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Counting the Days – Day 34

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L to R: 34 early entrants into the NFL Draft, the first being Tim Worley in 1989; the greatest No. 34 in the history of sports, Herschel Walker; and other great No. 34s at Georgia, like Buzy Rosenberg.

Welcome to our countdown! And, we’re less than five weeks before the first game. Each day leading up to the season opener, Patrick Garbin and I will each show three unique and creative ways why we think that number is special to the Dawgs. In the 1947 classic, Miracle on 34th Street, Fred Gailey presented the judge bag after bag after bag after bag of letters to Santa Claus. I am curious how different that scene would be today with emails, tweets, texts and other forms of social media. Not too many bags would have been needed and, unless the judge allowed certain devices in the court room, Kris Kringle would still be in a mess. Anyway, Christmas is still 147 days away, and whoever is doing a “Countdown to Christmas” article can deal with that. We will just worry about great Georgia football memories in regards to number “34”…

By Dave McMahon—Twitter @dave_mc_stats

3 – Aron White came from the state of Missouri, and performed quite well for Georgia from 2008-2011. He made just 34 receptions for the Bulldogs, but 10 catches were for touchdowns. One of White’s touchdown catches was quite memorable when he had to leap over a xylophone into the hedges after scoring against New Mexico State in 2011. He ended up getting stuck in the hedges, and needed help to get out. White was normally the one offering help. He was extremely intelligent and was the student commencement speaker at UGA graduation, as well as being a volunteer at Camp Sunshine, which helps kids with Type 1 Diabetes live life to its fullest.

2 – Like White, D.J. Shockley was a Damn Good Dog, as well. Shockley waited patiently behind David Greene for three seasons before finally becoming Georgia’s starting quarterback for the 2005 season. In his one season as starter, Shockley led the Bulldogs to an SEC Championship. Despite only briefly starting, he ended up with 34 career touchdown passes—good enough for seventh place all-time by a Georgia player. He was also sacked 34 times in his career, but I think the 34 career touchdown passes is something he and Dawg fans would prefer to remember more...

1 – If one of us did not put Herschel Walker as our number one stat for number 34, you would probably be asking Radi for your money back. Throughout our countdown, you have seen several examples from Patrick and myself on Herschel, and I am sure you will see some more down the road. So, here are a few things you may or may not know about No. 34: We probably all know Herschel was the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, but he also finished third in the Heisman in 1980, followed by second in 1981. When he departed the school, he had set 11 NCAA records, 16 SEC records, and 41 school records. Enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999, Herschel officially had 5,259 rushing yards in his career (not counting bowl games), which still ranks 10th all time in NCAA history. He officially appeared in 33 games, whereas no one else in the top 25 in all-time rushing played fewer than 37 career games. In case you care, Herschel’s 5,259 yards is equivalent to 2.99 miles. As for the number of pushups and sit-ups he has done in his lifetime, those are equal to 34,932,743,924,739,753,473,589,734,837,482,374,834. Okay, so the pushup/sit-up stat isn’t entirely accurate, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was true.

By Patrick Garbin—Twitter @PGarbinDT

3—Beginning with juniors Tim Worley and Keith Henderson in 1989 to juniors Leonard Floyd and Keith Marshall in 2016, Georgia has had 34 players in 28 years declare early for the NFL Draft (not counting any supplemental picks). Resulting four times (2002, 2003, 2009, and 2013), three players are the most Bulldogs to declare early in a single year, whereas just once the last eight years (2014) did no Georgia players become early entrants. Notably, of Georgia’s 34 early entrants, three went undrafted; however, all three (Chris Clemons, Danny Ware, and Kwame Geathers) played in the NFL.

2—Dave is right: it should be a crime if the greatest college football player of all time is not mentioned on day “34.” Still, Herschel has received quite a bit of attention already on this countdown, including by Dave above. Therefore, I’m going to spotlight another No. 34-wearing Bulldog running back from less than a decade prior to the “Goal Line Stalker”: Andy “Breezy” Reid (1973-1975). Son of Floyd “Breezy” Reid and nephew of Bernie Reid—both starters on Georgia’s 1948 SEC title team—the younger Breezy was the Bulldogs’ top reserve halfback as both a junior and senior. Clemson likes to point out that Herschel never scored against the Tigers from 1980 through 1982; however, this No. 34 did, rushing for a touchdown at Death Valley in 1974. That season and 1975 combined, Reid rushed for nearly 800 yards, averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and scored four touchdowns. His shining moment occurred in his final home game in 1975 against Auburn, when Georgia lost top running backs Glynn Harrison and Kevin McLee to injury by the second quarter. In stepped Reid and, in being named ABC-TV’s most valuable player in the Bulldogs’ 28-13 victory, he rushed 16 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns, including this 26-yarder which clinched the win:

1—Besides Breezy, there have been other notable No. 34s not named “Herschel” in UGA football history. Below is a partial listing, including all of the No. 34-wearing Bulldogs prior to Walker during the head coach Vince Dooley era:

Besides Herschel, No. 34s in UGA Football History
Player, Pos. Seasons Wearing No. 34 NOTE

Jack Griffith, QB

1932-1934

Georgia's gifted signal-caller for three seasons

Buddy Milner, C

1935-1936

Suddenly, changed to No. 23 for senior season of 1937

Carroll Thomas, End

1937-1938

Standout player for the Bulldogs before being an assistant in the program for two different stints during the late 1940s to early 1950s

Joe Connally, End

1948

In lone season lettering at Georgia was a specialized defensive end who scored a safety vs. LSU

Bob Durand, HB

1949-1950

Small size and injuries prohibited him from ever running the ball, but he did make eight PATs in two seasons as team's part-time placekicker

Carl Manning, HB

1956-1958

As a mere sophomore led Georgia in rushing in 1956 with 348 yards

Randy Wheeler, HB

1964-1966

Reserve halfback and wingback on Dooley's first teams, rushing for 378 yards and making 21 receptions in 1965 and 1966 combined

Grant Bennati, DT

1969

Highly-touted fullback from Tampa, Fla., who started at defensive tackle on Georgia's '68 freshman team, but never lettered on varsity

Buzy Rosenberg, CB

1970-1972

Three-year starter; two-time All-SEC recognition; 10 career interceptions and nearly 11-yard punt return average on 88 returns, including four touchdowns

Andy Reid, HB

1973-1975

Georgia's third and fourth leading rusher in 1974 and 1975, respectively, and played one game in the NFL in 1976, backing up O.J. Simpson at running back for the Buffalo Bills

Larry Raysor, RB

1977

Backup running back for two seasons; career totals of one rush for five yards and one reception for 23 yards

Chris McCarthy, FB

1979

Wearing No. 34 as a freshman in 1979 rushed just three times for seven yards; wearing No. 46 as a senior in 1982 rushed for 322 yards--third-most on team