Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post If you thought the name sounded familiar, you’re right

Tuesday February 5, 2008

The history books will list the New York Giants’ Kawika Mitchell as a South Florida Bull, but the Super Bowl XLII defensive standout originally signed to be a Georgia Bulldog in February of 1998. With Signing Day Eve upon us, here’s a refresher on the linebacker class that Georgia inked ten years ago. Even considering transfers and attrition, it stands as one of the Bulldogs’ best positional hauls in a single recruiting class.

  • Boss Bailey: Bailey played as a true freshman, making an impact in the 1998 Peach Bowl win. A knee injury on the opening kickoff of the 2000 season seriously affected the rest of his Bulldog career (not to mention Georgia’s 2000 season). Bailey broke through in 2002 with a senior season that was key to Georgia’s SEC title run. He has been a starting linebacker with the Detroit Lions since he was drafted in the early second round in 2003.
  • Tony Gilbert: Gilbert wasn’t the highest-rated of the bunch by any stretch, but he got every bit of production he could out of the talent he had. As a senior in 2002, he tied for the team lead in tackles and was named second-team All-SEC. He was a 6th round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2003 NFL draft. Since being released by the Cardinals, he has had a successful career with Jacksonville.
  • Charles Grant*: Yes, a linebacker. Grant was athletic enough to play everything from tailback to defensive end, but the current New Orleans Saints star was considered a linebacker on the recruiting board. He left Georgia for the NFL after his junior season in 2001 and was a first-round pick of the Saints in the 2002 NFL draft. By the way, here’s to a speedy and complete recovery for Grant.
  • Jessie Miller*: Miller and Grant were the biggest academic risks in the group, and though each did not qualify out of high school, Miller was the real academic casualty of this class. After earning some playing time as a freshman in 1999, Miller was no longer with the program in 2000.
  • Kawika Mitchell: As we mentioned above, Mitchell signed with Georgia out of Winter Park, Fla. but transferred after to USF his freshman season. Various rumors cite homesickness or a girlfriend back home, but he went on to have a solid career at USF and is now the only Bull with a Super Bowl ring.
  • Will Witherspoon: ‘Spoon was a fan favorite from the moment he shocked the world by signing with Georgia out of Florida. His signature play was batting away a two-point conversion against LSU in 1999, but Will had a consistently strong college career and quickly caught on in the NFL. After joining the Carolina Panthers as a third-round pick in the 2002 NFL draft, he signed with the St. Louis Rams in 2006 and was named the team’s MVP following the 2007 season.

* – Grant and Miller did not qualify in 1998 and were re-signed in 1999.

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