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"Branden and Brandon Show" coming to a stadium near you.


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By Tim Tucker

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Athens — Call it the “Branden and Brandon Show.” It debuted at the University of Georgia last week, starting what should be a run of several years.

Branden Smith and Brandon Boykin — two speedy cornerbacks whose talents transcend their primary positions — are one year apart in school, one number apart on their jerseys and one vowel apart in spelling their first names.

And they are even more closely connected in their potential as impact players for Georgia’s football team.

Smith, a freshman from Atlanta who wears No. 1, and Boykin, a sophomore from Fayetteville who wears No. 2, were quite the 1-2 punch for the Bulldogs in last week’s win over South Carolina.

Smith sprinted 61 yards untouched on a reverse for his first college touchdown and returned a kickoff 48 yards, while Boykin had four kickoff returns totaling 187 yards, including a scintillating 100-yarder for a touchdown.

Stars were born.

“Around campus, people [are] asking for autographs and everything,” Smith said Tuesday. “It has been kind of weird.”

Inside the team, their talents were well known before last week.

Smith was a two-way player at Atlanta’s Washington High — “I never got off the field” — and ran the fifth fastest 100-meter dash in Georgia prep history (10.4). He had offers from about 50 colleges before signing with the Bulldogs this year.

“That was one of the big celebrations we had in the recruiting war, the day he said he was coming,” coach Mark Richt said. “I knew we were going to get him involved [right away], not only on defense but on some special teams and some offensive plays. I think his role will only grow as time goes on.”

“Once he gets experience and gets bigger and stronger and learns everything to do,” Boykin said of Smith, “he’ll be a great, great player — kind of like Champ Bailey playing both sides of the ball.”

Smith, currently a No. 2 cornerback, has played just three snaps on offense in each of the first two games because “we don’t have that many plays for him right now,” quarterback Joe Cox said. But each time Smith takes the field on offense, fans — and opponents — take note.

“He can line up anywhere on the field,” Cox said. “He can do a lot of things. He’s just a whole ‘nother element somebody has to worry about.”

Boykin, meanwhile, had a strong spring practice to win the starting cornerback job vacated by Asher Allen’s early departure to the NFL and this summer, he claimed a share of kickoff return duties as well.

“I wish we had about three of him,” Richt said of Boykin. “He can do so much. And he’s a Georgia boy who loves the Dogs and always did and you just love guys like that.

“One other thing I love about him,” Richt added. “After [pregame warm-ups], he comes running toward me and he’ll do this vertical jump up to about my eyes. His feet come up that high. It’s amazing how high he can jump. We’ve got to find a way to use that, too.”

Boykin got his first collegiate interception on Saturday, as well as returning the four kickoffs and scoring on the longest touchdown play by a Bulldog in Sanford Stadium history — the 100-yard return.

“I woke up [sunday] morning and it was still surreal to me, the whole experience,” Boykin said. “I was looking at it on ESPN360. ... I just kept rewinding it and rewinding it. I was, like, ‘Did that really just happen?’ ”

Smith also has been used on kickoff returns in the first two games. He returned two against South Carolina, fumbling the first unprovoked on the 5-yard line — “a freshman mistake,” he said — before redeeming himself with the 48-yard return on the second.

You’ll be seeing much more of Branden and Brandon, although sometimes it’ll be a blur.

As for which is faster, Boykin concedes to Smith — sort of.

“Straight away, he’s got it,” Boykin said. “Put some moves in and I think I can do my thing.”

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Definitely rising stars.

Smith looks to be a bit in the same mold as Champ Bailey and Hines Ward with his versatility.... but I think he's faster than either of those guys ever were. Let's hope he can mature into a great player.

And I've had my eyes on Boykin ever since you posted that thread about the Dawgs lifting all the weight and him looking jacked. He's got room to grow but he's already beginning to pick up where Allen left off. Hopefully he continues to grow and mature as a player. We lost great players in our secondary 2 years in a row with Oliver and Allen departing. Reshad Jones is gonna be big... still not sure about Evans or Cuff. I think Boykin will be big for us too.

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Definitely rising stars.

Smith looks to be a bit in the same mold as Champ Bailey and Hines Ward with his versatility.... but I think he's faster than either of those guys ever were. Let's hope he can mature into a great player.

And I've had my eyes on Boykin ever since you posted that thread about the Dawgs lifting all the weight and him looking jacked. He's got room to grow but he's already beginning to pick up where Allen left off. Hopefully he continues to grow and mature as a player. We lost great players in our secondary 2 years in a row with Oliver and Allen departing. Reshad Jones is gonna be big... still not sure about Evans or Cuff. I think Boykin will be big for us too.

they could be the two best corners we have had in athens in some time... depending on how they develop.. one thing we aren't hurting for is speed back there.

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well, the uga journalism school is like a feeder system for the ajc, hence all of our great hometown journalism. branden and brandon should have vetoed that name immediately.

:lol: :lol: Horrible try. You completely failed on your last attempt so then you reach horribly above, read the article. How about focus on two great young players who are really going to be a terrific duo while at UGA instead of the other junk. I am sure you are rooting for them.

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:lol: :lol: Horrible try. You completely failed on your last attempt so then you reach horribly above, read the article. How about focus on two great young players who are really going to be a terrific duo while at UGA instead of the other junk. I am sure you are rooting for them.

i wouldnt say that that was a horrible reach at all.. if you compare the articles covering both schools its obvious that the ajc definitely takes a pro-uga slant.

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