Quick links:
 Latest Team Rankings
 Free Rivals Alerts
 Member Services
ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports

May 26, 2009

Georgia's Atkins hopes to leave lasting impression

Anthony Dasher
Rivals.com College Football
Managing Editor
ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia's Geno Atkins is living proof that first impressions aren't everything.

If they were, he might not have ever gotten on the field for the Bulldogs to become the player many now consider one of the top defensive tackles in the Southeastern Conference.

Ex-Georgia center Fernando Velasco remembers Atkins' initial time in Athens. He wasn't impressed.

"When he first got here, he was one guy who was just so lazy. There was no work ethic at all," Velasco said. "You could tell he had ability, but with that work attitude, I never thought he'd every play a down at Georgia."

Atkins admitted that Velasco was 100 percent correct.

"It was a rough transition from high school to college," said Atkins, a former Rivals.com four-star performer. "The conditioning, the weight room lifting, getting down the whole Georgia system, it was all very tough for me to get used too at first."

These days, Atkins is showing the youngsters how to get it done.

"He's really proved a lot of people wrong," Velasco said. "He's strong and very quick off the ball. He's one of the better defensive tackles, not only on this team but in the SEC."

The league has certainly taken notice. Atkins has earned All-SEC honors in each of the past two seasons and as the Bulldogs begin drifting into town later this week for the start of voluntary workouts, the 6-foot-1, 292-pounder is geared up for his biggest year yet.

Despite a season that saw Atkins deal with constant double-teams, he still managed to collect 34 tackles, including 7.5 for loss. Atkins was virtually unblockable this spring, giving coach Mark Richt plenty of reason for optimism that Atkins can have a big 2009 season.

"We didn't have anybody who could handle him," Richt said during the spring. "You watch him and he's just so strong. He's also more athletic than people want to give him credit for. But it's like anything else; when you add energy to that, you've got a guy whose attitude it is 'I'm going to play hard every play.' That's when you've got yourself something, and Geno has tasted enough success because he's playing hard."

In fact, many thought that Atkins might forgo his senior season to apply for the NFL draft, but the Florida native put a quick end to that speculation, stating that he always intended to return to Georgia to fulfill a promise to his mother that he would leave Athens with a degree in hand.

"That's what she wanted me to do, that's what I wanted to do," Atkins said when he informed UGASports during his initial announcement.

As far as this fall, Atkins has one goal in mind.

"We just want to get back to playing Georgia defense," Atkins said. "Last year was kind of tough. We know we're better than what we showed."

Anthony Dasher is Managing Editor of News Content for UGASports.com. The Web site was the first online publication credentialed by the University of Georgia.
Home | Latest Headlines | Recruit Search" | Commitments" | Targets" | Visit Dates" | The Wire

Talk about it in the
Latest NewsThe Wire | More
Something to prove
Fox signs two
Murray shows he's healthy
Pro Day Numbers
Options Abound
Message Board Topics1031 fans online now
AM 11 is about to be on Dan Patrick show*
Murray's average arm strength
UGA offers...
Dawgs on Tour! Another sport coat for this weeks winner
Dash
The Dawgvent
Grandaddy of all Georgia Bulldogs message boards. Newspapers read us...we don't read them.
More boards:

 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos UGASports.com. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2014 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.