ACC: Georgia Bulldogs

Position U: Tight ends

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
11:30
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Who really deserves to claim the title of “Tight End U” for the 2000s?

1. Miami (84 points): While it has been relatively quiet since its positional heyday early in the 2000s, Miami still easily tops this list. With seven tight ends drafted, including first-round picks Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow and Greg Olsen, the Hurricanes far surpassed the next closest programs at the position. They don’t get extra points for this, but they also produced arguably the top tight end in the NFL today in 2010 third-round pick Jimmy Graham, who's now starring for the New Orleans Saints.

Award winners: Kellen Winslow, Mackey (2003).
Consensus All-Americans: Kellen Winslow (2003).
First-team all-conference: Jeremy Shockey (2000, 2001), Kellen Winslow (2002, 2003), Greg Olsen (2006).
NFL first-round draft picks: Jeremy Shockey (2002), Kellen Winslow (2004), Greg Olsen (2007).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Kevin Everett (Round 3, 2005), Jimmy Graham (Round 3, 2010).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Dedrick Epps (Round 7, 2010), Richard Gordon (Round 6, 2011).

2. Iowa (66 points): Dallas Clark leads the way thanks to a 2002 season after which he won the John Mackey Award and was a consensus All-American. But Iowa had a consistent run of tight ends in the 2000s, with first-round pick Clark and five others getting drafted -- most recently third-round pick C.J. Fiedorowicz, who was the fifth tight end selected this year.

Award winners: Dallas Clark, Mackey (2002).
Consensus All-Americans: Dallas Clark (2002).
First-team all-conference: Dallas Clark (2002), Brandon Myers (2008), Tony Moeaki (2009), C.J. Fiedorowicz (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Dallas Clark (2003).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Scott Chandler (Round 4, 2007), Tony Moeaki (Round 3, 2010), C.J. Fiedorowicz (Round 3, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Erik Jensen (Round 7, 2004), Brandon Myers (Round 6, 2009).

3. Missouri (64 points): Missouri hasn’t had as much success placing tight ends in the pros as some of the other top programs on this list, but the Tigers have an award winner (Chase Coffman won the 2008 Mackey Award) and three consensus All-American tight ends (Coffman, Martin Rucker and Michael Egnew) since 2000. Not too shabby.

Award winners: Chase Coffman, Mackey (2008).
Consensus All-Americans: Martin Rucker (2007), Chase Coffman (2008), Michael Egnew (2010).
First-team all-conference: Martin Rucker (2006), Michael Egnew (2010, 2011).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Martin Rucker (Round 4, 2008), Chase Coffman (Round 3, 2009), Michael Egnew (Round 3, 2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: None.


4. Wisconsin (64 points): One All-American (Lance Kendricks in 2010, when he led the team in catches, receiving yards and touchdown catches), six first-team All-Big Ten picks (Kendricks, Garrett Graham twice, Mark Anelli, Travis Beckum and Jacob Pedersen) and six drafted players helped Wisconsin nearly earn the runner-up spot in the tight end rankings.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Lance Kendricks (2010).
First-team all-conference: Mark Anelli (2001), Travis Beckum (2007), Garrett Graham (2008, 2009), Lance Kendricks (2010), Jacob Pedersen (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Owen Daniels (Round 4, 2006), Travis Beckum (Round 3, 2009), Garrett Graham (Round 4, 2010), Lance Kendricks (Round 2, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Mark Anelli (Round 6, 2002), Jason Pociask (Round 5, 2006).

5. Georgia (62 points): It doesn’t have the national awards to show for it, but Georgia seems to boast an outstanding tight end nearly every season. The best example of that is how the Bulldogs keep placing tight ends in the pros – starting with Randy McMichael, Ben Watson and Leonard Pope and leading all the way up to Arthur Lynch, who just went to the Miami Dolphins in the most recent draft. The Bulldogs have built an impressive legacy at the position that looks to continue.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: None.
First-team all-conference: Randy McMichael (2001), Leonard Pope (2004, 2005), Martrez Milner (2006), Orson Charles (2011), Arthur Lynch (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Ben Watson (2004).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Randy McMichael (Round 4, 2002), Leonard Pope (Round 3, 2006), Martrez Milner (Round 4, 2007), Orson Charles (Round 4, 2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Arthur Lynch (Round 5, 2014).

6. BYU (56 points): Independents Notre Dame and BYU are hurt in these position rankings by not being members of a conference -- thus they couldn’t earn points for all-conference selections, although BYU did as a member of the Mountain West up through 2010. In fact, the Cougars earned 36 of their 56 points by having six tight ends named to the All-MWC team between 2001 and 2009. Notre Dame certainly belongs higher on the list, considering that it has had nine tight ends drafted, including first-round pick and 2012 Mackey Award winner Tyler Eifert.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Dennis Pitta (2009).
First-team all-conference: Doug Jolley (2001), Jonny Harline (2005, 2006), Dennis Pitta (2007, 2008, 2009).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Doug Jolley (Round 2, 2002), Dennis Pitta (Round 4, 2010).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Tevita Ofahengaue (Round 7, 2001), Spencer Nead (Round 7, 2003).

7. Virginia (54 points): Heath Miller is a one-man wrecking crew here, single-handedly accounting for 38 of Virginia’s 54 points thanks to a Mackey Award-winning season in 2004 when he was a consensus All-American and went on to become a first-round draft pick. Miller also won All-ACC honors in 2003.

Award winners: Heath Miller, Mackey (2004).
Consensus All-Americans: Heath Miller (2004).
First-team all-conference: Heath Miller (2003, 2004), John Phillips (2008).
NFL first-round draft picks: Heath Miller (2005).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Chris Luzar (Round 4, 2002).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Billy Baber (Round 5, 2001), Tom Santi (Round 6, 2008), John Phillips (Round 6, 2009).

8. Stanford (48 points): Stanford is arguably the top program for tight ends right now, but that’s a fairly recent development. Of the six Cardinal tight ends drafted since 2001, four have been since 2010, led by second-round picks Coby Fleener and 2012 All-American Zach Ertz. Stanford posted a rare double in 2013 when Ertz and Levine Toilolo were both picked in the draft’s first four rounds.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Zach Ertz (2012).
First-team all-conference: Alex Smith (2004), Coby Fleener (2011), Zach Ertz (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Teyo Johnson (Round 2, 2003), Alex Smith (Round 3, 2005), Coby Fleener (Round 2, 2012), Zach Ertz (Round 2, 2013), Levine Toilolo (Round 4, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Jim Dray (Round 7, 2010),

9. Colorado (46 points): Colorado hasn’t had much to brag about on the football field over the last several years, but the Buffaloes are still hanging on in the tight end rankings. Daniel Graham’s outstanding 2001 season (including a Mackey Award and a consensus All-America designation prior to becoming a first-round draft pick) is a big reason why Colorado makes the top 10.

Award winners: Daniel Graham, Mackey (2001).
Consensus All-Americans: Daniel Graham (2001).
First-team all-conference: Daniel Graham (2001), Joe Klopfenstein (2005).
NFL first-round draft picks: Daniel Graham (2002).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Joe Klopfenstein (Round 2, 2006).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Quinn Sypniewski (Round 5, 2006), Nick Kasa, Round 6, 2013).

10. UCLA (46 points): As with its fellow No. 9 on the list, Colorado, UCLA can thank a single player for its spot in the top 10. Marcedes Lewis accumulated 32 of the Bruins’ 46 points with a 2005 season when he won the Mackey Award, was a consensus All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 pick and then went on to become a 2006 first-round draft selection.

Award winners: Marcedes Lewis, Mackey (2005).
Consensus All-Americans: Marcedes Lewis (2005).
First-team all-conference: Mike Seidman (2002), Marcedes Lewis (2005).
NFL first-round draft picks: Marcedes Lewis (2006).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Mike Seidman (Round 3, 2003).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Jeff Grau (Round 7, 2002), Bryan Fletcher (Round 6, 2002).

REST OF “TIGHT END U” RANKINGS
44 – Notre Dame; 40 – Clemson; 38 – Arizona State, Florida, Louisville; 34 – Oregon, USC; 32 – Minnesota, North Carolina, Purdue, Rutgers; 28 – Tennessee; 26 – Oklahoma; 24 – N.C. State; 22 – Kentucky, Washington; 20 – Arkansas, Maryland; 18 – Penn State, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech; 16 – Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas; 14 – Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State; 12 – South Carolina; 10 – California, LSU, Michigan State, Oregon State; 8 – Boston College, Northwestern; 6 – TCU, Utah, Duke, Syracuse; 4 – Alabama, Kansas, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech; 2 – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Mississippi State; 0 – Auburn, Baylor, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Washington State, West Virginia

Video: Week 1 games to watch

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
11:00
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Mike Bellotti and Matt Stinchcomb offer up the Week 1 matchups they are most excited to watch: Georgia vs. Clemson and LSU vs. TCU.
Despite a nine-game ACC schedule that will likely accompany the arrivals of Syracuse and Pitt in 2013, Clemson still plans to play its scheduled two-game series with Georgia.

Tigers athletic director Terry Don Phillips said as much last week to reporters, meaning, because of its rivalry with South Carolina, Clemson will find itself with 11 games against BCS-conference schools in 2013-14.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to visit Death Valley in 2013, with Clemson returning the favor the next season. That would likely mean just six home games for the Tigers in 2014.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney acknowledged the obstacle this could mean for his team on the field, but he is nonetheless excited to renew (or is it keep?) a rivalry.
"I ain't fired up about playing one of the top teams in the country, and we've got plenty of tough opponents, and certainly it's a game that could go either way," Swinney said, according to OrangeandWhite.com. "But that's a game that I grew up watching. I've heard so many stories about Clemson-Georgia, and I'd love to be a part of it and have a chapter of that history.

"It's exciting for our fans and our staff and our players to play one of the best teams in the country, and a school that we're obviously close to, proximity-wise.
Bobby Bowden was no stranger to off-the-field crises as a football coach. And he knows he would have to be more of a micro-manager if he were still coaching today.

The former Florida State coach spoke at Georgia's annual coaching clinic Friday. With several Bulldogs players in the news because of drug-related issues, Bowden said he sees the need for restrictive drug testing.

From DawgNation's David Ching:
"Our society needs it," Bowden said. "You need something to try to deter these boys and these girls from getting into drugs. It's all throughout society. Why are football players any worse than anybody else? Everybody else is doing the same dadgum thing, you know? So if you have something that deters them, yes we all ought to do it. But there's going to be some that fall through the cracks."

Bowden thinks a wide substance abuse-related policy — at either the conference or national level — would help.

The 82-year-old Bowden said he supports Georgia coach Mark Richt, a former 14-year assistant of his.

Wake Forest, ACC, poised for huge splash in NFL draft

March, 13, 2009
3/13/09
11:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

If there's one thing the ACC can brag about when it comes to competing against the other BCS conferences, it's NFL draft picks, and this year should be no exception. Over the past three years, the ACC has led all conferences with 25 players chosen in the first round of the NFL draft and the most players drafted overall (115). Half of the ACC could be represented in the first round this year.

The ACC has three of the top five NFL draft prospects, according to Scouts Inc.'s ranking of the top 32 draft-eligible players:

1. Aaron Curry, linebacker, Wake Forest

2. Michael Crabtree, wide receiver, Texas Tech

3. Jason Smith, offensive tackle, Baylor

4. B.J. Raji, defensive tackle, Boston College

5. Eugene Monroe, offensive tackle, Virginia

Florida State defensive end Everette Brown isn't far behind at No. 13, North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks is No. 26 and Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is No. 27. Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith made the cut at No. 32.

The fact that two Wake Forest players are even on the list -- let alone a possible No. 1 overall pick -- is evidence that the coaching staff has an eye for talent, and it is possible to lure players like Smith and Curry to Winston-Salem. Same with Boston College. Never in the history of the program has Wake Forest had a No. 1 overall pick. (Norm Snead was No. 2 in 1961). Their last first-round pick was defensive end Calvin Pace in 2003. In fact, Curry would be only the third player ever from Wake to be chosen in the first round.

Only Wake Forest and East Carolina showed an interest in Curry. At just over six feet, he was undersized, but ran really well. The staff liked his work ethic and love for the game. They took a chance on him because of those two qualities. There were a few other linebackers in the state that year -- Chase Rice went to UNC and Chase Bullock went to Maryland. Obviously neither of them had a career like Curry.

Detroit seems to be torn between former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith and Curry. The Rams will probably take a lineman because they just cut Orlando Pace, so Curry probably won't go there, and could fall to No. 3, Kansas City. Regardless, it will be a huge paycheck for Curry and will pay dividends in recruiting and exposure for Wake Forest.

FSU and Miami building championship-caliber recruiting classes

January, 16, 2009
1/16/09
10:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

If Miami and Florida State continue to add to and develop the speed and athleticism that is already in their current recruiting classes, then look out -- both of these programs will be back in business.

Florida State had the better season in 2008, but Miami's recruiting is a step ahead. If the Canes hire the right offensive coordinator and get the kinks worked out at quarterback, then Miami is going to be one of best teams in the country in the next two or three years. If they're not, then something is wrong, because all you have to do is look at the talent they're lining up, not to mention how many young impact players like Sean Spence are already on the roster.

Miami currently has seven -- seven! -- recruits committed who are ranked among the ESPNU 150, a list of the top 150 prospects in the country, and nine players who have earned a grade of 80 or higher. If you're not familiar with ESPN's grading system, you should check it out, because there is no other evaluation like it.

Players who earn a grade of 80 or higher are deemed outstanding prospects who can contribute as true freshmen. Miami had the No. 1 recruiting class a year ago, and it panned out. This one should too, thanks to the staff's late push on the recruiting trail.

Florida State is not far behind. It has to have helped to have coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher out recruiting when other head coaches cannot. Defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel is the real deal, and the No. 1 prep tackle in the country. Back to that grading system ... McDaniel has a 91, meaning our evaluators consider him a rare prospect who "has all the skills to take over a game and could be an impact player as a true freshman." Translated -- wow.

Both of these programs have improved their recruiting in the 2008 and 2009 classes. FSU jumped from No. 25 in 2007, when it had a very average class, to No. 12 last year and is currently No. 10. Miami is currently ranked No. 7. (Don't forget, though, who had the No. 2 class a year ago -- Clemson. This is the year for Da'Quan Bowers, Kyler Parker and Jamie Harper to remind us why, although Bowers has already lived up to the hype.)

The first step in earning a top 10 ranking in the BCS standings is building a top 10 recruiting class, and that's exactly what Florida State and Miami have been doing. They're in good company with the likes of USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and LSU -- all programs that were in contention for the national title the past few seasons.

If Florida State and Miami are getting the same quality players, then reason stands they should have the same chance.

Most historically clutch team in the ACC

August, 1, 2008
8/01/08
10:59
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

You won't believe it.

The most schizophrenic team out there -- the program that can't seem to win the "big one" -- also happens to be the most historically clutch team in the ACC.

NC State gave the Clemson Tigers some serious competition for this honor, as the Wolfpack's 7-4 record in overtime games is the best in the conference -- and four of those OT wins were on the road. There were also numerous amazing Philip Rivers-led comebacks that must be taken into consideration.

However, when you're looking at each program through its entire history, Clemson actually does win the close ones. Still not convinced? Take a look:

  • Since 1948, Clemson has had 67 fourth-quarter wins, and five overtime wins during which the Tigers erased a deficit or tie.
  • All of those games were decided by seven points or less, or in overtime.
  • 24 of those wins came with less than a minute left in the game.
  • Three of them came with zero seconds left on the clock.

There were a few seasons during that span that stood out:

1986 -- David Treadwell kicked three game-winning field goals (46 yards, 21 yards and 31 yards) to beat Georgia, Maryland and South Carolina. He put it through the uprights on the road against Georgia and Maryland with 10 seconds or less on the clock. The Tigers were ACC champs that year.

1987 -- A second straight season in which the Tigers were ACC champs in large part because of Treadwell, who kicked game-winners against Georgia and North Carolina. Tracy Johnson's four-yard run against Duke with 6:46 remaining gave Clemson the 17-10 win.

2005 -- With 2 seconds left on the clock, Jad Dean made a 42-yard field goal to beat Texas A&M, 25-24. Reggie Merriweather's 38-yard burst with 2:58 left beat Maryland, 28-24, and a 2-yard run by James Davis with 5:58 remaining put Clemson over rival South Carolina, 13-9.

Granted, that was then, and this is now. Can the Tigers come through in the clutch this season? If not, who is currently the most clutch team in the conference? Check back later to find out.

ACC in the morning: Watching Weatherford, Miami

July, 18, 2008
7/18/08
7:07
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Not so fast, FSU fans. Those of you who have already bought your No. 14 jerseys as your vote for Christian Ponder this season might want to know Drew Weatherford hasn't conceded anything just yet.

Here's an interesting tidbit about Miami from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: The last time Miami had this much inexperience at quarterback was in 1983, when Bernie Kosar led the Hurricanes to a national title.

This just in: Resurrecting Miami's program ain't easy.

The Florida Sports Writers Association College Football Media Days are going on, hence the news from Miami. Here's the Palm Beach Post's take on it. Here are some notes and quotes that were in the Orlando Sentinel, which is getting the silent treatment from George O'Leary. And of course, the Miami Herald was there, too. And the Florida Times-Union.

For those of you Wolfpack fans paying attention to what's going on at South Carolina (Aug. 28 season opener), you might be interested in Steve Spurrier's latest vote of confidence in quarterback Tommy Beecher.

In NC State's own backyard, Tom O'Brien, Butch Davis and David Cutcliffe got together Thursday at the Triangle Pigskin Preview. These guys have a sense of humor (O'Brien's rather dry). But it's also July. The Raleigh News & Observer had a similar take on it.

Here's a belated thought on Virginia Tech starting the 2009 season in the Georgia Dome, much like Clemson is this year: Georgia Tech -- and Georgia for that matter -- can't be happy about this. Two other ACC schools coming into their recruiting turf and stealing the national spotlight out of their own backyard? Can't be good.

Oh, geez, I hate it when this happens.

Check back later for what FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett thinks of my opinions.

Checking in on T.J. Yates

July, 15, 2008
7/15/08
8:24
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

 
 Grant Halverson/Getty Images
 T.J. Yates threw for a school-record 2,655 yards in 2007.

While helping instruct high school football campers from all over the country this past weekend, UNC quarterback T.J. Yates also picked up a few tips that might help the Tar Heels this season. Yates got back on Monday after working as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy, an elite high school camp at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La.

And yes, Archie, Eli and Peyton were all there.

Yates and Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon got a chance to meet the Mannings, along with other college quarterbacks from around the nation.

They didn't act like they "were big NFL guys," Yates said of the Mannings. "They were just acting like one of the guys."

Georgia's Matt Stafford, Purdue's Curtis Painter and former Georgia Tech quarterback Taylor Bennett, who transferred to Louisiana Tech, were also there.

"Just being around all of those college guys and talking to them about their season and how they get prepared, how they go about their business, kind of got me motivated," Yates said.

Clyde Christensen, the wide receivers coach for the Colts, is a Carolina grad and good friends with offensive coordinator John Shoop. He approached Yates about working the camp when he visited a few practices.

"Mainly I was there for the experience of being there teaching the kids, but we had a couple of sit down sessions with Peyton and Eli, all of the college guys," Yates said. "It was an open forum, question and answer thing. We talked about watching film, getting prepared for games, the process of coming out of college and going into the league -- all types of stuff. ... It was a good experience just being around all of them."

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Last year, following his team's 9-4 season, Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper got a phone call.

It was legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley, offering his congratulations.

College football history runs deep in the Harper family, as far back as the 1980 national championship, when his father, Jeff, was a starting offensive offensive lineman.

Georgia officials are close to to erecting a statue of Jeff Harper helping carry Dooley off the field (which he really did) following the Bulldogs' 1980 national title win over Notre Dame. At the same time, Cullen Harper has his own aspirations of a national title for Clemson.

"Definitely growing up in that environment helped me become the player I am today because nothing really surprised me once I got to this level," he said in a recent interview, "growing up in the football household I did."

Still, even with the weighty expectations facing this year's Tigers team, he and his father don't discuss it much.

"He really doesn't have to say anything," Cullen said. "Growing up my dad won a national championship, and I really didn't think it was that big a deal. Once you get to this level, you realize how special it is."

His father doesn't dwell on the past.

"I look at my career as something that happened 25 years ago," said Jeff Harper. "I've had my day in the sun. I've moved on. My career was something that was in the past and I pretty much focus all my attention on Cullen."

Their basement reflects that change. When Cullen was little, the room was a shrine to Georgia, with his father's helmet and framed jersey from the 1980 national championship team amongst a clutter of trophies and plaques. Now?

"He's taken over with his things," Jeff said with a laugh. "Like I said, my heydey's in the past. I'm getting to relive it all again through him."

As natives of Alpharetta, Ga., the Harpers were frequent fans at Georgia games. In 2002, Cullen and his father were on the sidelines for the Bulldogs' season opener against Clemson, Cullen's first close-up look at Division I football. He wound up playing for the Tigers in part because Georgia already had plenty of quarterbacks on its roster and didn't offer him a scholarship. Neither he nor his father lost any sleep over it.

"It just wasn't the right situation for me," he said. "Clemson turned out to be the perfect fit for me and I'm glad I wound up here."

So are his teammates. Last season, Harper threw 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. He completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 2,991 yards. He should be the best quarterback in the league, and his team should win its first ACC title since 1991 - should. As for their shot at a national title? There might be a team called Georgia in their way.

"I think Cullen's a mature person, and there's no need to say anything," Jeff said. "You can talk about it and talk about it, and it becomes more of a distraction. These guys, they realize what the expectations are. My wife has named this team the Perfect Storm."

Harper has already graduated, so he can put all of his concentration into helping his teammates weather it.

Georgia Tech and Georgia -- like ... family?

July, 7, 2008
7/07/08
2:27
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Georgia Tech kicker Scott Blair might be the only Yellow Jacket -- fans included -- who has "a big pile of Georgia stuff" in his closet right now.

And no, he's not a closet Bulldog.

He's just got an older sister who actually is one, and they tend to exchange rival gear for Christmas (and just about any other chance they get).

Michelle Blair is one of the top members of Georgia's national championship equestrian team, and she and her brother often remind each other who goes to the better school.

Scott, a sophomore, once got her a "rivalry pad," with both schools listed at the top and a line down the middle dividing it. Of course, he filled it out first.

"We get on each other pretty hard," he said. "I was at a concert while Georgia was playing Fresno for the national championship in baseball. My sister was trying to give me updates. I was already ahead of her, saying how Georgia was getting whupped up on."

That won't happen this fall.

While Georgia is clinging to national title hopes, Blair and his teammates are working for a smooth transition into Paul Johnson's offense. Blair might wind up doing kickoffs as well as punting and/or field goal duties. He said he'd like two of the three. One thing is for sure -- the Yellow Jackets have improved their kickoff coverage with him booting the ball.

In 2006, Georgia Tech ranked 119 out of 119 teams in kickoff coverage, allowing 26.98 yards per return. At the end of last season, the Yellow Jackets were ranked third in the nation (16.95), and a lot of that has to do with Blair's high-but-not-deep kick, and the fact more starters are being used on the coverage team.

Michelle has one year left at Georgia to complete her degree. Although she has exhausted her eligibility, she'll remain with the team to help coach and have other responsibilities. Among them, reminding her brother who's No. 1.

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