Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
A.J. Green is bigger, stronger, faster and better this season.
So far, it hasn’t really mattered how much opposing defenses have shadowed Georgia’s sensational sophomore receiver.
|Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE|
|Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is even better in his sophomore season.|
Sooner or later, he’s going to get you.
And, oh yeah, he’s a bit wiser, too.
The inevitable comparisons between Green and Alabama’s Julio Jones will no doubt endure. They both came into the SEC together a year ago, and they both dazzled as true freshmen.
So who’s better?
“I don’t know, man,” Green said with a slight laugh and not about to be drawn into that debate. “I’ll let everybody else decide that.”
This season, it’s been no contest. For that matter, few receivers nationally have been able to match Green’s production.
He has 25 catches for 428 yards and four touchdowns heading into Saturday’s showdown with LSU at Sanford Stadium. To put those numbers into perspective, he’s almost halfway to his production from a year ago in four games.
And what’s more, he’s done his damage with defenses aligning their coverage to stop him. Single coverage has been a rarity for Green, especially with Mohamed Massaquoi now playing in the NFL.
“I’ve still got some things to work on, but I’m trying to make plays whenever my number is called,” said Green, who’s as humble off the field as he is explosive on the field.
He’s been unstoppable the last two weeks, as Arizona State and Arkansas would surely attest. He’s caught 15 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns.
Not only did he set up the game-winning field goal with a 36-yard catch against Arizona State last week, but he also blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt with 4:31 remaining to keep the Sun Devils from going ahead.
“I’ve seen him do too many crazy things to be surprised at anything he does,” Georgia quarterback Joe Cox marveled.
The 6-4 Green is up to 210 pounds, which is about 20 pounds heavier than he was as a freshman, but he hasn’t lost any of his speed or agility.
“I can feel it in my body when guys try to wrap me up and with the arm tackles around the legs,” Green said. “I’m running through the tackles now and finishing plays.”
He also feels a step faster.
“I don’t know about running faster, but I’m playing faster,” Green said. “It goes back to being more of a student of the game. I’m more comfortable out there.
“Last year, I didn’t know how to read coverages and just ran my route basically against air, but I’m looking now at how the corner’s playing me, finding the open gaps in the zone and stuff like that. I was playing on raw talent a lot last year. Coach (Tony) Ball has helped me to be more fundamentally sound.”
That may be, but Green’s unlimited talent, his ability to go get the football and catch the football no matter who’s around him is what sets him apart.
“He doesn’t wait for the ball to come to him. He goes and makes a play on the ball a lot of times before the defensive back even knows the ball is coming,” LSU safety Chad Jones said. “Most receivers wait for the ball to fall in the bread basket, but not him. He goes and gets it.”
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
2:00 PM ET Washington State Colorado State 3:30 PM ET 20 Fresno State 25 USC 5:30 PM ET Buffalo San Diego State 9:00 PM ET Tulane Louisiana-Lafayette
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State