Jersey numbers from Atlanta sports history.

Georgia Sports History: The Greatest Players By Jersey Number, 99-90

SB Nation Atlanta's football offseason project: choosing the greatest players in Peach State history for each jersey number.

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Freddie Gilbert, Georgia Football: The Greatest No. 90 In Georgia Sports History

Who holds the Georgia Bulldogs all-time record for sacks in a single game? Since you're reading about Freddie Gilbert, you're probably not going to get this one wrong. The Griffin native harassed Temple Owls passers five times in one game in 1983. But guess who ranks second? Gilbert scored four sacks against the Florida Gators in 1984, tying him with three others for the honor.

A 1983 All-American and two-time All-SEC, Gilbert started four seasons that also happened to be the best four in UGA's 119-year history to this point. In 1980, he made a critical play against the Auburn Tigers that kept Georgia's championship hopes alive -- by the time he was done in Athens, he ranked second in career sacks with 26.



Gilbert became a teammate of fellow 1980 freshman Herschel Walker on the USFL's New Jersey Generals roster. He eventually made his way aboard the Denver Broncos and Phoenix Cardinals.

Also considered: Chuck Smith, Falcons.


Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech Football: The Greatest No. 91 In Georgia Sports History

Chan Gailey's acclaimed 2007 recruiting class looks even more amazing in retrospect, now that we've learned Paul Johnson gets about the same results as Gailey got in his best years besides '07. Though Demaryius Thomas' early exit delivered the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets more damage than any other single-player personnel move did in 2010, Derrick Morgan was still the best Jacket since Calvin Johnson and the best Tech pass rusher since Pat Swilling.


Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images

It's not often we talk about defensive players being clutch. It's easy to tell whether a quarterback steps up in big moments, or at least we think it is. But as the 2009 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-American, Morgan contributed clutch play after clutch play to Tech's best season in 20 years.

From his chasedown of Clemson QB Kyle Parker to seal the ACC title to his three-sack performances against those same Tigers and Wake Forest in crucial close games earlier in the season, Morgan was indispensable. His backfield disruptiveness even gave the Jackets one last chance in a tight loss to the Georgia Bulldogs and came inches short of snagging Ricky Stanzi and sustaining a rally against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Drafted No. 16 by the Tennessee Titans, Morgan had to sit out most of his rookie year due to an ACL injury, but not before collecting 1.5 sacks in four appearances.

Also considered, in alphabetical order: Brady Smith, Falcons. Kade Weston, Georgia football.


Richard Tardits, Georgia Football: The Greatest No. 92 In Georgia Sports History

Richard Tardits has one of the best origin stories in Georgia football history. Visiting family in Augusta from his native France, he up and decided to attend UGA and try out for the football team. Vince Dooley was impressed with the rugby player's toughness and athleticism, and decided to give him a shot even though the Frenchman's only football knowledge was from books and highlight videos.

Upon being told he could play special teams, Tardits asked whether that counted as football. He played his way onto the starting defensive line, and everything worked out better than expected. "Le Sack" went on to tie the school's all-time career sacks record, which stood until David Pollack came along.



After earning dual degrees at the university, he played a few seasons for the New England Patriots. He then joined the United States rugby team for six years, helping to lead the team to the 1999 World Cup. These days he seems to serve as France's official American football expert.

Also considered (in alphabetical order): Coleman Rudolph, Georgia Tech football. Lester Archambeau, Falcons.


Richard Seymour, Georgia Football: The Greatest No. 93 In Georgia Sports History

I don't remember much about the 1999 Dawgs, other than how much it sucked for me to have to drive all the way from Virginia down to Georgia just to see Kevin Ramsey's defense get chewed up and spit out by the likes of Auburn or Georgia Tech. Seriously, we put up some absolutely fecal performances that year, to the point where one seriously had to ponder whether maybe Ramsey hadn't been a sleeper agent all along, whom Tennessee allowed us to hire away only so that he could serve as an "inside man" cutting wires and setting time bombs in our secondary.

Why am I mentioning all this when I'm supposed to be talking about how awesome Richard Seymour is? Because while the pass defense imploded almost from the jump, giving up more than 3,000 passing yards on the season for the first (and so far only) time in Georgia history, the front seven had their best performance in 15 years against the rush and plastered opposing QBs to the tune of 33 sacks. Seymour led the team in tackles (including 10 for loss) and tacked on four sacks, seven QB pressures and a pick.


Seymour finished his Georgia career (1997-2000) as a four-year letterman, a two-time All-SEC first-teamer and a first-team All-American as a senior. After being selected with the sixth overall pick in the subsequent NFL draft, he earned a starting job on the Patriots' D-line -- and a Super Bowl ring -- as a rookie. He's since earned two more rings, six Pro Bowl invitations, and a spot on the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team.

Now with the Oakland Raiders, Seymour is a likely candidate to become Georgia's third Pro Football Hall of Famer once he retires.

Some might say the Raiders are an ignominious way for a Bulldog great to finish out his pro career, particularly since his second year in Oakland was marked by an ejection for slugging QB Ben Roethlisberger in the midst of a blowout loss to the Steelers in November. Then again, if you're from Milledgeville, that might only add to Seymour's legend.

Also considered (in alphabetical order): Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech. Ted Roof, Georgia Tech.


Quentin Moses, Georgia Football: The Greatest No. 94 In Georgia Sports History

Of all the tasks one could be assigned on Georgia's football team, one of the most thankless had to have been filling the shoes of David Pollack, not only a fierce player but an all-time fan favorite to a degree surpassed only by the Herschel Walkers and Charlie Trippis of UGA lore.

So in a weird way, perhaps it is to Quentin Moses' credit that he never bothered fighting the futile battle to match Pollack's charisma when he took over #47's position at defensive end in 2005. He just hunkered down and went about his business -- destroying quarterbacks -- and ended up leading the team with 11.5 in his first season as a starter. (Georgia fans, though, had already gotten a taste of what was to come when Moses came off the bench in the penultimate game of the '04 season to sack Georgia Tech's Reggie Ball three times.)


That's kind of how Q-Mo's whole Georgia career went -- not much talking, none of Pollack's dancing off the field after big third-down stops, just a lot of swallowing up ball carriers and giving opposing QBs some real incentive to add a few extra steps to their drops in the pocket. By the time he graduated, Moses had taken his daunting task and spun it into a consensus first-team All-SEC selection and a spot on Playboy's All-American list.

Not bad for a kid who actually wanted to play basketball when he graduated from high school.

Also considered: Henri Crockett, Falcons.


Marco Coleman, Georgia Tech Football: The Greatest No. 95 In Georgia Sports History

Marco Coleman of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets or Jonathan Babineaux of the Atlanta Falcons. This was a tough one. Coleman was Tech's all-time sacks leader despite only playing three seasons, helped lead the team to a national championship, and played his way into a first-round pick by the Miami Dolphins.

But Babineaux might've been the best player on the Falcons roster over the past three seasons, and was arguably the league's best defensive tackle in 2009. Still, he hasn't gotten attention outside of the town he plays in, while Coleman did.


During his time at Tech, Coleman earned All-ACC and second-team All-American honors. He did go on to play 14 seasons in the NFL and make a Pro Bowl, too. This one isn't easy, as Babineaux is one of my favorite football players right now, but Coleman's impact on the city hasn't been topped by very many defensive linemen.

Actually, just remembered Coleman appeared in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. On second thought ...

Also considered (in alphabetical order): Bill Goldberg, Georgia. Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech. Jeff Owens, Georgia. Jonathan Babineaux, Falcons.


Joe Anoa'i, Georgia Tech Football: The Greatest No. 96 In Georgia Sports History

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets DT Joe Anoa'i was a 2007 All-ACC first-teamer who spent some time with the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars, but he's also a future pro wrestling star. It's in his blood, son, and at the moment he's scrapping as Roman Leakee in the WWE's Florida Championship Wrestling. But anyway, back to football.


Anoa'i was a three-year starter for the Jackets and a defensive captain, the centerpiece of those balls-crazy Jon Tenuta defenses that actually somehow worked more often than not. He had a ferocious streak, to which Brandon Cox will attest, and which certainly serves him well in his ongoing professional career.

With 12 career sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss, he was one of the best defensive tackles the Flats produced since Rock Perdoni in the early '70s. And certainly the best grappler in Georgia Tech history, other than former hoops assistant John O'Connor.

Also considered: Brandon Coutu, Georgia.


Patrick Kerney, Falcons: The Greatest No. 97 In Georgia Sports History

Patrick Kerney is the greatest No. 97 in Atlanta sports history. I wrote a 760-word eulogy when Kerney retired last April so I'll no doubt be plagiarizing myself as I write this today but I won't sue myself so it's cool.

Where to begin? Kerney was a first round draft choice for the Atlanta Falcons in 1999 after an All-American career at the University of Virginia. He played eight seasons with the Falcons - starting 105 consecutive games at one point - and was named to the 2004 Pro Bowl and honored as Second-Team All-Pro by the Associated Press.1736625_medium

Between 2001 and 2007, only five players recorded more sacks than Kerney (67.5). Kerney led the Falcons in sacks in three of his eight seasons with the team. He left the Falcons as No. 2 on the franchise's sack list, just a half sack behind Chuck Smith and 16.5 ahead of No. 98 on our list (Travis Hall).

He ended his career with three seasons with the Seahawks and earned another Pro Bowl bid and his only First Team All-Pro berth. Injuries eventually caught up to Kerney and he was forced to shut it down after 11 seasons in the NFL. When he retired his 82.5 career sacks ranked 30th among defensive ends in NFL history.

Also considered (in alphabetical order): Cornelius Bennett, Falcons, Jumpy Geathers, Falcons. Kedric Golston, Georgia. Marcus Stroud, Georgia.


Travis Hall, Falcons: The Greatest No. 98 In Georgia Sports History

In 45 seasons, our beloved Atlanta Falcons haven't exactly been a hotbed of defensive tackle talent. And that's being generous. The Falcons are one of only five teams in the NFL to never have a defensive tackle named First Team All-Pro. They've also only had one Pro Bowler at that position (Roderick Coleman, 2005). Which brings us to former Falcons defensive tackle, Travis Hall. Despite the lack of accolades, Hall is arguably the best defensive tackle in Falcons franchise history - though some may side with Mike Lewis - and he makes our list as the best player in Atlanta sports history to wear No. 98.


Hall joined the Falcons after being selected in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL Draft (the Warren Sapp draft). Hall played 10 seasons for Atlanta and accumulated 41.5 sacks which was the third-best total in franchise history when he joined the 49ers as a free agent after the 2004 season. John Abraham has since passed Hall, moving him to fourth on the Falcons' sack list.

Through 2004 (Hall's last season as a Falcon), the Falcons made the playoffs eight times as a franchise and Hall was a part of four of those teams. He was a starter on the 1998 NFC Champion team alongside Shane Dronett in the middle. That team was the second-stingiest run defense in the NFL allowing only 3.3 yards per rush. It was also the second-lowest in Falcons franchise history.

Between 1996 and 2001 - the meat of Hall's playing time - he recorded 32.5 sacks putting him second on the team behind Chuck Smith's 36.5 takedowns. His best season was in 1997 when he had a career-high 10.5 sacks. The following season saw his sacks drop to only 4.5 but he recovered four fumbles, good for fifth-best in the NFL that season. Hall finished his Atlanta career 10th in games played (134), third in sacks (41.5) and eighth in solo tackles (334).

Also considered (in alphabetical order): Mixon Robinson, Georgia


Pat Swilling, Georgia Tech Football: The Greatest No. 99 In Georgia Sports History

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets DE Pat Swilling was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last spring. After his time in Atlanta, Swilling left Tech as the program's all-time sacks and tackles for loss leader. He also set the NCAA's record for sacks in a single game, bringing down N.C. State Wolfpack QB Erik Kramer seven times in one contest.


Swilling was the heart of the "Black Watch" defense that allowed only 10.7 points per game in his senior season and had fans of the White and Gold rocking black. He'd stick with that color scheme in his pro career, going on to become the 1991 NFL Defensive Player of the Year as a member of the New Orleans Saints, but we won't hold that against him for much longer.

Perhaps his most memorable moment as a Jacket was his fumble recovery against Michigan State that clinched Tech's only bowl win and ranked finish of the 1980s.

He played over a decade in the NFL, finishing No. 17 all-time in career sacks, going to five Pro Bowls, and being named first-team All Pro twice. After his football career, he was elected to the Louisiana State House of Representatives.

Also considered (in alphabetical order): Charles Johnson, Georgia. Jarius Wynn, Georgia. Tim Green, FalconsVance Walker, Georgia Tech.

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