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Curtis Compton / AJC
Georgia receiver George Pickens had a Sugar Bowl MVP performance Bulldogs' fans won't soon forget.

Chasing A.J. Green: Former Georgia receiving great says George Pickens closing in

ATHENS — Terrence Edwards is on the verge of making a concession regarding George Pickens, recently explaining why there might be a change to his all-time Georgia receivers’ list pecking order.

“Pickens is a guy who has unbelievable talent,” Edwards told DawgNation last week.

RELATED: The Pickens Plan, why No. 1 will be key to modified UGA offense

“I put out a tweet after the bowl game, or maybe it was somewhere else on social media, where I said I’m about to get bumped down to the third best receiver in school history.”

Pickens’ first-half performance in the Bulldogs’ 26-14 Sugar Bowl win over Baylor was indeed amazing. Pickens had 11 catches for 165 yards in the first 30 minutes of player before the Bears finally adjusted and Jake Fromm started spreading the ball around.

RELATED: Georgia football game ball, George Pickens ties bowl record

Still, the final numbers — 12 catches for 175 yards — were enough for Pickens to be named the game’s MVP and Edwards to be on the verge of demoting himself on an all-time list that opens with A.J. Green.

RELATED: Richard LeCounte says Pickens ‘reminds you a lot of A.J. Green’

While many have compared Pickens to Green, Edwards looked to a former South Carolina receiver.

“Who George reminds me of, he’s a more talented version of Alshon Jeffery,” Edwards said. “If you remember Alshon coming out, his hands were unbelievable, and he was big and thick.

“Not a burner, but he created separation with body control.”

Edwards said Pickens is the same sort of talent, even though his straight-line speed might not be as fast as some would expect.

“He may be a 4.6 (-second 40-yard dash) guy,” Edwards said. “But he has great movement in his hips and great body control, and his ability to high point the ball and separate is special.”

RELATED: Newman, White and Pickens Heisman opening odds

Pickens, however, has room to grow before he passes Edwards on the all-time list.

“I do believe I’ll be knocked down to third most-talented receiver,” Edwards said. “I love his edge, but we can’t go over that cliff.”

That “cliff” was a gentle reference to Pickens losing his cool and getting ejected in the third quarter against Georgia Tech.

The Bulldogs had to play the first half of the SEC Championship Game without him.

Edwards explained that true greatness requires presence as well as performance.

“It’s not just was you see on the field, and you have to do it more than one year and be able to put the team on your back,” Edwards said. “It’s where the team can look at you when we need a play, and knowing that we can trust him, and that’s on and off the field.

“But he’s ultra-talented,” he said. “I think that young man has an opportunity to be talked about as one of the best ever.  A.J. is number one, and I’m two right now, but he has that opportunity.”

Freshman seasons

A.J. Green (2008) 56 catches, 963 yards, 8 TDs

Terrence Edwards (1999) 53 catches, 772 yards, 9 TDs

George Pickens (2019) 49 catches, 727 yards, 8 TDs

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