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Georgia Football: All-Time Bulldogs Team

Herschel Walker, Georgia Football

When it comes to all-time great Georgia Bulldogs, the list starts with Herschel Walker, whose three-year run of dominance concluded with him winning the Heisman Trophy in 1982.

Earlier this year, Georgia won its third national title. During its 130-year history, the Bulldogs have won 15 conference championships and appeared in 59 bowl games.

Related: 10 Greatest Georgia Football Teams of All Time

If one were to take the best players and coaches from all of those teams (based on their level of success in college and/or the NFL) to put together an all-time lineup, Georgia would have a heck of a squad. So let's do that, but note that I am focusing on an individual's peak success and how he would fare today, i.e., no 180-pound linemen or coaches who could not adjust past the single wing.

Coaches

Every coaching staff generally starts with a head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators. Georgia has three exceptional ones to put in each spot.

Head Coach: Vince Dooley (1964-88)
Dooley turned a fledging Georgia program and won two SEC titles in his first five seasons. In his 25 seasons with the program, Dooley won a national championship and suffered only one losing season.

Offensive Coordinator: Mark Richt (2001-15)
Prior to taking over for the Bulldogs, Richt was the offensive coordinator at Florida State, where the Seminoles were in the top five in scoring offense in five of his seven seasons. In his 15 years in Athens, Georgia went to a bowl game and averaged more than nine wins a season.

Defensive Coordinator: Kirby Smart (2016-present)
After winning four national titles as a defensive coordinator at Alabama, Smart became the head coach at Georgia in 2016. Last season, he won a national title on the strength of one of the greatest defenses in college football history.

Offense

The Bulldogs' strength will begin in the backfield where they have two Pro Football Hall of Famers and a Heisman Trophy winner.

QB: Fran Tarkenton (1957-60)
Tarkenton ended his Pro Football Hall of Fame career as the NFL’s all-time leading in passing yards as well as rushing yards for a quarterback. While at Georgia, he led the Bulldogs to an SEC title and earned all-conference honors twice.

RB: Herschel Walker (1980-82)
Georgia has had two Heisman Trophy-winning running backs in Walker and Frank Sinkwich, but Walker was the most dominant back in the SEC in all three of his seasons in Athens. If he had not left for the USFL after his junior year, he would likely be college football’s all-time leading rusher.

RB: Terrell Davis (1991-94)
After transferring from Long Beach State, Davis struggled with injuries while at Georgia, but went on to power the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl wins on his way to being enshrined in Canton.

WR: Hines Ward (1994-97)
Ward earned All-SEC honors twice while playing both wide receiver and running back at Georgia. He played receiver full time for the Pittsburgh Steelers and finished his career with 1,000 receptions.

WR: Terrence Edwards (1999-2002)
Edwards is the Bulldogs' all-time leader in catches, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions.

WR: A.J. Green (2008-10)
Had Green stayed for his senior year and remained healthy, he would likely be Georgia’s all-time receiving leader. Instead, he left for the NFL after his junior season and has made seven Pro Bowls.

TE: Richard Appleby (1971-75)
One of the first five Black players to integrate the Georgia football program, Appleby caught 48 passes and averaged 18.8 yards per reception in a time when the tight end was a not a primary target.

T: Matt Stinchcomb (1995-98)
Stinchcomb earned All-American honors in 1997 and was a consensus All-American in '98. Injuries cut short his NFL career, but he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

G: Royce Smith (1967-71)
A three-year starter in Athens, Smith earned the Jacobs Award as the SEC’s best blocker and was a consensus All-American in 1971.

C: Ben Jones (2008-11)
Jones started 49 games for the Bulldogs and was named to Georgia’s Team of the Decade. He has played 10 seasons for the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans.

G: Max Jean-Gilles (2002-05)
A key starter for the 2005 SEC championship team, Jean-Gilles was a consensus first-team All-American and played five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

T: Andrew Thomas (2017-19)
Thomas was a Freshman All-American, a first-team All-American his sophomore year, and a unanimous one his junior season. He passed on his senior year and was selected by the New York Giants with the fourth overall pick, where he is the starting left tackle.

Defense

The 2021 squad included an Outland Trophy winner in Jordan Davis and Butkus Award recipient in Nakobe Dean. However, their success in the NFL will determine if they make the Bulldogs' all-time best defense.

DE: David Pollack (2001-04)
Pollack and Herschel Walker are the only two Bulldogs to earn first-team All-American honors three times and his 36 sacks are a Georgia record. A neck injury in the second game of his second season cut his NFL career short.

DT: Richard Seymour (1997-2000)
A first-team All-American for the Bulldogs, Seymour went on to have a Hall of Fame career and win three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.

DT: Bill Stanfill (1965-68)
Stanfill won two SEC titles and was awarded the Outland Trophy before being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the 1969 NFL Draft. There, he won two Super Bowls before retiring as the Dolphins' “unofficial” career sacks leader (Sacks were not an official statistic until 1982).

DT: Geno Atkins (2006-09)
After a very good career at Georgia where he earned All-SEC honors twice, Atkins was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth round. He flourished in the NFL, making eight Pro Bowls and recording 75.5 sacks.

DE: Freddie Gilbert (1980-83)
Gilbert won a national championship and recorded 26 sacks during his career in Athens. His five sacks against Temple in 1983 are a school record. He went on to play in the USFL and for the Denver Broncos.

LB: Ben Zambiasi (1974-77)
Georgia’s all-time leader in tackles with 467 earned All-American honors in 1976. He went on to be an All-Star eight times in the CFL where he was also named rookie of the year and defensive player of the year.

LB: Boss Bailey (1998-2002)
Champ Bailey’s little brother had six sacks and 114 tackles and blocked three kicks in 2002 when he was also named a first-team All-American. He went on to start 51 games in the NFL.

LB: Roquan Smith (2015-17)
The first Bulldog to win the Butkus award, Smith won recorded 14 tackles for a loss in 2017 as Georgia made the national title game. He has since earned second-team All-Pro honors twice with the Chicago Bears.

LB: Jarvis Jones (2010-12)
Jones transferred from USC and had to sit out the 2010 season per NCAA rules at the time. In his two seasons in Athens, Jones earned first-team All-American honors both seasons and recorded 28 sacks.

DB: Terry Hoage (1980-83)
Hoage blocked a field goal against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to help Georgia secure the 1980 national championship and his 12 interceptions are an SEC record. After earning consensus All-American honors twice, he played 13 seasons in the NFL before being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

DB: Jake Scott (1966-68)
The Super Bowl VII MVP led the SEC in interceptions in 1967 and '68 and is Georgia’s all-time leader in picks with 16. Had he not left after his junior season to play for the CFL’s BC Lions before being drafted by the Miami Dolphins, he may be the SEC’s career leader.

DB: Deandre Baker (2015-18)
Baker only gave up one touchdown in his four seasons with the Bulldogs. In 2018, he allowed only 175 passing yards on his way to winning the Jim Thorpe Award.

DB: Champ Bailey (1996-98)
A first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer, Bailey was a threat on defense, offense, and special teams during his time in Athens. In three seasons on the defensive side of the ball, he recorded 147 total tackles, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, eight interceptions, and 27 passes defended.

Special Teams

K: Kevin Butler (1981-84)
The first kicker to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Butler is Georgia’s all-time scoring leader with 353 points. He played 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals and frequently made the All-Madden team for his toughness during kickoffs.

P: Drew Butler (2007-11)
The son of Kevin Butler won the Ray Guy Award in 2009 and was a two-time first-team All-American. In five seasons in the NFL, he averaged 42.8 yards a punt.

KR: Brandon Boykin (2008-11)
Boykin’s four kick returns for a touchdown are tied for an SEC record and he was named the recipient of the Paul Hornung Award as college football’s most versatile player in 2011. His NFL career was played primarily on defense.

PR: Isaiah McKenzie (2014-16)
McKenzie took five punts to the house, a Georgia record, and averaged 11.7 yards per return.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.