Samford Bulldogs to Watch

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Samford Bulldogs to Watch

Arguably maybe the best passing quarterback Georgia will face this season, this 6-1, 205-pound junior threw for 4,088 yards and 36 touchdowns last season while finishing second nationally in the FCS in completion percentage, completing an eye-catching 70.8 percent of his passes. Named the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2016, Hodges will surely be testing the UGA secondary Saturday night with his pinpoint accuracy. In Samford’s 28-23 opening win over Kennesaw State, Hodges passed for 241 yards and four touchdowns for Chris Hatcher’s Bulldogs.
Salmon, a 6-2, 232-pound senior linebacker, could be plenty of trouble for the Georgia offense Saturday night as he has a distinct nose for the football. Salmon was the second-leading tackler for the Bulldogs last season with 93, including 13 tackles-for-loss. In the opening game against Kennesaw State, the first-team All-SoCon selection recorded a whopping 16 total tackles, including 12 solo stops and three-for-loss. Enough said!
This guy is Hodges’ favorite target this season. Small (5-9, 188) but very quick with a penchant of getting open, McKnight was the Bulldogs’ second-leading receiver last season with 70 catches for 896 yards and 9 touchdowns, when he was a second-team all-conference selection. Against Kennesaw State in the opening win, McKnight had five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Again, the UGA secondary will have to be on full alert against the Hodges-McKnight passing combo.
Georgia’s offensive front had best be motivated to keep this guy off quarterback Jake Fromm. In 2016, Gooden recorded 70 tackles, which included 8 sacks. In the opening win over Kennesaw State, the 6-1, 240-pound Gooden chalked up 10 total tackles. A first-team All-SoCon choice last year, Gooden can cause damage coming off the edge.


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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.