There are 7 players that come to mind when I think "All American" caliber: AJ Green, Trinton Sturdivant, Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins, Rod Battle, Bryan Evans, and Rennie Curran, but with this year's team I think there are only 3 players on defense that have a chance. And they are: Jeff Owens, Rennie Curran, and Rod Battle. Next year I think our offense will have some All American possibilities, but this year will be tough with a new QB under center.
- Jeff Owens is the anchor of our defense and he is coming back for his 5th year. I strongly believe he has something to prove and wants to make a statement in the SEC. After hearing about how much stronger he is and how hard he works out, he should be primed to have a great season.
- Rennie Curran is the tackling machine on our team. I think he will have fewer tackles than last year, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had more. He is our play maker on defense and some key plays will put him in the All American talks.
- Rod Battle is going to have some key sacks this year, because Jeff Owens is back. I predict Battle to have 8.5 sacks, which should be among the leaders in the hardest conference in the country. Need I say more!
AJ Green is probably the most deserving, but he may not get the touches required to impress writers on a national level with Joe Cox at quarterback. Trinton Sturdivant will be good this year but he may be another year away from All-American honors. Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens will work too well as a team to bring home an individual accolade and Reshad Jones would be a strong candidate for All-American if not for Eric Berry, Taylor Mays, and Morgan Burnett. Because the linebacker depth in college football doesn't seem as deep as it has been in years past, Rennie Curran has a good chance to climb the ladder and finally get the credit he deserves. Brandon Spikes is a virtual lock but every other linebacker ahead of him is beatable. With a strong defensive line, Rennie will have opportunities for more interceptions, open field tackles, and some sacks from quarterbacks being flushed from the pocket and blitz packages. He also has the potential to average 10 tackles a game, giving him a chance for a huge year. With 130+ total tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles, look for Rennie to explode onto the national scene with a style that mirrors Patrick Willis from a few years ago.
I think there are 4 guys on our team that have legitimate All-American talent - AJ Green, Trinton Sturdivant, Reshad Jones, and Rennie Curran. Unfortunately, I don't think any one of them will be an All-American. With the expectations that Georgia is going to be down, I don't expect them to be able to gain the publicity needed. Here are the reasons I don't think any will reach that status. AJ Green is the most talented individual on our team. Unfortunately for AJ, our offensive strength is going to be the running game, he will be double teamed constantly, and Joe Cox isn't going to throw it around 40 times a game (all limiting his pass catching opportunities). These reasons cost AJ Green his All-American status, despite the fact he will be one of the top 2 receivers in the nation. Trinton Sturdivant is the most talented OL we have. He was poised to have an All-American season last year before his knee injury changed everything. I think Trinton's going to be rock solid and first team SEC, but because he's coming off of the injury he won't garner the spotlight that's necessary. Reshad Jones could be the best safety in the nation, but all he sees is NFL $$ Signs and will only do what it takes to get him there without getting injured - you have to go all out to be an All-American. Rennie Curran is one of my favorite players on the team, and I think the Georgia player who has the best shot at being an All-American. He also is the returning leader in tackles in the SEC - that alone should get him in the discussion. However, (no matter how wrong it is) his lack of size and quiet personality will be the sole reason he won't be selected.
Well, I want to say Rennie Curran here, but I don't think Curran will get his due respect this year, playing second fiddle (in the media's eyes) to Brandon Spikes, Rolando McClain and Eric Norwood just within the SEC. Geno Atkins is another name that comes to mind, but it would take an injury or a disaster of a year to Suh at Nebraska, Cody at Bama and/or McCoy at Oklahoma for Atkins to get into the conversation. Trinton Sturdivant should be mentioned here, but I can't say he's "most likely" coming off that knee injury. Reshad Jones is too inconsistent, and Clint Boling doesn't have enough national recognition. So, short of a newcomer taking the season by storm, that just leaves AJ Green. I read that last season there were many times that Green had no clue what to do on the field. His head was spinning as a true freshman, and then to top it off, he played the second half of the year with an injured groin. Through it all he managed to litter the UGA record book with his name. Sure, he'll see double teams and defenses will game-plan specifically for him this season. But, the best of the best beat double teams and make plays anyway. The offense will prove that there are enough weapons that teams can't focus solely on Green, and when they let up he will make them pay. Gimme Green over Bryant, Jones, Shipley, Benn and Gilliard any day!