A year ago, we delivered our “Counting the Days” series (an example with 47 days remaining until the season kicks off). This summer, we explore a topic that has been debated on The Dawgvent for years and years. Twice a week leading into fall camp, we will post the UGA’s Mount Rushmore of… series, whereby we each present our opinion of the top four Bulldogs representing each positional unit. Whether statistics, big plays, championships won, and/or something else, we have our reasons why these quartets of Bulldogs have been chosen.
Do you agree with our Mount Rushmore of UGA Placekickers? Who would you put on your list?
Dave McMahon—Twitter @dave_mc_stats
Rex Robinson (1977-80): After struggling his freshman season of 1977, connecting on just 10 of 20 field goals, Rex Robinson made an amazing 46 of 64 (72 percent) attempts the rest of his Bulldog career. Keep in mind that he played in an era when making field goals could be shaky—at best. Robinson was 15-for-17 as a sophomore, 15-for-25 as a junior, and 16-for-22 as a senior when Georgia won the National Championship. His 56 career field goals still rank sixth all time in school history, while his six successful kicks covering 50 yards or more are tied for third. While he had the range, it was his shorter kicks Robinson may be best known for. After missing two field goals earlier in the 1978 Kentucky game—the only ones he’d miss all season—Robinson totally redeemed himself by making the game-winner from 29 yards, while making Larry Munson and the Bulldog faithful very happy. Other short kicks he is known for were the 101 consecutive PATs he made to end his career after missing his first extra-point attempt in his first game as a Bulldog. Another kick he may be known for wasn’t a field goal nor an extra point, but what was essentially a 59-yard onside kick. Early in the 1981 Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame with the game tied at 3-3, Robinson kicked a routine kickoff that the Fighting Irish somehow let drop at their own five-yard line. Notre Dame attempted to field the kick, but failed, and the Dawgs recovered at the one-yard line. Georgia scored a touchdown and eventually won the game, 17-10. Robinson was named All-American in both 1979 and 1980. Since a short pro career, he has worked on many things, including running Total Kicker—a kicking camp prepping kickers at all levels for their upcoming seasons.
Kevin Butler (1981-84): Considering his college and NFL careers, not only is Kevin Butler perhaps Georgia’s greatest kicker, but possibly the greatest in the history of the sport. At Georgia, Butler connected on 79 percent of his field goals. He made 77 career attempts (and probably would have had more if not for Herschel Walker repeatedly scoring touchdowns during the 1981-1982 seasons), including 11 from 50-plus yards—a Georgia record. His most celebrated field goal was against Clemson in 1984, when he bombed a 60-yarder (“plus a foot and a half”) to give Georgia a 26-23 victory over the hated Tigers. To cap that season, Butler nearly made a 71-yard field goal against Florida State in the 1984 Citrus Bowl. He was named All-American in both 1983 and 1984. In the NFL, Butler made 361 career field goals and won a Super Bowl as a member of the Chicago Bears. These days, he has since returned to UGA where he is the graduate assistant kicking coach for the Bulldogs.
Billy Bennett (2000-03): This Athens native kicked, and kicked, and kicked some more… As a junior in 2002, Billy Bennett set a Georgia record by making 26 field goals, and established a new NCAA record the following season by making 31 (still remains an NCAA record). He set another NCAA record with 87 career field goals, which is currently third all time in college football. Against Georgia Tech in 2001, Bennett set a school record with six made field goals, helping the Bulldogs end the Yellow Jackets' three-game series winning streak. A season later at Alabama, he proved he was “man enough” by kicking the game-winner against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa with just 38 seconds left. Bennett’s 79.1 career field-goal percentage is the second highest in the history of Georgia football.
Brandon Coutu (2004-07): After beginning his freshman campaign of 2004 as a reserve, Brandon Coutu never looked back for the rest of his Georgia career. He is the school’s all-time most accurate placekicker—something many Bulldog enthusiasts perhaps don’t realize. Coutu made 80.3 percent of his career field goals (53-for-66), and was a perfect 114-for-114 on extra points. Notably, of his 13 missed field goals, just two were inside 40 yards. Coutu was 6-for-12 from 50-plus yards, including a career-long 58-yarder against Louisiana-Monroe in 2005—the longest kick made by a Dawg not named “Kevin Butler,” and the longest in SEC history without the use of a kicking tee. In 2007 at Vanderbilt, Georgia trailed 17-14 late in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, Coutu hit a 31-yard field goal with just over six minutes remaining to tie the game, and later won it from 37 yards out as time expired.
Patrick Garbin—Twitter @PatrickGarbin
Bob Etter (1964-1966): A significant portion of the prompt success head coach Vince Dooley achieved (23-8-1 in his first three years after Georgia had gone 10-16-4 the previous three seasons) can be attributed to placekicker Bob Etter, or “Little Bobby.” Listed at a scant 150 pounds but was said to actually weigh more like 135, he is probably best known for the botched hold on a field-goal try he scooped up against Florida in 1964 with the score tied at 7-7. Without hesitation, Etter took the bobbled ball around left end and raced for a touchdown in what would eventually end in a 14-7 upset victory for the Bulldogs. Still, perhaps more so, he is a prime example of how comparing statistics from different eras is often an unfair assessment. Consider that in his three seasons, Etter made 25 of 35 field goals for a 71.4 percentage which, of the 16 Bulldogs in history to attempt at least 20 field goals, ranks seventh. However, NCAA kickers, as a whole, made only 46.6 percent of their field-goal tries during Etter’s time. There is a staggering 53.4 percent increase—by far the best of the 16 Georgia kickers—from the NCAA’s field-goal percentage from 1964-1966 to Etter’s.
With Little Bobby leading the pack, the all-time top Dogs in regards to percent increase from the NCAA’s field-goal success rate during the time of the respective Georgia kicker to the Georgia kicker’s success rate:
UGA Placekicker vs. NCAA (during kicker's time)
Career FG Pct.
FG Pct. of NCAA
Rex Robinson (1977-1980): What makes Rex Robinson’s consecutive streak of 101 PATs even more notable than the streak itself is during the kicker’s playing days—from 1977 through 1980—an extra-point attempt, on the whole, wasn’t necessarily automatic. During those four seasons, just over 91 percent of PAT attempts were successful in all of major-college football. In 1980, Robinson became just the fourth Bulldog in history, and the first in nearly a half-century (Vernon “Catfish” Smith, 1931), to receive all-conference honors for three seasons. There have been just four Georgia players since Robinson to earn as much recognition. Also in 1980, he was nearly a unanimous First Team All-American, as he was chosen the nation’s top placekicker by four of the five recognized selectors.
Kevin Butler (1981-1984): What makes Kevin Butler’s 52.4 career percentage (11 of 21) of field goals made from 50+ yards notable is during the kicker’s playing days—from 1981 through 1984—only 35 percent of 50+ yard field goals were successful in all of major-college football. Like Robinson, Butler is also one of the mere eight Bulldogs in history to receive all-conference honors for three seasons. More than 30 years after his departure from Georgia, his career average of 1.75 field goals made per game still ranks 10th in NCAA history. Perhaps above all, there have been nearly 1,000 players elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and, remarkably, Butler is the lone inductee who was solely a placekicker.
John Kasay (1987-1990): Although John Kasay was never an All-American or even a First Team All-SEC honoree, there are a number of reasons why I believe he is one of the top four placekickers in Georgia football history. For one, after sparingly kicking as a true freshman in 1987, he essentially took over the team’s placekicking duties during his sophomore campaign, claiming the role from senior Steve Crumley—a good kicker in his own right. More so, as Georgia’s sole placekicker as a junior and senior, perhaps no kicker has ever meant more to a Bulldog team over a two-season span than Kasay. In 1989 and 1990 combined, he was responsible for a staggering 33 percent of Georgia’s points scored. In comparison, Bulldog placekickers scored 23 percent of the team’s points the two seasons prior (1985-1986) and, even during the Kevin Butler era (1981-1984), Georgia kickers were responsible for 28 percent of the scoring.
In a couple of days, we will reveal our next in the UGA’s Mount Rushmore of… series. Until then, again, do you agree with UGASports.com’s list? Who would you put on your Mount Rushmore of UGA Placekickers?
UGASports.com's Previous UGA Mount Rushmores: