nd Team All-SEC Honors/NFL) Continue reading

Correlation Between Recruiting Rankings and Results

In 2012, 42 of 57 (i.e., 73.7%) SEC games were won by the team with highest average # of stars per available recruited scholarship player. Of note, 6 of the top 8 SEC teams in average # of stars per recruited scholarship player finished in the Top 12 of the final FBS Coaches Poll. Results for all SEC teams and UGA’s 2012 regular season opponents are below:(Final Coaches Poll) Average # of stars (i.e., prospect’s assessed potential) per available recruited player per Rivals.com’s Recruiting Database and 2012 season (& SEC) record: Continue reading