Georgia football: 5 records that might be broken in 2020, and 2 that will never be
On page 115 of the Georgia media guide, you’ll find the start of a section containing every individual and team record in program history. Some, as you’d imagine won’t ever be broken. Others seem very much in reach, including a few that you’d be surprised by how “in reach” they are.
So with that in mind, and with the regular season still over 6 months away, we took a little deep dive into the record book to pick out 5 records that might be very likely to fall by the wayside in the 2020 season for Georgia. For good measure, we threw in 2 records at the end that are unlikely to be broken, or at least not anytime soon.
5 records that might be broken in 2020
Most touchdown catches by a player in a single season – 11
Terrence Edwards set this mark all the way back in 2002. It came close to being broken in 2018 when Riley Ridley hauled in 9 touchdowns, and again in 2019 when George Pickens pulled in 8 scoring catches.
With a new quarterback (Jamie Newton), a terrific corps of returning and incoming wide receivers and a new offensive system set to be installed under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, there shouldn’t be any reason why this record will not go down in 2020. In fact, one could argue that if Pickens hadn’t been suspended for parts of the Georgia Tech game and SEC Championship, he may have eclipsed Edwards’ mark as a freshman.
Most receiving yards by a player in a single season – 1,004
It seems pretty hard to believe that outside of Edwards in 2002, the Bulldogs have had no other receiver go over the 1,000-yard mark in its history. A.J. Green’s 963 yards in 2008 is the closest anyone has gotten since then. To put it in perspective, Newton didn’t just have 1 receiver go over 1,000 yards last year with Wake Forest; he had 2.
Again, with Todd Monken set to install his “air raid” system at Georgia, and with Newton surrounded with more talent than he has ever had in Winston-Salem, would it surprise anyone to see a Dawgs receiver end the 2020 season with a new all-time single-season record for yards?
Most touchdown passes in a single season – 36
Could Aaron Murray’s 8-year mark be threatened in 2020? As mentioned, the Dawgs have the personnel and the system to do it. The key thing to think about though, is how long Newman takes to develop a rapport with the members of his receiving corps and how long the team as a whole takes to acclimate to the new offense, but if it appears comfortable right out of the gate and the revamped offensive line holds up its end of the bargain, this could be another offensive record that falls.
Extra points made in a single season – 67
Let’s go off the grid just a little bit. While we haven’t seen the Dawgs’ new-look offense in action just yet, there’s the possibility that it will put it a high number of points both through the air and on the ground. That means that whoever is set to take the kicker’s mantle from Rodrigo Blankenship will be a busy man.
Call it a hunch, but Marshall Morgan’s mark of 67 PATs set in 2014 could fall by the wayside this upcoming season.
Most punt returns for a touchdown – 3
I’m going to put myself out there just a bit, but this could be very doable. Dominick Blaylock, the primary punt return men as a freshman in 2019, didn’t take one to the end zone but did have a nice 32-yard return against Georgia Tech. And there’s plenty of speed for the team to take advantage of in this department in true freshmen Arian Smith and Kelee Ringo.
While the Dawgs didn’t have any punts returned for touchdowns in 2019, they have a fighter’s chance at multiple ones in 2020.
2 records that will never be broken
Aaron Murray’s 121 career touchdowns and 13,166 career passing yards
My thought process here is simple: with the current “3 and out” era we’re living in, a truly exceptional quarterback, or player, for that matter, will rarely stick around for 4 years as Murray did. Even Murray himself faced a tough choice of his own when weighing whether to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft or return for a final season in 2014.
That’s why it’s such an incredibly tough ask to expect a quarterback to achieve the same numbers Murray did throughout his 4 years in Athens. Don’t expect these marks to go by the wayside anytime soon.
Most tackles in a single season – 170
Knox Culpepper has the 2 highest tackle totals in Georgia history: 166 in 1983 and 170 in 1984. Despite that, and despite 2 20-plus tackle performances in 1983, he doesn’t hold the career mark. (That belongs to Ben Zambiasi, who totaled 467 between 1974 and 1977.)
Georgia’s defense has evolved to a point where it doesn’t need 1 player racking up obscene numbers of tackles, so Culpepper’s 170 should remain safe for years to come.