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June 7, 2010

Player Countdown to Kickoff - No. 89

#89 Bruce Figgins Position: Tight End Class: Junior

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Height/Weight: 6-4, 266 High School: Shaw
Projected Fall Team Depth Chart Position:  Third Team

Spring Review: After sitting out all of 2009, Figgins used spring practice as a means to not only get back in the swing of things from a practice standpoint, but to also show his teammates that he's still got what it takes to be a contributing member of the offense. He did just that, providing good leadership to what should be one of the best, and deepest tight end units in the SEC.

Fall Preview: Although Figgins doesn't figure to be much of a pass-catching threat with Aron White and Orson Charles around, the Columbus native is a devastating blocker and will counted on to provide additional support to the Bulldogs' run game.

Bruce Figgins wears 89 for the Dawgs. He is one of many talented tight ends on the Georgia roster. In 2007, he became the first Georgia tight end to start the season opener as a true freshman since before 1964 (records are not completely known before then). In that first game, he caught a touchdown pass in his first game, an 11-yard strike from Matthew Stafford midway through the 3rd quarter against Oklahoma State. A man wearing 89 that caught many passes in his day was Charles Whittemore. The former assistant coach was an All-SEC performer in 1968. He had 114 career receptions and 11 touchdowns which at one time were records at the University of Georgia. In a game against Kentucky in 1970, he had 10 receptions for 175 yards. He is currently a senior staff member in the UGA athletic department. Another big guy that wore 89 was Jermaine Wiggins. Jermaine followed Coach Jim Donnan from Marshall back in 1996. At Georgia, he was very productive catching 33 passes including 3 touchdowns. He played in the NFL from 2000 to 2007 and appeared in two Super Bowls winning one of the them with the New England Patriots. In the AFC Championship game against the Oakland Raiders he caught ten passes, with three coming on the game's final drive (he caught just 14 passes in the regular season). Of course more people remember that game for Adam Vinatieri, the snow, Tom Brady and the tuck.

Georgia had another player that wore 89, that was a tight end, that transferred from another school and that played in a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. This man was Ben Watson. Watson transferred from Duke and caught 65 passes for the Bulldogs from 2001 to 2003. In the NFL, he has done very well, but it is a play in which he didn't catch the ball and his team lost the game for which he might be best known . In a playoff game against the Denver Broncos in 2006, former Bulldog Champ Bailey caught a Tom Brady interception and raced 100 yards down the sideline. Watson was in the opposite corner and had run about 120 yards own his own. Champ got tripped up halfway down the sideline but still ran hard until the end and that's where Watson hustling all the way, leveled the corner and sending the ball flying at the one yard line saving a touchdown.

89 is the amount of yards of the two longest running plays in Bulldog history.

In 1985, Georgia upset the number one ranked Florida Gators 24-3, but the exclamation point in that game was a 89-yard touchdown run by the swerving freshman Tim Worley with about 5 minutes left to go in the game.

The other 89-yard score was set by a former coach Johnny Griffith. Griffith scored his against Furman in 1946. The Bulldogs won big that day 70 to 7 in a season in which they won big as well as the Dawgs went 11 and 0, winning the SEC and the National Championship in the Williamson poll.

1989 - Georgia Record: 6-6
Head Coach: Ray Goff
Captains: Rodney Hampton and Bill Goldberg

Number 90 is nowhere to be found on this year's roster as of now, but one of the best to wear a uniform for the red and black wore number 90.

Freddie Gilbert was number 90in the early 1980's. The 1983 captain was an All-American defensive lineman in that year and a two-time All-SEC performer as well. As a freshman, Gilbert recovered a blocked punt and took it 27 yards for a score against Auburn. He also led the team in sacks in 1982 and 1983 and his 26 career sacks is 5th all-time at Georgia. He would play pro ball for the New Jersey Generals in the USFL (he was a teammate of another former Georgia player) and then in the NFL with the Denver Broncos in which he played in a Super Bowl.

Robert Geathers wore 90 for Georgia as well. Robert played defensive end for Georgia in the early 2000's and was a solid pass rusher. In 6 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, he has done even better. He has 26.5 career sacks including 10.5 in 2006. He also has an interception returned for a touchdown and a fumble returned for a touchdown. His uncle Jumpy played 13 seasons in the NFL, including 3 with the Falcons. His brother Kwame (see Countdown number 99) is currently on Georgia's roster and Bulldog fans expect big things from him, too.

90is also the amount of points scored by a certain freshman in 1980. Herschel Walker, the goal line stalker/ scored 15 touchdowns (remember bowl games stats did not count then) en route to 90 points. Those 90 points not only led Georgia, but led the SEC as well. Herschel scored three touchdowns in a game against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, scored two against Tennessee and scored one touchdown on four other occasions.

Herschel won one of Georgia's Heisman trophies, the other one belongs to Frank Sinkwich. He won his in 1942 and in a game against Cincinnati, Sinkwich threw a 90-yard strike to Lamar Davis for a score. Sinkwich had 30 touchdown passes in his career (he also had 30 career touchdown rushes) but the 90-yarder was his longest.

1990 was also the first time that the Georgia Bulldogs ever had two first round picks taken in the NFL Draft. Defensive back Ben Smith went 22nd overall to the Philadelphia Eagles and two picks later, running back Rodney Hampton went to the New York Giants.

1990 - Georgia Record: 4-7
Head Coach: Ray Goff
Captains: William Wynn, Mo Lewis and John Kasay

Currently there is not a 91 on the roster either, but Georgia has had a few pretty good ones in the past.

Chuck Heard played defensive for the Dawgs in the late 60's and early 70's. Twice he was named 2nd team All-SEC.

Tim Crowe was on the defensive line for some of the greatest Georgia teams. He started on the 1980 National Champion team and was part of three straight SEC Champion teams from 1980 to 1982. During his senior season of 1982, Crowe was named captain of the team.

Everyone remembers Buck Belue's pass to Lindsay Scott in the 1980 Georgia/Florida game, but Buck had another long TD pass in his Bulldog career. In the 1980 game against Kentucky, Belue connected with Amp Arnold on a 91-yard score. The former Valdosta great is still the only Georgia quarterback with two 90-yard TD throws indeeeed.

Fred Gibson had his biggest kickoff return against Clemson back in 2002. With the score tied at 7 in the season opener, Gibson struck paydirt as he ran 91 yards for score. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a Bulldog in 12 seasons.

1991- Georgia Record: 9-3
Head Coach: Ray Goff
Captains: Larry Ware, Dwayne Simmons, Chuck Carswell

Nor is there a 92 on this season's roster while we are at it, but there has been some pretty good ones throughout the years.

One famous 92 came a long way to become a Bulldog. Richard Tardits or 'Le Sack' is in second place all-time with the most sacks as a Georgia Bulldog, as he had 29. The French linebacker led the Bulldogs in sacks for 3 straight seasons from 1986 to 1988. He also totaled four sacks in a single game when the Georgia faced TCU in 1988 and notched three in games against Kentucky in 1986 and Florida in 1987. After Georgia, he later played in the NFL for the New England Patriots and represented the United States in rugby.

Jason Ferguson was another big 92for the Bulldogs. Even though he played only two seasons for the Dawgs, he had some big plays for the Red and Black. In the 1995 Peach Bowl against Virginia, he recovered a fumble and scored a touchdown with a minute to go to tie the game, unfortunately the Dawgs would lose though. One game that Ferguson started that the Dawgs did not lose was the 1996 classic against Auburn. The senior would sack Dameyune Craig on fourth down in that fourth overtime as Georgia won 56-49. After his Bulldog career ended, he has played in the NFL for the Jets, Cowboys and Dolphins.

92 was the amount of points that senior Kevin Butler had in 1984. He would tally that mark with 23 field goals and 23 extra points.

The 1992 season was a huge season for Georgia. They had their first 10-win season since 1983 and their two losses were by a combined five points. Garrison Hearst finished third in the Heisman race behind Gino Torretta and Marshall Faulk. The running back from Lincolnton had 1,594 rush yards plus another 163 in the Citrus Bowl against Ohio State.

1892 was Georgia first ever football season. Georgia would defeat Mercer 50-0 on January 30th on what is now "Herty Field" on north campus and then lose to Auburn 10-0 in Piedmont Park in Atlanta on February 20th.

1992 - Georgia Record: 10-2
Head Coach: Ray Goff
Captains: Mack Strong, Jack Swan, Greg Jackson and Todd Peterson

1892 - Georgia Record: 1-1
Head Coach: Dr. Charles Herty
Captain: A. O. Halsey

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