Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Countdown to the Countdown: #24 (Billy Bennett)

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.

24. Billy Bennett, PK (2000-2003)

  • Holds top 2 seasons all-time in UGA history for points scored: 2003 (131 points), and 2002 (130 points.) 2003 season was an SEC record for points scored at the time.
  • Holds UGA record for most points scored in career (409.) Still an SEC record for career points, and 2nd all-time in NCAA.
  • Holds top 2 seasons all-time in UGA history for most FGs made in a season: 2003 (31), and 2002 (26.) 2003 season is an SEC and NCAA record.
  • 87 FGs made in career, which was an NCAA and SEC record at the time. Also holds NCAA and SEC record for most FGs attempted in career (110.)
  • 13 of 14 on FGs as a freshman in 2000, highest percentage of FGs made in a season in UGA history.
  • NCAA record holder for most FGs attempted in season: 2003 (38.)
  • NCAA record holder for most FGs made over a 2 season span: 2002-2003 (57.)
  • NCAA record holder for most games in career kicking at least one FG (43.) Also tied for NCAA record with former UGA kicker Kevin Butler for most games in career kicking 2 FGs (27.)
  • 6 for 6 on FGs in 2001 vs Georgia Tech, most FGs made in one game in UGA history.

Some might have an issue picking a kicker (or perhaps even 2 kickers) in any list of "Top 25" football players. But if any kicker deserves to make the list, it would be this one, and the list of statistics and records above clearly demonstrate that. After walking on at UGA in 2000 and taking over the starting PK job early in the season (and being named All-SEC by the end of his first season), Bennett frankly became an offensive weapon for Mark Richt. His most memorable kick was probably one of his shorter ones, the game-winner at Alabama in 2002. But for being one of the smaller players ever in Athens, he had a big leg, making a few from over 50 yards during his career.

After tryouts for the NFL after his UGA days were over, Bennett appeared in the 2006 motion picture "We Are Marshall", and is now producing albums for Athens area musicians.


BayouDawg said...

It is quite possible that if it were not for BB, then Richt may not still be around. That kid won a bunch of games for us in many many many different ways.

Bop said...

Well deserved for a kid that like Bayou said, won a lotta games for Georgia.

Maybe the only time in my life that I won't even worry about a kicker hitting a game winner. There was no doubt that Billy would stick that kick @ Bama.

Scott said...

Only guy other than Kevin Butler who has ever made me momentarily reconsider my general philosophy of "I hate kickers."

Mike said...

I got to know Billy years ago when he made an album for me in the office of his dad's plumbing business off of Nantahala St. There is no way "I hate kickers" could ever apply to him. Great kicker, great musician/producer, great guy. Something tells me I will have little disagreement with the players on this countdown...

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