College football’s national signing day is rapidly approaching and this Wednesday the life blood of our beloved sport will receive its annual infusion of talent and hope. Mark Richt will be signing his tenth recruiting class at the University of Georgia. In recognition of this milestone, I am turning the eye of the BEAST towards one of my all-time favorite Richt recruits, Greg Blue. Blue was a key member of CMR’s first recruiting class with the DAWGS and the Atlanta native would go on to become a fan favorite and a lumber-laying legend “between the hedges”.
RETROBEAST: GREG BLUE, #17, SAFETY (2001-2005)
“Bluuuuuuuuuuuuue!” That was the common call that rained down from the stands of Sanford Stadium following each helmet cracking hit from Georgia’s Greg Blue. The haunting call would reverberate across the playing field in the immediate post-mortem of another Blue annihilation. I can still hear it now. The lingering impact of those moments speaks to the physical presence that Blue was in the DAWGS secondary for Georgia opponents.
Blue did not always display the softest set of hands of those that have played the safety position at Georgia, but there is no denying his value as a pure hitter and in run support. Of course, everyone remembers his huge hit at home against Auburn, but I think my favorite may have been the thunder he delivered in 2005 against Georgia Tech.
Blue was a member of some of the best DAWGS teams in the history of Georgia football, posting a 42-10 record from 2001-04 (sixth best in the country), three straight seasons of 10 or more wins, three straight bowl victories, and three consecutive national top six finishes. Regardless of your favorite memory of Greg Blue, there is no denying that he was A DAMN BEAST for the DAWGS and a lock to be mentioned in every discussion of the fine safety history that has developed at the University of Georgia.
He attended Banneker High School in College Park, Georgia, playing football for head coach James Fletcher, graduating class of 2001. In 2000, he was named to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100, Top 50 in Georgia, Class AAA All-State first-team, and Marvelous Metro 11 squad as a defensive back during his senior year. He also received Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State and Super Prep All-Dixie Team accolades. He was named one of the top 25 safeties in the country by Student Sports Magazine. As a senior, he recorded 89 tackles, six forced fumbles, four interceptions, and 14 pass break-ups. He also had an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 65-yard punt return for a score that year and helped his team to the 2000 Class AAA state playoffs with a 9-2 record. As a member of the basketball team, he was invited to play in the 2001 Georgia North-South All-Star Game.
While attending Georgia, he registered 176 of his 260 career tackles, eleven of his thirteen quarterback pressures and all 7.5 of his stops behind the line of scrimmage during his last two seasons. Blue was part of a graduating class that earned 44 victories, the most by any senior class in Georgia history. He was redshirted as a freshman in 2001. In 2002, he played as a reserve safety, appearing in every game. He finished with 42 tackles and a pass deflection. He was part of a defense that finished first in the SEC and fourth nationally in scoring defense (15.1 ppg), first in the SEC in red zone defense (58.8%), second in the SEC and 19th nationally in rushing defense (114.0 ypg), fourth in the SEC and 15th nationally in total defense (303.5 ypg), and allowed only 30 total second half points in the final seven games of the season.
The next year, he recorded 42 tackles with two quarterback pressures and three pass deflections. He was part of a Georgia defense that ranked second nationally in scoring defense (14.5 ppg), fourth in total defense (276.86 ypg), sixth in passing defense (174.50 ypg), 14th nationally in turnover margin (+.79), and fourth in number of scoreless quarters (25) among the Associated Press final Top Ten teams.
During his junior year, he was clocked at running a 9.10 100 yard dash time recipient of the Teka and John Adams Football Scholarship. He started all year at Rover, finishing second on the team with 80 tackles (64 solos), and also was credited with a 10-yard sack, three stops for losses of 12 yards and five quarterback pressures. He caused three fumbles and recovered another and deflected three passes. Blue was part of a team that has posted 42-10 record from 2001-04 (sixth best in the country), three straight seasons of 10 or more wins, three straight bowl victories, and three consecutive national top six finishes.
In his last year, he was an All-America first-team selection by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, the Associated Press and the American Football Coaches Association, adding second-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, as well as being named an All-Southeastern Conference first-team choice. He started all year at Rover, leading the team with a career-high 96 tackles (70 solos). He also added 4.5 stops for losses of 14 yards and had six quarterback pressures. He recovered and caused a fumble and intercepted two passes and deflected five others. Blue led a secondary that ranked seventh in the nation in pass defense (169.62 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (105.88 rating) while being named team co-captain. Blue majored in Child and Family Development and was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
Blue was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Greg Blue announces his presence with "AUTHORITAH" against the War Kittins
If you are not a fan of Limp Bizkit or off-color language, you may want to mute the audio for this video.