Most Intimidating Defenders under Richt

Dean Legge takes a look back at the five most intimidating defenders of the Mark Richt era.

1. Alec Ogletree

That Alec Ogletree piledrove a Georgia Tech runner in 2012 was one part of the story about how fierce he was on the field. Often Ogletree would take the wrong angle, but more than make up for it with his explosion at the end of the play. He made numerous big plays in his time at Georgia.

He was a vicious hitter - his rag-dolling of Robert Godhigh just showed that the football field was no place for little boys when Ogletree was on the prowl. He treated Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez no better.

Don’t think Ogletree was a badass? Go watch the 2012 SEC Championship Game against Alabama. His stop and forced fumble (which wasn’t called) of Eddie Lacy in a one-on-one, Oklahoma drill-like situation is all the proof you need to see that Ogletree was a tough and scary defender.

What made Ogletree special was his ability to play the pass. He was also a special teams playmaker. The onside kick recovered in the 2011 SEC Championship against LSU? Alec Ogletree. The blocked field goal returned for a touchdown the next season against Alabama? Alec Ogletree.

2. Odell Thurman?

?Thurman was probably the meanest defender of the Mark Richt era. Thurman made tons of tackles, but he also had a lot of off-the-field problems. That might be the reason I listed him at the top of my list.

I genuinely feel like he scared people on the field. He was a fierce competitor. He was fiery. He fit perfectly Georgia’s defensive mold at the time. The biggest play of his Georgia career was a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown against Auburn in 2003 to put Georgia up 26-0.

That might have been Thurman’s biggest play, but I can assure you that you didn’t want to mess with Odell on the field - and certainly not off of it.

3. Greg Blue

Greg Blue was the guy who hit the opposition so hard that I was seriously concerned about if the other person was hurt. Blue’s 2003 shot against Auburn was a clean and powerful hit that made Sanford Stadium explode with joy.

He did the same thing against recovers from Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and others. Blue played on the hardest-hitting defense of the Mark Richt era, the 2004 Bulldogs. But of all of those hard hitters, Blue was the one you wanted to confront the least. When he hit you - you were hitting the ground… hard.

4. Thomas Davis

Mark Richt was amazed with Thomas Davis’ ability to tackle well before he made it in the NFL.

“He just has a knack for being able to hit guys and keep running through them,” Richt used to say.

That’s the way players are taught to tackle, but Davis had a special way of doing it. The one tackle I remember most was when Davis absolutely leveled an Arkansas running back who was running full speed toward the end zone.

Davis ejected the running back from the four-yard line to the five.

“He got wholloped! Someone made Thomas Davis mad,” the commentators said.

Thomas Davis wholloped a lot of guys.

5. Jarvis Jones

The most likable Bulldog of the last half decade, Jarvis Jones was a total terror for the opposition. Although not quite the pass rusher David Pollack was, Jones was a constant nuisance for the other side. He tortured the Gators like no Georgia player since Herschel Walker.

Jarvis Jones beat Missouri pretty much by himself in 2012. His late-game strips, sacks and interceptions of the Tigers led to Georgia’s blowout win. Poor John Brantley probably still has nightmares about Jones.

What made Jones so scary? Just when you needed a play he was the one to step up and make it happen.


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