ATHENS — Brock Bowers was the only Georgia player to be selected first-team All-SEC by the USA Today Network.
Fact is, there’s a strong case for Bowers to be considered the Bulldogs’ offensive MVP this season. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound freshman has been the most consistent and impactful UGA player week to week, regardless of who has been at quarterback or on the other side of the ball.
Bowers leads Georgia with 37 catches for 652 yards and 10 touchdowns. It’s the most prolific season for a tight end in the Bulldogs’ history entering into the 4 p.m. SEC Championship Game against Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.
Bowers is closing in on UGA’s single-season record for tight end catches (49) set by Shannon Mitchell in 1993. Orson Charles had the previous TE single-season receiving yardage record (574, 2011) en route to 1,370 yards receiving (2009-11).
Bowers’ 10 TD catches are the second-most in a season for any position at UGA, behind receiver Terrence Edwards (11, 2002).
“It’s a ton of fun, playing with all of the guys and the success we are having is a lot of fun, too,” Bowers said in a team-produced video, as Kirby Smart’s media policy does not allow freshmen to speak.
“We’re all just super excited for each other, and just seeing everyone else in that room do good, just makes everyone else that much better and more excited.”
Bowers has a catch in every game except the Arkansas game, when Georgia attempted just 11 passes, and 3 catches or more in seven games.
Alabama coach Nick Saban has taken notice, referring to Bowers as “Number 19,” an acknowledgment of film study and a prominent place in the Tide’s game plan and scouting report.
Washington has 8 catches for 140 yards and is expected to figure more heavily into the game plan in the postseason.
“We all bring a piece of the pie, (and) we are all different in our own way,” said Washington, who is 6-7, 275. “It’s a special group. Tight end is a mismatch position, and we all bring something.
“When your number is called, you’ve go to make the play and do extra after the catch.”
Smart said the Bulldogs’ depth at the position — veteran John FitzPatrick is also a strong blocker and reliable possession receiver — has been one of Georgia’s winning edges.
“The huge difference in our offense is the production we’ve been able to have in terms of explosive plays, use of tight ends who are talented,” Smart said. “Let’s be honest, insert Brock Bowers and insert Darnell Washington, you’ve increased the talent level at that position.”
Other USA Today Network Honors
• Kirby Smart was named SEC Coach of the Year