As it turned out, the bulked-up Dunlap was just a year older than the lanky Bulldogs receiver.
“I’ve been playing against that guy since the sixth grade,” Green said. “I remember seeing how big he was and saying, ‘Man, this guy is huge. He’s not my age.’”
Dunlap and Green grew up near each other in South Carolina and were rivals throughout their careers, playing against each other in grade school and high school on both the football field and the basketball court. During one game in high school, Dunlap’s coach even split him out at cornerback to try to defend the speedy Green – a move that didn’t exactly pay off.
“It was a game at home, a rivalry, a sold-out game,” Green said. “He came over and tried to jam me one time. If he had gotten his hands on me, he probably would have knocked me down, but he didn’t get his hands on me.”
Instead, Green raced by Dunlap, and the two have been going back-and-forth ever since.
But while their on-field rivalry is intense, Green said the two are good friends away from the game and talk on a regular basis about their roles with their teams and their roles in the community.
“We were the face of South Carolina, and a lot of people, a lot of kids look up to us,” Green said.
Through seven games, Florida has yet to allow even a single punt-return yard to its opponents behind punter Chas Henry, making the Gators a worthy adversary for Georgia punter Drew Butler, who leads the nation in punting average. With those statistics, Mark Richt said field position will be tough to come by.
“Chas Henry is fantastic,” Richt said. “He can easily get a five-second hang time, and when you get that hang time, you’re not going to return it.”
Of course, punting is just one aspect of the special teams, and Richt said it will be incumbent upon the Bulldogs to win more than just one of those battles.
Last year, a botched on-side kick led to a Florida touchdown, while kicker Blair Walsh missed three field-goal tries for the Bulldogs in a loss. This season, however, Walsh is among the best kickers in the country, and Georgia’s special teams have provided a number of highlights that have Richt convinced Georgia could be in for a successful day Saturday.
“It’s a situation where you’re going against one of the better special teams teams in the league and in the country,” Richt said. “It’ll be a challenge, but we’ve had a lot more good than bad in my opinion on our special teams, and I think we’re moving in a very good direction.”