Spring 2024 All-Leadership Team 

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Spring 2024 All-Leadership Team 

Warren Brinson

Leadership is a skill. Some folks avoid acquiring it, while others embrace the opportunity to employ leadership skills to pursue team and personal goals. The ten players listed below have shown their ability to lead and will have the chance to guide UGA Football 2024 using the example of past champions.

Brett Thorson (PUNTER)





UGA has been blessed with several punters who became team leaders over the years. Thorson has added his name to that leadership roster. In addition to his excellent punting, he is a consistent sideline asset. His approach is evident in the following quote when asked about the Ray Guy Award awarded annually to the nation’s top punter: “It’s not something I actively go out and look into. The season is five-six months away, definitely not thinking about that or individual accolades. I have to focus on spring ball. We have four more practices, a scrimmage, then G day.”

Carson Beck (QB)

This one is easy. He is the offense’s leader and, in many ways, the face of the team. Kirby Smart said recently: “…he’s not a real emotional guy. He’s not a real fiery guy. He’s very laid back. He understands his job; he’s very intelligent. Every leader has their own way, and he certainly commands a room.”





Tate Ratledge (OL)

Carson Beck nor any other “skill players” will be successful without the offensive line’s protection, and Ratledge is a grizzled veteran of the trench wars. His decision to delay his pro career to finish the drill at UGA explains his mindset: “There was a bad taste in my mouth after last year, and of course, there’s things I want to accomplish by myself and that I want to see this team accomplish, so both of those things are a big part of the reason that I came back.”

Trevor Etienne (RB)

It may seem odd to list an incoming transfer as a team leader, not to mention a transfer who collected traffic charges shortly after arriving in Athens. That incident could be the spark that ignites his quest to redeem himself. He has two years of starting experience in the SEC wars and will be a veteran in Georgia’s reconstituted running back room. Etienne found support from Coach Smart after his run-in with authorities. Smart said, “He is embarrassed, he is upset and knows he has made a mistake. It is a teaching moment, and we think he gets better from it.”

Jared Wilson (CENTER)

If quarterback is the most critical position on any offense, center follows closely. Wilson has the honor (and burden) of following Sedrick Van Pran’s 34 starts and consistent leadership of the offensive line. His experience playing in 21 games as a reserve and in practice behind Van Pran will have him ready for the SEC grind. And he has been described (by many) as having freakish all-around skills.

Smael Mondon, Jr. (LB)

Georgia’s only senior inside linebacker must be included on this list of leaders. After making the Coach’s All-SEC team last season, Mondon is stepping into his own as a leader and signal caller for the defense. Naturally quiet, he has led by example but is not shy about his command responsibilities.

Warren Brinson (DL)

A player who opens the season with 50 games under his belt is a leader. Brinson will bring stability to a defensive line, helping integrate the youngsters as the season progresses. As a fifth-year player, the Dawgs’ horde of underclassmen will look to him (and fellow 5th year Nasir Stackhouse) for guidance, and they will find it in the articulate Brinson.

Chaz Chambliss (LB)

The last time Chambliss appeared for Georgia’s weekly press conference, a recent cut was visible on the bridge of his nose, and it seemed to belong there. Anyone thinking of seriously trying out for mixed martial arts is not going to be shy about sticking his nose into a tackle with extreme prejudice. His motto has to be, lead, follow or get out of my way.

Jalon Walker (LB)

Walker has played in 29 games during his two years at UGA. All of those reps were either on special teams or reserve linebacker, but this coach’s kid has leader written all over him. It may seem premature to consider him a leader going into 2023, but he is a special player whose star will shine brightly next season. He is cross-training at both inside and outside linebacker this spring. Chaz Chambliss noted his progress recently: “…it’s a different mindset between both of them. You know, he does a good job of keeping them separate in his mind; he’s grown and become a middle linebacker. He’s starting to become a leader in that room and also in our room when he comes over and pass rushes. He’s doing a great job with that.”

Malaki Starks (SAFETY) 

Let’s see. In 2023, Starks’ accomplishments included being named All-America by AFCA, AP, CBS, ESPN, FWAA, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and Walter Camp. He is personable, supremely athletic, intelligent, and exudes leadership. ESPN made him the highest-rated defensive back entering 2024. Mr. Starks knows his stuff and has the interpersonal skills to lead the defensive backs and the team.





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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.