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’ season-opening 31-10 win over Appalachian State.
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Senior tailback Nick Chubb, who rushed for a game- high 96 yards on 15 carries including touchdown runs of 1 and 8 yards while showing some of the moves he displayed in his banner freshman season in 2014 prior to his knee injury in 2015.
“Nick returned for his senior year for one more reason, to win a championship,” said Butler. “Fifteen carries for just under 100 yards in his senior debut refreshed my memory on how good Nick really is. Nick is a leader on the field as well as off the field. His performance will elevate the play of everyone else on offense. As this offense develops Nick is the heart and soul of the University of Georgia’s offense. We are in good hands with Nick Chubb”
Junior tackle Trenton Thompson, whose six total tackles shared team-high honors with linebacker Roquan Smith. Thompson recorded one sack and two tackles-for-loss while helping lead a Bulldog defense that shut out the Mountaineers until Appalachian State scored 10 late points against Georgia reserves.
“In order to get the season off to a positive start, our defensive front needed to make a statement and Trenton led the way making that statement with six tackles,” said Butler. “Coming out of high school ranked as the top defensive tackle, Trenton proved his worth Saturday against Appalachian State. Trenton is a leader and a dominant defensive player in the SEC. We need him to motivate the other players in order to compete with a bigger, stronger offensive line we will face in the Fighting Irish. Trenton has all the ability to be a top defensive lineman in the SEC and in order for Georgia to reach its goal, Trenton must help lead the way on defense.”
Graduate transfer punter Cameron Nizialek, who in his first game as a Georgia Bulldog, boomed five punts for a 43.8 average, including a 53-yard kick that flipped the field for the Georgia defense. Nizialek also twice punted the Mountaineer offense dead inside their own 20-yard line.
“The graduate transfer punter from Columbia University was the brightest spot in what was the best overall special teams play in many years,” said Butler. “Cameron averaged 43.8 yards per punt and more importantly and impressively, netted 43.8. In order for that to happen, Cameron punted great and we had excellent coverage from our punt coverage team. Consistency gives Georgia an opportunity to control field position, which has not been an option for many seasons. The addition of Cameron certainly paid off against Appalachian State. Punters are judged on their next punt and Cameron welcomes that opportunity.”
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