Saturday, July 11, 2009

Countdown to UGA-OSU: 56 Days (#56 Geno Atkins)

#56 Geno Atkins, DT
6-1, 290, Pembroke Pines FL (St. Thomas Aquinas HS), Sr.

As good as he has been as a collegiate player, Atkins was not a blue-chip prospect out of high school. He still made an immediate impact at UGA in 2006, playing in 11 games and being named the team's Defensive Newcomer of the Year. During the Dawgs' magical 2007 season, Atkins was fantastic. He started 7 games, and recorded a team-high 14.5 tackles for loss. 3 sacks vs Georgia Tech marked his banner game, and he was named 1st team All-SEC as a sophomore. After being named to the preseason Outland and Lombardi Award watch lists, many thought that his junior campaign was a disappointment. However, when you look at the numbers and consider the Jeff Owens injury (which really hurt Atkins' effectiveness), it wasn't that bad at all. His 32 quarterback hurries in 2008 are simply ridiculous numbers considering the number of double teams he saw throughout the season. Besides being one of the Dawgs' best players, he's also a fine student.

Depth Chart Analysis: Atkins and Jeff Owens will make up one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the entire country this season. He's an unstoppable force at times, even more so when he's got a stud tackle lined up beside him. It will be interesting to see if the UGA coaches move Atkins (and Owens for that matter) to end for some plays this season in order to generate some outside pressure. Expect Atkins to have a big year as he prepares himself for a early round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Other famous #56s in UGA history: C Joe Tereshinski, WR Harry Babcock (1st overall selection in the 1953 NFL Draft), C Joe Happe

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