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Verdun Wheeler ready for season

Thomson's Danny Verdun Wheeler's playing future is looking bright.

The University of Georgia sophomore should see significant playing time this year as a Bulldog.

All-SEC Linebacker Odell Thurman has been suspended by Coach Mark Richt for the season's first three games for violating an undisclosed team rule. Add that to the season-ending knee injury suffered by Tony Taylor in the spring's G-Day game and Verdun Wheeler will clearly be in the starting lineup against Georgia Southern on Sept. 4.

Danny was already listed on the depth chart at the top of the Will Linebacker rotation, so the only question remaining is how much shuffling will the Dogs do. Senior Arnold Harrison from Josey High School, Junior Derrick White and Verdun Wheeler are the only other linebackers on the roster with significant playing experience that will be available on opening day. Reports out of Athens say Verdun Wheeler and Jarvis Jackson will compete for weakside linebacker.

Georgia's coaching staff is high on Verdun Wheeler.

"We have to get him on the field," Bulldog defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder told The Athens-Banner Herald last week, prior to Thurman's suspension.

Verdun Wheeler is primed for the season following an outstanding spring practice when he was honored as the team's Most Improved Linebacker. Fall practice got underway for the fourth-ranked Bulldogs on Monday.

"It was a long day but the whole team was moving well and the coaches seemed satisfied," he said of the first day. "The coaches are stressing that we've got a lot to cover in a short time."

A footnote to the Georgia-Georgia Southern opener that is of interest to Thomson High fans is that the anticipated match-up between Verdun Wheeler and 2002 quarterback Deon Palmer will not occur. Palmer has transferred to the University of Louisville and will have to sit out this year per NCAA rules. He is listed as a cornerback on the Cardinals' depth chart.



Web posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004


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