Bama (Natl Champ)
Alabama Crimson Tide (National Championship)
L, 23-26

Almost every year, Georgia scours many high schools in hopes of luring the next great quarterback to Athens. Big arm, fast legs, and accuracy coincide with football knowledge, growth expectations, and proven competitiveness to create a highly-touted field general with hopes of becoming a future signal caller for the Bulldogs. And while each shows up with high expectations from "the Nation" and themselves, sometimes they never develop into the player everyone hopes. Blake Barnes was a top recruit out of the state of Mississippi. Not only did he have the size (6'3", 225lb) most programs are looking for in a quarterback, he backed up his statistics by breaking most of Brett Favre's high school records along the way. The sky was the limit for Blake, who immediately became the "Next David Greene - Only Better." The future of the program stood on his arm and it would only be a matter of time before he took over. After the 2005 season, it should have been obvious who the starter would be the very next year. He was entering his third season with Georgia and seemed the logic choice as the next heralded quarterback to take the helm from Shockley's departure.

That never happened. Not only did the 2006 season fall into a two-quarterback race, he never even beat out JT3 during the offseason. He wasn't going to hold off the talents of Matthew Stafford for long but he should have had the talent to give him a redshirt in 2006. Out of desperation, Richt had no choice but to start a true freshman over a fifth year senior and a Brett Favre record breaker. What happened to Blake Barnes? After hardly seeing the field at Sanford Stadium, he transferred to Delta State during the 2008 season so he could play his final year of college eligibility. Why he never developed is a thing of mystery and another top quarterback may be headed down the same path.

Logan Gray was football player of the year in Missouri and a highly respected basketball player who held offers from places like Drake and Creighton. A four-star quarterback from the Midwest, Gray had his pick of Division I schools offering scholarships. He could have easily gone to the pass-happy Big XII conference but he chose a top SEC school to play his college ball instead. After the 2008 season, it was clear who would get the first chance to start since Joe Cox waited patiently for four years like DJ Shockley. However, it should have been clear who would eventually take over the reins. So far, that hasn't happened. While Joe Cox isn't a terrible quarterback and he's shown to be very efficient under center, he's certainly beatable. He doesn't possess the great arm, he isn't mobile, he doesn't have a Drew Bledsoe frame, and the jury is still deliberating whether or not he can make good decisions during the game. If you were recruited with the hype of Logan Gray, you would expect to have developed and beaten a 3-star quarterback by now.

Because he can't beat out Joe Cox, the window for Logan Gray is starting to narrow just like it did for Blake Barnes. He couldn't beat out a fifth year senior in Joe Cox, just like Barnes couldn't beat out Shockley, and next year will be eerily similar to 2006 as Aaron Murray is expected to ascend to the top of the depth chart. As most of you know, Aaron Murray received many of the same accolades Matthew Stafford received out of high school. He is a prized recruit who some analysts said was the best high school quarterback in the country, just like Stafford. Logan Gray is now caught in the middle and could be "Barnes Bound" if he does not do something quickly. Maybe he's good enough to play in most other programs. I'm inclined to think he isn't good enough to beat Joe Cox, so what makes me think he's going to beat Aaron Murray next year? The time is now for Logan Gray or he may be researching the depth chart at Delta State very soon.