What have the redshirts been up to?

ATHENS – Everybody has a favorite, but there's no Knowshon Moreno in the redshirting class of 2007, the kind of player who is on the tip of everyone's tongue

Still, there are plenty of accolades for the 14 freshmen who sat out this year while waiting their turn to play for Georgia.

This class of redshirts hasn't received the attention that last year's did, when Moreno drew a breathless mention every other day and the speed of the newcomers on defense was eagerly awaited. Head coach Mark Richt isn't making any promises that this year's group will have the impact that one did.

"I think they could," he said. "We'll see what they do."

In an informal poll of the Bulldogs veterans, defensive end Neland Ball, safety John Knox and wide receiver Walter Hill received the most nominations for Most Likely to Make an Impact.

"Neland Ball is big," senior running back Thomas Brown said

Much bigger, in fact, than when he arrived. The 6-foot-6 Ball has gained 22 pounds, moving from 212 to 240.

"I felt like I was way too small to compete in the SEC at the size I was at so I just wanted to come in and work hard," Ball said. "I learned a lot on scout team just going against the first team. I would tell the first-team guys, don't take it light on me, push me hard so I can work."

Ball, product of Jackson High School, hopes to weigh between 255 and 260 pounds by the time next fall rolls around.

Knox, a Macon Telegraph top 50 selection from Statesboro High School, has impressed his defensive backfield mates with his physical nature.

"John Knox is a hitter," cornerback Bryan Evans said.

Evans also has been impressed with Hill when he lines up against Hill in practice. Hill originally committed to the Bulldogs' basketball team before swapping allegiances and signing with the football team.

"He doesn't talk too much," Evans said. "People think he's slow, but he's got the speed and he's got real good hands, so I think he's going to be a real big factor next year."

Quarterback Matthew Stafford also praised the 6-foot-4 Hill's hands.

"He goes up and gets it when it's in the air," Stafford said. "He moves slow sometimes walking around, but when he gets out there he plays physical."

And, of course, there is Caleb King, who was considered one of the nation's top high school running backs when he signed with the Bulldogs last year. Of all of the players who sat out, King came the closest to playing, and he came very, very close during the midpoint of the season, when senior tailbacks Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin were out with injuries, Richt said.

"I didn't have any peace about it, but the offensive coaches believed it (the right thing to do), and Caleb had a very good attitude about it," Richt said. "That combination made me feel like, ‘All right, let's get him ready.'"

In hindsight, Richt is glad he kept King on the sideline.

"Right now, he's the No. 2 tailback in the spring, and you know we're going to play more than one back," Richt said. "He's going to have a tremendous opportunity, and he'll really be ready, just like Knowshon."

Quarterback Logan Gray doesn't have to be ready for at least another year, but he has made strides, several teammates said.

"Logan has been doing real good," senior safety Kelin Johnson said. "He tore us up one practice. He didn't need anybody out there. He played offense and defense."

Gray is more in the mold of D.J. Shockley than current starter Matthew Stafford because Gray is a big threat to run the ball.

"Coming into camp, I really didn't know what was going on," Gray said. "I was confused, stuff was flying over my head. Now I feel like when I'm on the football field, I'm comfortable making reads and stuff like that. I kind of know what I'm doing."

By next fall, Richt hopes all 14 of his redshirts are saying the same thing.

Fourteen players from Georgia's signing class of 23 players redshirted this season. They are listed below - stay tuned to Dawg Post in January for updates on all the players listed below...

Justin Anderson, offensive line Neland Ball, defensive end
Drew Butler, punter
Logan Gray, quarterback
Ben Harden, offensive line
Walter Hill, wide receiver
Justin Houston, linebacker
Caleb King, running back
John Knox, safety
Chris Little, offensive line
Tanner Strickland, offensive line
Israel Troupe, wide receiver
Aron White, tight end
Charles White, linebacker

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