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Mar 22

Silent Disco

40 Watt Club285 W Washington St, Athens, GA 30601
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Jobe Fortner & Drew Parker

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BEN RECTOR

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40 Years of Gears

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CHS 09 Class Reunion

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Athens Hip Hop Awards March 24, 2019

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Georgia Sports News

  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is hoping for a big NFL draft for his Bulldogs, the better for future recruiting. WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on UGA Pro Day But it was clear as Smart spoke on Wednesday’s pro day in the so-called “House of Payne” indoor facility he regretted the one recruit that got away after the bowl game. Mecole Hardman. Perhaps no UGA player would have benefitted more from returning for a senior season than Hardman. It’s fair to say the speedy Hardman  would have challenged tailback D’Andre Swift for total yardage honors in 2019. Instead, Hardman — who had just 12 catches in his last 8 games in former coordinator Jim Chaney’s offense at Georgia — could be the steal of the draft. “I still think he has great upside at the wide receiver position, so he’s a guy that’s going to flourish when he gets to that level,” Smart said on Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to seeing him do it, because he’s grown as a player for us, but he hasn’t even reached his full potential.” Hardman had just 34 catches last season for 532 yards and 7 TDs in 2018. He would have likely doubled those numbers in 2019 with UGA losing WRs Riley Ridley and Terry Godwin. Hardman said he told Smart after the Sugar Bowl he was going pro, and that’s when “it hit the fan.” There’s a strong chance Smart felt it would have been in Hardman’s best interests — ultimately — to return for another season. But where the team was concerned, it was the late decision that hurt Georgia in addition to losing such a great talent. Smart explained in an SEC Network interview that the Jan. 14 NFL declaration date puts college teams in a bind relative to the early December signing date. RELATED: Kirby Smart shares fascinating look into future “I’m finding out January 14 who’s leaving, but yet I’m signing kids in December who are coming in (January),” Smart said in February. “I think more and more teams, especially upper echelon programs, will have rosters full of freshman or sophomores and a few juniors, because your (would-be) seniors are coming out early, or they’re transferring, they’re going in the (transfer) portal if they’re not playing,” he said. “So your teams will always be loaded with youth, and probably whoever manages that best, is who’s going to remain at the top of college football.” That’s certainly true for Georgia at receiver.  Smart lamented not having an early enrollee at the position at the opening spring press conference. UGA has added signees Dominick Blaylock and George Pickens, but neither is on campus for spring drills. RELATED: Georgia 2019 football signing class list Hardman, meanwhile, appears to be the fastest-rising Georgia player in NFL draft rankings after running a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the combine. WATCH: Mecole Hardman flashes SEC speed at NFL combine “I think a lot of people saw that speed, they expected me to run fast, they see that on film,” Hardman said. “They see the potential.” Smart helps NFL teams recognize just how much potential Hardman has by making it a point to mention that he’s only played the receiver position for two seasons. “I usually bring it up pretty quick, to me it’s an important thing to understand that here’s a guy that only caught snaps in high school (as a QB), then only caught interceptions as a freshman (as a DB) and then he spends two years catching the ball and he’s done a really good job doing that,” Smart said. “Especially in his pro days and his workouts,” Smart said. “That’s kinda the only thing that people could try to knock Mecole on (previously). “He’s fast, he’s elusive, he’s a great returner, well what about his hands? Well all he’s done is catch every ball thrown to him for the last two months, and I’m excited to see what he does.” Smart and Georgia fans just wish they could have seen Hardman do more to achieve his potential in Athens before departing for the NFL. Georgia receivers perform 3-Cone at Pro Day The post WATCH: Wide receiver steal in 2019 NFL Draft might also be Georgia’s biggest loss appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — It’s hard to know exactly how much goes into the decision to stay or leave when a college football player is contemplating entering the NFL draft. For some it’s a matter of filling out a little paperwork and waiting to see what comes back. For others, it’s a comprehensive study that entails numerous phone calls, meetings, detailed correspondences and thoughtful prayer. Count Georgia’s J.R. Reed’s contemplation among the latter. His wasn’t a decision that was arrived at easily. “It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made, besides transferring out of the University of Tulsa,” said Reed, a fifth-year senior and two-year starter at safety for the Bulldogs. It just took a lot of praying and marking things down and doing logistics and talking it over with my parents. After weeks and maybe a month going in – because we thought about it before – we decided it’d probably be best for me to come back.” Reed certainly has plenty of good resources. His father, Jake Reed, was an NFL veteran who played 12 seasons at wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. He retired in 2002 having played in 155 NFL games and finished his career with 6,999 yards receiving and 36 touchdowns. So the Reed family was able to consult a number NFL executives in reaching their decision. J.R. said it ultimately came down to a good, old-fashioned list of pros and cons, and finally a very frank conversation with Georgia coach Kirby Smart. Reed and Smart agreed “it’d be best for me to come back for this team and get us to win a championship.” “It’s always been my goal since I came here to win a national championship,” said Reed, a 6-foot-1, 194-pound senior. “Coach Smart told me that’s what he wants this team to be; I told him I want to be a part of a championship team. So my goals haven’t really changed. That championship thing is always on your list, every time you play. If Georgia does win a championship in 2019, Reed will have had a lot to do with it. With cornerback Deandre Baker to an NFL career, Reed is the captain and unquestioned leader of what will be a young but talented secondary. And his experience factor at this point is through the roof. Reed didn’t arrive at Georgia from his hometown of Frisco, Texas, until his sophomore year when he transferred in from Tulsa and had to sit out per the NCAA’s Division I transfer requirement. But ever since he reacquired his eligibility, Reed has been on the field for the Bulldogs. He has started every game at safety ever since, logging 145 tackles, 4 interceptions, 7 pass break-ups and 2.5 quarterback sacks. Now he, rising junior Richard LeCounte and senior Tyrique McGhee combine to form defensive back line that will rival any in the SEC. That’s a good thing because the Bulldogs are going to be extremely young on the corners and throughout the rest of the depth chart in the secondary. Entering spring camp, sophomores Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes are the starting cornerbacks. Sophomores Otis Reese and Christopher Smith step in as backups at safety while Mark Webb, a relatively inexperienced junior, will look to step up at the nickel position. Meanwhile, Georgia is welcoming in several other newcomers to the defensive backfield, including freshman early enrollees Lewis Cine and Tyrique Stevenson and junior college transfer D.J. Daniel. Reed has been asked to keep a close eye on the newbies. “A lot of the (DBs) haven’t really played that much, and I think they’re ready to show UGA and the world what they have,” Reed said. “Their talents are still developing. In the spring, I think we’ll find it.” Count Smart and first-year defensive backs coach Charlton Warren among those most pleased that Reed decided to return. With all the youth in the back third of the defense, to have been breaking in a new safety would have been challenging. But Smart said he never takes it upon himself to talk underclassmen out of turning pro. The Bulldogs had four juniors off last year’s 11-3 team make the decision to enter the draft in receivers Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley, running back Elijah Holyfield and tight end Isaac Nauta. All four went through UGA’s Pro Day Wednesday before all representatives of all 32 NFL teams. Reed watched from a balcony in the Payne Indoor Athletic Facility. Smart said he generally doesn’t try to talk underclassmen into or out of the draft. He just tries to supply as much information as possible and will give them his opinion if it’s asked for. “We’re certainly very thrilled for the future of their careers,” Smart said of the early entries. “We’re looking forward to see how they do. … I’ve followed each one of them, communicated with each one of them, and we as a coaching staff and really organization are pulling really hard for those guys. The best thing that could happen for us is for each one of those guys to be drafted as high as possible, and for our program, and we’re looking forward to having a hell of a draft because we have the potential to have a lot of guys drafted. This time next year, Reed will be among the Bulldogs getting tested for the draft. He plans to do so with another championship ring in his pocket. “I have to take my role more seriously,” Reed said of his senior season. “It is just a different role than I have had in the past. … Now, a lot of it comes on your shoulders. We just have to get everybody leaning in the same direction.” The post Georgia safety J.R. Reed puts NFL dream on hold to pursue championship with Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia linebacker Jaden Hunter was arrested on Wednesday night and faces charges for illegally stopping, standing or parking a vehicle. The jail booking recap report on the Athens’ Clark County website revealed Hunter was booked at 9:04 p.m. by the UGA police and released at 11:33 p.m. after posting a $1,000 bond. Hunter, who is from Atlanta and attended Westlake High School, was also found to be driving with a license that was suspended or revoked. Kirby Smart has not commented on the arrest of Hunter, who is the son of the late Brice Hunter, an All-SEC receiver and team captain of the Bulldogs. The post Georgia linebacker Jaden Hunter arrested Wednesday night in Athens appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Some Georgia fans have been critical of the way UGA has used its tight ends under coach Kirby Smart. However, former UGA tight end Isaac Nauta still played his way into contention for an NFL roster spot despite not always being the focal point of the Bulldogs offense, and he sees big things ahead for the players who’ll follow him at UGA. That’s the subject of today’s DN90. DN90: Georgia TE Isaac Nauta shares what's next for UGA's tight ends Georgia has some big shoes to fill at tight end. But Isaac Nauta has faith in one player in particular to step up Posted by UGA DawgNation – Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 Nauta specifically mentions Charlie Woerner — a rising senior who joined Nauta as part of the 2016 signing class, Smart’s first at UGA. Woerner only has 25 career receptions, but has shown a penchant for playing well in big games — including three catches in UGA’s 2018 Rose Bowl win vs. Oklahoma. Another tight end Nauta mentions by name in the video is John Fitzpatrick — a 4-star signee from Georgia’s 2018 class. Fitzpatrick only appeared in two games for the Bulldogs last season so he’ll preserve his redshirt and still have four years of remaining eligibility. Nauta was also candid in the video about how his position fits into UGA’s offensive plans. He says his overall body of work makes him a strong candidate to join an NFL roster. His absence leaves a void for UGA. Nauta was third on the team last season in receiving with 30 catches for 430 yards and three touchdowns. For more on what Nauta had to say about his time at UGA and the Bulldogs’ future at tight end. Click the video linked above. The post DN90: Former UGA TE Isaac Nauta has high expectations for Charlie Woerner appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the cast of DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss UGA coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episodes No. 905 (March 19, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about something UGA coach Kirby Smart said that some fans probably won’t like. Georgia football podcast: Some UGA fans didn’t hear what they wanted from Kirby Smart Beginning of the show: Georgia coach Kirby Smart is justifiably popular with UGA fans for the success he’s brought the program the last two seasons. However, former offensive coordinator Jim Chaney never quite shared that same popularity with many of those same fans. A lot of UGA fans would probably like to hear Smart share a similar dissatisfaction with the way Chaney called plays. I’ll explain on today’s show why that’s not what Smart did when he spoke to reporters Tuesday. I’ll also talk about how that belief could impact the game plan for new offensive coordinator James Coley. Also… I’ll share a snippet of Smart’s opening press conference on the subject of his new coordinators and more. I’ll share an interview with UGA quarterback Jake Fromm on his time in Indianapolis for the NFL combine and how he thinks Coley’s offense could be different from Chaney’s. A conversation with Bulldogs safety J.R. Reed will also be part of the show, as well as an interview with UGA left tackle Andrew Thomas. The post Georgia football podcast: Some UGA fans didn’t hear what they wanted from Kirby Smart appeared first on DawgNation.