Brock Bowers, Herschel Walker not given fair due on ESPN Freshman All-Time list

ATHENS — The two key offensive gamers on Georgia’s most up-to-date nationwide championship groups deserve higher.

ESPN retains churning out all-time school soccer lists, and Georgia gamers hold getting shorted and neglected.

Brock Bowers and Herschel Walker are the latest examples of Bulldogs gamers who do not appear totally appreciated.

Some may surprise why it is well worth the time to dig deeper into such all-time lists to debate the factors.

The reply is that notion can rapidly overtake actuality.

Also, as somebody who has served because the chairman of the FWAA Freshman All-American Team since its inception in 2001, there may be greater than delicate curiosity in my place.

When a program has fought as lengthy and as exhausting as Georgia to rise to the highest, it appears solely fair that its gamers get correct recognition.

Coach Kirby Smart is aware of higher than anybody that it takes time to vary a story, and to be clear the Bulldogs had some floor to make up in that space when Smart was employed earlier than the 2016 season.

Georgia has not had a Heisman Trophy finalist since 1992 (Garrison Hearst), which probably contributes to its offensive gamers getting neglected.

But final 12 months was a case of all the program getting snubbed within the preseason.

RELATED: Stop the press! USA Today shuts out Georgia offensive, defensive stars

Amazingly, the USA Today preseason All-SEC first-team did not embrace any Georgia gamers on its offense or protection.

This, off a workforce that produced a record-number 15 NFL draft picks, together with the No. 1 total decide and an unprecedented 5 first-round alternatives.

So when Bowers — simply probably the most helpful offensive participant on the Bulldogs’ 2021 nationwide championship workforce — was not ranked among the many Top 50 freshmen of all time by ESPN’s chosen historical past in a pay-site article, it was time for a better look.

Likewise when Herschel Walker was ranked behind Pitt’s Hugh Green as the best freshman of all time by ESPN analyst Bill Connelly on that very same list.

Connelly, it is price noting, dropped Georgia’s nationwide championship protection all the way in which all the way down to No. 17 on his all-time list — 15 spots behind an Alabama protection that gave up 21 factors within the fourth quarter of a nationwide championship sport loss.

RELATED: Georgia’s legendary title protection drops low on ESPN all-time list

Bowers ought to have been a straightforward name to make ESPN’s Top 50 list, as he was chosen because the nationwide Freshman of the Year by two completely different organizations after incomes SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

To put Bowers’ being left off the list into perspective, contemplate former Purdue receiver David Bell was ranked No. 3 of 10 all-time amongst freshmen by ESPN in a receiver/tight finish grouping.

Bell performed on a 4-8 Purdue workforce the place he led his workforce with 86 catches for 1,035 yards, whereas Bowers was the go-to goal for the nationwide champions with a team-high 56 catches for 882 yards.

A better look reveals Bowers had 13 TD catches to Bell’s 7 and was the extra explosive goal with a 15.8 yards per catch common to Bell’s 12.0.

Bowers additionally had TD receptions of 77 and 89 yards, whereas Bell’s longest catch went for 54 yards.

Players like Bowers make the distinction in groups successful championships, as he equaled Bell’s season TD reception whole (7) in Georgia’s remaining 5 video games of the 12 months, with a minimum of one scoring catch in every.

As debatable as Bowers’ absence from the Top 50 all-time freshman list was, not seeing Walker because the No. 1-ranked freshman participant of all time was stunning.

To put it into perspective, Walker performed with a separated shoulder suffered within the first sequence of the primary quarter in opposition to a legendary Notre Dame protection within the nationwide championship sport.

ESPN’s No. 1 Freshman of all time — Hugh Green — was a part of a 9-2-1 Gator Bowl workforce.

Green’s numbers had been spectacular: 92 tackles, 12 sacks, 5 compelled fumbles on a workforce that ranked fifteenth within the nation in factors allowed per sport with losses to Notre Dame (19-9) and Penn State (15-13).

But the place was Green within the fourth quarter of the house loss in opposition to the Irish within the opener, when the Panthers gave up 13 factors?

It’s usually tougher to impression the sport as a defensive participant than as a working again, notably in earlier eras the place coaches actually put groups on their famous person’s again.

That was the case at Georgia in 1980, which handed off to Walker — a real freshman — 310 instances in 12 video games — a mean of greater than 25 per sport.

Walker posted eight 100-yard video games — and, get this — 4 200-yard video games:

• 283 yards vs. Vanderbilt

• 219 yards vs. South Carolina

• 238 yards vs. Florida

• 205 yards vs. Georgia Tech

In in the present day’s school soccer world, Walker would have received the Heisman Trophy.

Fifty years in the past, nonetheless, there was a sentiment to lean in the direction of seniors, so senior South Carolina star George Rogers was the Heisman Trophy winner.

Interestingly sufficient, Walker and Georgia beat Rogers and the then-non-SEC Gamecocks head-to-head within the Bulldogs’ 13-10 victory.

Rogers had 35 carries for 168 yards, however Walker totaled 219 yards on 43 carries within the sport. Two of the most important performs of the sport had been a Rogers’ fumble contained in the UGA 20 and a Walker 76-yard TD run.

Walker completed third within the Heisman voting as a freshman. A real freshman has by no means received the award, whereas solely two redshirt freshmen have achieved the feat (QBs Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston).

Green did not end within the Top 10 of the Heisman Trophy voting as a freshman in 1977 (Notre Dame defensive lineman Ross Browner was fifth).

Charles Woodson was the primary defensive participant to win the Heisman Trophy in 1997 as a member of nationwide champion Michigan.

Bowers receiving stats vs. ESPN Top true freshmen

Bowers: 13 TDs, 15.8 ypc, 56 catches, 882 yards

1. Mike Williams 14 TDs, 15.6 ypc, 81 catches, 1,265 yards

2. Rondale Moore 12 TDs, 11.0 ypc, 114 catches, 1,258 yards

3. David Bell 7 TDs, 12.0 ypc, 86 catches, 1,035 yards

4. KD Cannon 8 TDs, 17.8 ypc, 58 catches, 1,030 yards

5. Marqise Lee 11 TDs, 15.7 ypc, 73 catches, 1,143 yards

6. Ronney Daniels 9 TDs, 19.1 ppc, 56 catches, 1,068 yards

7. Larry Fitzgerald 12 TDs, 14.6 ypc, 69 catches, 1,005 yards

8. Sammy Watkins 12 TDs, 14.9 ypc, 82 catches, 1,219 yards

9. Tamarick Vanover 4 TDs, 13.8 ypc 42 catches, 581 yards,

10. Calvin Ridley 5 TDs, 15.3 ypc, 63 catches, 967 yards

RELATED: Legendary Coach tasks Herschel Walker in in the present day’s sport

All-time Georgia working again statistics

(Including bowls)

1. Herschel Walker (36 video games, 1,083 carries, 5,595 yards)

2. Nick Chubb (47 video games, 758 carries, 4,769 yards)

3. Sony Michel (47 video games, 591 carries, 3,638 yards)

4. Todd Gurley (30 video games, 510 carries, 3,285 yards)

5. Garrison Hearst (34 video games, 580 carries, 3,416 yards)

6. Lars Tate (46 video games, 679 carries, 3,374 yards)

7. D’Andre Swift (43 video games, 440 carries, 2,885 yards)

8. Knowshon Moreno (26 video games, 498 carries, 2,734 yards)

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