Steady Ogletrees Clean Up the Compliments

MEMPHIS – It had been awhile since Alec Ogletree and Zander Ogletree roomed together.

This led to only a few minor problems.

"Sometimes I have to pick up after him," Zander said of the semester the two brothers, and teammates on the Georgia football team, who had separate rooms before moving to Athens this year. "But that's part of it."

Things were a little less messy on the football field for the twin brothers. After a rough start for one of them, each became a factor for Georgia, and both seem poised to take on larger roles as sophomores.

One plays safety, where he has the ability to be an impact player for the foreseeable future. The other is more of a gritty, do-everything guy, on special teams and at fullback.

Their coach speaks well of both of them.

"Oh, they're football players," head coach Mark Richt said. "They're gonna help us a lot. They're what we thought we were. They're great guys, great kids that are tough, hard-nosed football players, they're gonna definitely help us."

The Bulldogs knew the Ogletree brothers – who are fraternal twins – would help them. In a true freshman class that wasn't rated as highly as previous ones, it's a good thing for Georgia that the pair have so far lived up to the promise.

Alec, the safety, has the ideal build for a hard-hitting, star safety: He's 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds, and athletic enough that he ran sprints and did the long jump for the track team at Newnan High School.

But his Georgia career got off to a rough start. He was suspended for the season opener following an arrest for theft-by-taking; Ogletree was found in possession of a stolen scooter helmet. (The matter has since been resolved.)

That slowed Alec's impact, but he came off the bench the next eight games, as Georgia rotated two other safeties – Jakar Hamilton and Shawn Williams – beside starter Bacarri Rambo.

Finally, before the Idaho State game, coaches told Alec he was starting at strong safety, and he never lost his starting spot. He recorded ten tackles, including seven solo, at Auburn and had six tackles against Georgia Tech. Last week the coaches named him to their SEC all-freshman team.

Alec admitted that early in the season he was a bit tentative, a not surprising fact for someone who is rather soft-spoken and isn't yet a boisterous presence in the locker room.

"Even with stuff that happened off the field, and on the field too, basically I just wake up and smile really," Alec said. "Because not a lot of people get this opportunity."

Zander's opportunity came sooner. Shorter and heavier than his brother – Zander is listed at 5-10, 207 – he played on almost every special teams unit. But he also squired his way to third on the depth chart at fullback. That sets him up to compete for a starting role next year, since Shaun Chapas and Fred Munzenmaier are both seniors. Chapas will miss the Liberty Bowl with an ankle injury.

"It's a big role to play," Zander said. "You've got two senior fullbacks leaving. You've got a sophomore coming up that's stepping into that position. It's a big role to take, and hopefully I can take that role."

His brother echoed that though about the safety position, but in his typical understated way.

"I'm trying with each practice and with this bowl game, trying to get my name out there just a little bit more, and impress the coaches as well too," Alec said.

Zander has even higher hopes.

"We just keep grinding, keep working hard, and hopefully we'll be somewhere in the league some day," he said.

By "the league" he meant the NFL. First comes being impact players in the SEC, and the twins seem on the verge of doing that.

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