Kevin Butler, former University of Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2017 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 41-0 rout of Tennessee.
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Senior tailback Nick Chubb, back on the Neyland Stadium field where he suffered a torn knee injury two years ago, ignited the Bulldogs’ offense by rushing for 109 yards on 16 carries … nearly double of what the entire Tennessee offense could run for against the Georgia defense.
“The senior tailback returned to the scene of the crime of his untimely injury and left taking great revenge on the lowly Volunteers of Tennessee,” said Butler. “His determination as a senior leader of this team is the stuff championships are made. It’s refreshing to have watched Nick develop over the years at UGA and his legacy will be him being one of the greats at Georgia. But Nick has bigger plans for what he wants to leave at Georgia … a championship! His 109 yards on 16 carries for an average of 6.9 is as good as you get in the NCAA and I encourage everyone to enjoy the ride.”
Junior defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter, who again helped spark a Georgia defense that not only held the Tennessee offense scoreless but also limited the Volunteers to just seven first downs and 142 yards of total offense.
“The junior defensive end had an excellent game against the Vols, who have to run the ball to be successful, and Jonathan did not want to play along,” said Butler. “His continuous effort limited the Vols’ ability to move the ball. The Tucker High school all-star is developing into one of the SEC’s elite defensive ends. Ledbetter had 3 solo tackles and 1 tackle for a 5-yard loss and his hustle all over the field is the new personality of the new ‘Junkyard Dawgs.'”
Sophomore punt returner Mecole Hardman, who continually provided the Georgia offense with good field position by returning four kicks for a total of 45 yards with a long return of 28 yards.
“This is the first game I can recall where a punt returner, Mecole Hardman, changed the entire punt philosophy of a team as he had 4 returns for 45 yards,” said Butler. “Tennessee’s Trevor Daniel was considered one of the best punters in the SEC and that could not have been further from the truth. Mecole made him change his style and eliminated his capability to be a weapon for the Vols, and Mecole turned him into a liability when he had a punt blocked trying not to punt to Mecole. Hardman is a weapon and will be for years to come.”
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