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Verdun Wheeler looks forward to senior season

The senior year is a college athlete's last chance to prove his ability to succeed at the next level of his sport.

Danny Verdun Wheeler is no different, but he said that he still has contributions and achievements left at the college level.

"I want to go out and help this team play on a championship level," Verdun Wheeler said.

He is referring to the University of Georgia Bulldogs, and the former Thomson Bulldog has achieved moderate success there already.

He has received playing time all three seasons at each of the linebacker positions, including many starts.

Despite the involvement he has already had in the defense, Verdun Wheeler wants to make an even bigger impact on the field this year.

"When you see 42, he will be around the ball at all times," he said.

His commitment to be a more influential part of the Dawgs' defensive efforts has faced a major obstacle this off season in the form of surgery to repair a ligament tear in his wrist.

The injury dates back to sometime last season, but Verdun Wheeler waited until the end of the season to have the necessary reconstructive operation.

"It's just getting back to where it's ready now," he said.

If Verdun Wheeler's recovery continues to go well, he will start at strong side linebacker this year, a welcome change from the rotational playing time he has gotten in the past.

"I'm just working my butt off now to get back starting," he said.

The Bulldogs are predicted to finish third or fourth in the eastern division of the Southeastern Conference by many publications, much like they were last year.

In the 2005 campaign, the team went on to win that division and the conference before losing to West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl.

According to Verdun Wheeler, the team's goals have not been lowered for this season.

"We feel like we can get to the SEC Championship and win," he said. "Then we'll see what goes on with the BCS and maybe go for a national championship."

Web posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2006

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