Return swag

Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Isaiah McKenzie, a highly-regarded kick returner and receiver from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., committed to the Bulldogs at a press conference at his high school on Wednesday morning. His letter-of-intent arrived later in the morning, Georgia announced.

McKenzie immediately becomes the top candidate to return kicks and punts this season.

“His No. 1 job is gonna try to be that punt returner, kick returner for us,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “It could be the difference in one ballgame, and obviously help us on offense if we can sometimes just get 10 yards on the punt return. That’s the first down for the offense. And field position is so crucial, it sometimes doesn’t matter how effective you are as an offense, the percentages go down if the field position isn’t in your favor. It’s hard to go 80 yards on anybody, I don’t care who you’re playing.”

Head coach Mark Richt was watching film of McKenzie just before coming in Wednesday for his press conference.

“He’s a very dynamic return man,” Richt said. “That’s what jumps out at you the most – just his ability to make people miss one, two or even three times in the same play. He has a lot of speed, quickness and swag. He really believes in himself.”

Now if Mark Richt believes in the return game again, we may really be on to something.

41 Comments

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41 responses to “Return swag

  1. jack skelton

    170 lbs. sure is small. I hope he can take a hit and hold on to the ball.

  2. Timphd

    Not to grumble about what appears to be a good recruit, from what I’ve seen of our return team, the fair catch is often due to the kicking team having four guys surrounding our returner before the ball arrives. I we can’t coach blocking for a return, he’ll just need to practice the fair catch wave.

    • Bulldawg165

      I was thinking the same thing

    • AusDawg85

      Best punt return blocking is often when you are aggressively going after the block punt. Only the gunners can release and punter has less time to hang a high one. Aggression for the win!

  3. Rocksalt76

    Damien Gary was a little dude wasn’t he?

  4. Skeptic Dawg

    Can anyone direct me to the Kool Aid? A new defensive staff, tons of solid recruits, loads of returning talent…be still my beating heart!

  5. Reipar

    I think we may be a little more committed to the punt return this year. The last three years we wanted no risk and get the ball to Murray and company. We have had great punt returners in the past and the right guy could be in the future. Of course coaches will want trust in ball security which starts with actually fielding the punt.

  6. Dog in Fla

    “Pinch me, I must be dreaming” of the second coming of Carlton Thomas and the Swagger Wagon

    “Rounding out the 2008 class of backs is Carlton Thomas. The scat back from Frostproof High School in Florida has speed for days. The minuscule back (5’7″, 170)…was a terror on special teams.”

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/32871-georgia-football-tailback-u#articles/32871-georgia-football-tailback-u

  7. Turd Ferguson

    Would certainly be exciting to have a Tavon Auston-type play-maker in the return game. But as others have already noted, the other guys on the field still need to do this crazy, new-fangled thing called “blocking” for it to work.

  8. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    With the uusal caveats about highlight videos, here’s McKenzie’s very entertaining one from Youtube (“The Human Joystick”). It’s a 5 minute video. Watch the whole thing because the last minute is the best.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Not wanting to be negative but what I saw on this video was a really fast runner/receiver and a lot of poor tackling and bad pursuit angles. He’s not doing that to any SEC teams.

      • What I saw is that he runs backwards almost every time before starting up field. There is one punt that he catches at the 35 and runs backwards to the 5 yard line before turning upfield. He can’t be doing that in the SEC. It won’t work and will probably draw a penalty for block in the back every time.

        • Bob Sackamano

          Jeez. Good thing there weren’t blogs around in Jan of ’79. Can’t you just hear it: “Oh that Herschel Walker all he does is run over tacklers. He won’t run over anyone in the SEC.”

          • Dawgaholic

            The guys hating on that video must not watch much HS FB. He made some really good HS teams look slow. My only question is who in the world was good enough to keep us from offering him until Monday?

      • King Jericho

        There’s definitely no defenses in the SEC that have poor tackling fundamentals and take bad pursuit angles. Nope, not a one. Kisses Jeremy Pruitt shine buried in closet

      • Reipar

        Don’t a lot if guys seem to take bad angles on gurley and Marshall? Just sayin.

      • Dawgfan Will

        But to be fair, he was doing that against South Florida HS teams. There’s some pretty good football being played down there.

    • Russ

      Nice! Though I think some of those stop and circle back moves will get him killed in the SEC. Still, nice to have this kind of threat back there on returns.

  9. Bright Idea

    It will be interesting to see if the punt return remains McClendon’s responsibilty with the new defensive staff. Most defensive coaches want control of that. Who wants their defense to get a stop only to fumble the punt back?

  10. Dawg with no fleas

    Thomas flowers was 5’10 according to georgiadogs.

  11. uglydawg

    It’s like everything else…give and take. The comments about returns helping the offense sounds like a change of philosophy (prompted by what?). I think for every great play a returner gives you, you get two or three plays that hurt you because of penaties, fumbles, backward runs, etc. Admittedly I have no data to back this up…but being Georgia you have to know they’ll call it (block in back) if they possibly can.

  12. Reservoir Dawg

    We already got a shorty who can return kicks. JJ Green, anyone?
    And just why do we need 2 undersized DBs and 2 undersized wide receivers in the same class?

  13. Bob Sackamano

    Great class and great effort by Richt and his team. Go Dawgs.

  14. Macallanlover

    That “slide and glide” move he shows several times in that video is impressive. He seems to have the patience of an experienced runner and instincts of a cat when he gets into traffic. You never know how a HS player will develop over the next 4-5 years but this was a helluva pick-up this late in the game. Since we were all over Michel, how did we not see the talent he exhibited in that clip before February? I don’t care if he is the same height as Howdy Doody, get that man the ball in space a few times a game. Reminds me a lot of Holliday, Hester, and a few of those pygmies FU had that used to run by us with every year.

  15. Sanford222view

    His nickname (Joystick Izzy) has my 6 and 7 year old boys intrigued already. They were pestering me on the way to school this morning about what his number is. I was trying to explain to them he doesn’t have one at UGA yet but they would not seem to accept that answer.

  16. It sounds like someone has been reading Bill Connelly.