Thursday, May 14, 2009

Countdown to the Countdown: #15 (D.J. Shockley)

Friday, May 29th marks 99 days until Georgia and Oklahoma State kick off their 2009 seasons in Stillwater. Leading up that date, we are counting down the Top 25 UGA football players of the past 25 seasons.

15. D.J. Shockley (2002-2005)
  • 8th most career passing yardage in UGA history: 3,555 (despite only starting during one season)
  • Highest career passing efficiency ratio in UGA history: 142.86
  • 3rd best career average gain per play in UGA history: 7.03 (trailing only Charlie Trippi and Mike Bobo)
  • 6 touchdowns in a single game vs Boise State in 2005 - 5 passing, 1 rushing (UGA record)
  • Most touchdowns in a single season in UGA history: 2005 (28)
  • All-SEC: 2005 (AP 1st team, Coaches 2nd team)
  • MVP of the 2005 SEC Championship Game

Numbers and statistics don't get D.J. this high on my list. What got him here is his heart, determination and leadership, willing the Dawgs to only its 2nd SEC title in the previous 23 years, with a story that seems like you'd only see in the movies. The highly touted in-state recruit chooses his home state school, even during a coaching transition, and with quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding the program. He chooses to sit and wait his turn behind one of the best QBs ever to play at UGA, for one single shot at the starting job in his senior season. All he does then is lead the program to an 8-0 start, before an injury sidelines him for the biggest game of the season (the 1st loss of the year), and costs the Dawgs another loss in the following game.....only to return and lead the team to a convincing SEC title over a Top 5 team in LSU. (I don't doubt that without the injury hiccup, the Dawgs would have pounded Florida and probably carried that over into a win against Auburn. The WVU loss in the Sugar Bowl was certainly not on D.J.) After all that, he's drafted by the hometown pro team. Through everything, he is a model citizen and one of the greatest representatives of the University of Georgia that has ever lived. It pains me not to have him higher on this list.


RB Dawg said...

I was always in the camp that argued David Greene should get all the snaps during those years with DJ on the bench. But, DJ was a badass - too bad he and Greene were there at the same time. Shockley is a class act - we were very lucky to have him at UGA.

JJ said...

No doubt - the right decision was made during those years. I think Bop said it best, DJ was the kind of quarterback that maximized your offense. UGA would have blown people out at the rate all the fans were clamoring for back when we were used to just squeaking by against lesser opponents. But Greene managed the game better and was at least DJ's equal in leadership and winning mentality.

One thing is certain, minus the Herschel years, never in UGA history has one player carried the entire team (and program) like DJ did in 2005.

Otto said...

Well, I'm going in the opposite direction(I'm sure i'll catch some grief). I love Greene but I think UGA has a NC this decade if DJ started throughout his career. We might have one if he wasn't injured against UF in 05. IMO the only positve that Greene had was poise....but DJ made up for that with his legs. I think a window was missed while DJ held a clipboard.

JJ said...

I can't argue with that at all, Otto.

Bop said...

Wow otto, I can't agree more. IMO, Shockley is the best quarterback in program history.

Great post JJ. I'm really enjoying reading these.