Kevin Butler, former Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2019 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. And this season Butler has added a new category to his superlative awards, “The Kicker” (Unsung Contributor to the Game). Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 63-17 win over Murray State Saturday.
Redshirt freshman tailback Zamir White, who led the Bulldogs in rushing with 72 yards on eight carries, a 9.0 average, including a 29-yard run and a 6-yard run for his first touchdown as a Bulldog.
“Our third year freshman has finally arrived after a long, hard battle rehabbing from two knee surgeries,” said Butler. “The Bulldog Nation could not be happier for another Bulldog than how they feel for Zamir. The top-rated running back coming out of high school in 2017, Zamir’s biggest challenge has been the adversity he has been battling with two knee injuries over the last two years. Saturday’s stats were a thing of beauty. Zamir led the team with 8 carries for 72 yards and a long run of 29 yards. What a personal victory for Zamir and what a thrill for the Bulldog Nation! In a backfield that had runs of 29, 40, 26, 13 and 15, Zamir is the newest (but not) in a long line of great running backs. Congrats Zamir, job well done!”
Junior nickel defensive back Mark Webb, who led the Bulldogs in tackles with six, including a tackle-for-loss, and also forced a Racer fumble that senior safety J.R. Reed scooped up and sped 14 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.
“One of the best athletes on the team, Webb’s transition from wide receiver to defensive back has been a blessing for Coach (Dan) Lanning,” said Butler. “Mark’s play Saturday, though limited, was as physically good as it gets. Six solo tackles, one tackle for a loss of 6 yards, and a forced fumble, which turned into a TD for J.R. Reed. Mark is a great leader by example and there might not be a less selfish player on the team than Mark. The Dawgs will need Mark’s physical play and leadership to maintain the level of play expected from Coach Smart. Mark, thanks for your Bulldog dedication!”
Senior punt returner Tyler Simmons, who returned three punts Saturday for a total of 65 yards, including one return of 42 yards.
“This will be the guy that flips a tight game with his ability to return punts north and south,” said Butler. “Tyler gets it as a punt returner. He makes sure he catches the ball first and foremost, then he gets up the field very quickly. Tyler’s leadership as a senior is invaluable but his ability to create at least one first down is a hidden jewel. It will be exciting to see him take it all the way because it will happen and the timing will be perfect!”
The Georgia fans, former players and the current Bulldogs all coming together to make the naming of the field for Vince Dooley a very special day.
“The first win on Dooley Field was a very productive win for the entire Bulldog program,” said Butler. “The atmosphere at Sanford Stadium was electric with the anticipation of Coach Dooley and 25 team captains being on the field. And Coach Smart and the team certainly wanted to play to their level of excellence that Coach Dooley demanded from all his players. When you get a chance to play for your school and the history that represents your alumni, well, you play like the Dawgs did … with passion! Thanks Coach Dooley for all you do!!!”