Posted: 9:12 pm Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

UGA’s Dream Team has mostly lived up to the hype 

By Mark Bradley

Image

Isaiah Crowell didn’t last long in Athens, but he was pretty doggone good. (AP photo)

We all do it. I’ve done it at least twice the past couple days. I’ve noted that Johnny Manziel, who would become the best collegiate football player in the country, was a middling three-star signee. “That just proves those stars don’t mean a thing,” we say, harrumphing.

Know what, though? Sometimes those stars do mean a little something. Not in every case, and maybe not in most cases. But in the case of Georgia’s famed Dream Team, most of the big names have come good. (Though not all of them for Georgia.)

Of the 26 players who constituted Georgia’s signing class of 2011, eight are no longer Bulldogs. Four-star nose tackle Johnathan Jenkins, a JUCO transfer, started two seasons in Athens and was drafted in Round 3 by New Orleans. Tailback Isaiah Crowell was the SEC’s rookie of the year before being booted from the squad in the summer of 2012. He’d been a five-star recruit, one of two — at least according to Rivals — among Dream Teamers. Four-star cornerback Nick Marshall was kicked off Georgia’s team in February 2012 but, as a quarterback, just led Auburn to the BCS title game.

So those three guys could play. Of the 11 other four- and five-star Dream Teamers, all but one became starters or are projected to start in 2014. They are: Receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley; tight end Jay Rome; defensive linemen Ray Drew (the other five-star guy), Sterling Bailey and Chris Mayes; linebackers Armarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson; defensive backs Damian Swann and Corey Moore.

The exception is four-star quarterback Christian LeMay, who announced in January that he was transferring to Jacksonville State. At Georgia, he was blocked first by incumbent Aaron Murray and then by Hutson Mason, who was a year ahead of LeMay. But you’d have to say that one non-starter out of 14 — although Marshall has done his starting for Auburn — means that somebody did some pretty savvy evaluating.

We should also note that receiver Chris Conley and offensive lineman David Andrews, three-star Dream Teamers, have become starters, too. So that makes 15 of the 26 members of the Class of 2011 who’ve been good enough to start for an SEC team.

No, the Dream Team hasn’t yet lifted Georgia to a national championship or even an SEC title. But that class was assembled in the wake of the 6-7 season of 2010 that culminated in the Liberty Bowl loss to Central Florida, and just its ballyhooed compilation served to re-ignite both a fan base and a program.

The 2011 Bulldogs finished 10-4 and played for the SEC championship. The 2012 team went 12-2 and nearly won the SEC championship. The 2013 team entered the season ranked No. 6 nationally and was, after a testing August/September, positioned to win the East yet again. But a slew of guys got hurt and nearly everything fell apart, and the Bulldogs wound up 8-5.

Still, you’d have to admit that the program is in a better place three years after the Dream Team pledged itself to UGA than in January 2011. And most of the Dream Teamers have eligibility remaining. The famous Class of 2011 still has time to embellish its legacy.

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35 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

When you suit up in the spring or fall practice and you don't expect to win or play for a championship......you shouldn't be there. It doesn't matter if you're good, or not, never hope to win...expect to win. It's an attitude that will carry you far.


Ala. LSU, A&M, S.C. etc. always expect to win. Georgia should be no different.


"The Dream Team" was a clever title assigned to a recruiting class to entice recruits to sign with Ga. It sounded good to be a part of "A Dream Team" and it helped with recruiting.

SinceVince
SinceVince

Lets be real..bottom line "Dream Team" was bust.  No Sec Championships ...No National Championships and a loss to Vandy.

POAD2013
POAD2013

NO they have not lived up to the HYPE on the field for UGa but some have made to the NFL.

DawgNole
DawgNole

PaulinNH at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 27, 2013 

"The problem trying to reason with an insane person (Thomas Brown) is they don't realize they are crazy"

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Yes. Just ask Nebraska. That Dream Team is tuff stuff! And The Denver Broncos hailed offense "mostly lived up to its hype" in The Super Bowl too.

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

I hope that Drew and Rome, especially, will have big years in 2014. They weren't so much blocked as slow developing. It'd be great for them to really make a positive splash next season.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

DawgNole September 5th, 2012  5:22 pm


“I’m on a Tech blog because I follow Tech and pull for the Jackets in all games except those with UGA and FSU.”


DawgNole January 4th, 2013 6:13 pm


"Half of me pulled for the Dawgs, half for the Noles–depending on the game situation. Mixed feelings, torn, and still don’t know who I’d pull for if they play again."


DawgNole at 8:00 p.m. Dec. 6, 2013


“True that, TB--then and now.”


DawgNole at 4:48 p.m. Nov. 26, 2013


“I pulled for both teams in the '03 Sugar Bowl.”


DawgNole January 5th, 2013 10:38 pm


_________________________________________________

“You’re the only one who appears to have an issue with that.”

_________________________________________________


DawgNole September 3rd, 2012 6:33 pm


“I pull for both teams pretty much equally–and intensely"


DawgNole October 16th, 2012 10:38 pm


“I said if UGA didn’t beat Missouri it likely would be another year of beating the pansies and losing to the others. Halfway through the season, we’ve beaten the pansies and lost to one of the two others.”


Posted by DawgNole at 10:36 p.m. Nov. 16, 2013


"It's well established that the Dawgs' schedules in '11 and '12 were not what they could've been in terms on strength."


Swamp Thing September 3rd, 2012 4:54 pm


“DawgNole (which end is the Dawg and which end is the Nole?)”

THEBuckeye
THEBuckeye

"No, the Dream Team hasn’t yet lifted Georgia to a national championship or even an SEC title."


-bradley


========


Then how the hell can you say they've "mostly" lived up to the hype?

THEBuckeye
THEBuckeye

Are you nuts?


Championships? Championships?

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

i do agree and approve of marks article and also worth mentioning is our dream team staff we have now to.  with the addition of pruitt who chose us over fsu and brought his championship rings here we should be set up to take back control over this confrence.

StillBill
StillBill

"The Dream Team"-  What a concept!  Try to sign the best players.  Why didn't somebody think of that before? Mark Richt must be a genius.

ThulsaDoom
ThulsaDoom

Sorry mark but we bama fans measure success in terms of championships. And in that regard the dream team falls woefully short.

waltbellamy
waltbellamy

MB has a pretty low standard for a "Dream Team".  60% of the bunch became college starters.  Who -hoo!  The most notable performer of the lot lead Auburn to a BCS finals berth.  But, but, but, we were only 5 yards from the title.  Enjoy the 34th consecutive preseason national championship.  Then the real football will begin.

GTBob
GTBob

UGA's 2011 "Dream Team" has been a success because a good number of the people ended up starting? Wow, talk about lowered expectations.

patriotdog
patriotdog

LeMay is now at Jax State. With the read option that Bobo finally started to use three games before

Murray's career was over, I look for Faton Bauta to get a legitimate chance. One of the receivers, during bowl practice, said Bauta could really throw the ball well and he's a load when he runs the ball.

Might be interesting watching the battle between him and Ramsey to back up Hutson Mason.....and

can't you just hear Munson trying to pronounce 'Faton Bauta'. With apologies to Scott Howard, man I

miss Munson.

Princess_Leia
Princess_Leia

And they'll continue to lose games they shouldn't lose because of the clowns on the coaching staff, headed by Mark Rickety.

n52930
n52930

Great article!  Really puts things into perspective, perception is not always reality.  Go Dawgs!  One more point, if I may, I'm proud UGA does not put Championships above honoring commitments to players.  No oversigning by the Dawgs!

TheRealJay
TheRealJay

The LeMay kid is puzzling. He seemed to have so much natural athleticism coming out of high school. You'd think he would have found his way on the field more.

GatorHator
GatorHator

We need to emplace a high level of scrutiny on whether Mason truly is the best option as our starter. He really needs a great spring. Not so certain about the QB position at this time. Lemay and Ramsey need to be thoroughly examined as an alternative.

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

Christian Lemay doesn't have an excuse.  Not a valid one anyway.  Sure he was playing behind two upper classmen, but let's not forget he was also passed on the depth chart by a walk-on.


Not everyone will pan out.

SinceVince
SinceVince

Also our S & C program lacks big time.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

Yes, it is a very good class that bodes well for our 85-man roster.  The defections are replaced.  I like 2014 class better.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@ThomasBrown  

stendec at 6:12 a.m. Oct. 27, 2013
Hey Thomas Brownie . . .
Your ignorance is crystal clear.
As a Dawg football fan of over six decades you offend me.
TERRIBLY!

PigIron
PigIron

@MoistDawg


Georgia will first need to take back control of the Eastern Division before they set their sights on controlling the SEC.


That said, I agree that 2011 and 2012 were two of the best seasons that I've seen for the Dawgs in a long, long time.

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

Holy cow Mr Bradley, you really need to request that the AJC invest in "spellcheck". If I didn't know better I would think this was Isaiah Crowell posting.

Eight guys daydreaming somewhere else, that's how you use 140 or so guys to put together a 85 man roster. 

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

@MoistDawg  Sorry, lifelong UGA fan here, but the program has had "control over this conference," just once in my 51 years and it took Herschel Walker to accomplish it. Contention is all anyone can ask. Though I'm confident Richt will win at least one national championship before he's through.

TheOldGuy
TheOldGuy

@GTBob Well Bob, My expectation for Tech this year is a 7 win season with wins over the easy teams, and with a loss to Georgia and a loss in whatever second tier bowl west of the Mississippi River is forced to take you by the ACC. Tech's expectations can hardly get much lower.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@n52930 Put an end to the "gray area" of recruiting and you will stop most, if not all over signing. If a university operated in the "gray area" of NCAA rules, it's not illegal, and they all do it. At the same time, stop "commitment jumpers" and stop early commitments by high school players. Leave the kids alone until they are seniors. A University has to play the same game that the kids play. These kids today commit, then de-commit, they play 2 years then leave. Where's their honor, integrity, and loyalty. NO! I don't fault universities for over signing for those reasons. You have to admire integrity and loyalty and loathe stupidity. Georgia fits all. Does the system need to be fixed....Yes! Until it is fixed play the game.

patriotdog
patriotdog

LeMay is gone. Transferred to Jax State in Alabama along with Shaquille Fluker

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

are you forgetting 2005? are you forgetting how we were 5 yards from a national title? are you forgetting about our top 5 ranking last season?

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