0

Massaquoi happy to give Green spotlight

ATHENS - Let A.J. Green have all the attention. Mohamed Massaquoi doesn't mind a bit.

Green, Georgia's super freshman, wasted no time establishing himself as one of the top receivers in the Southeastern Conference. Heading into Saturday's game at Auburn, the guy who's been compared to Randy Moss for his size, hands and speed ranks fourth in the league with 46 catches and leads in receiving yards (806).

With Green making one spectacular catch after another, it's easy to forget that Massaquoi is having the best year of his career. The senior is just behind his teammate in the conference rankings with 41 catches and holds down third in receiving yards with 669.

Coach Mark Richt gives Massaquoi much of the credit for Green's quick development through a team concept known as 'Brother's Keeper.'

'That's where we have a veteran take a young guy under his wing. A.J. was his player,' Richt said. 'It was kind of natural. He's helped A.J. tremendously.'

Massaquoi never fretted about the possibility of a talented freshman taking away some of the headlines that might have come his way as a senior.

'You don't play this game for accolades or to get the spotlight,' he said. 'You play this game because you enjoy it. You play this game because you have pride in your school. I'm always going to be a Georgia Bulldog. I'll always want to see Georgia do great things. I'll always root for whoever plays for us.'

Richt appreciates the senior's unselfishness, which he said was never more apparent than in a 49-10 loss to Florida. After an interception, Massaquoi hustled to make the tackle at the Georgia 1, even though his effort had no bearing on the outcome of the game.

'Everyone was running, but Mohamed was really running,' Richt said. 'He was determined to make that play. That is one example of a guy who cares.'

Having Green on the opposite side actually seems to have benefited Massaquoi, whose production had been on the decline the last two seasons. He managed only 30 receptions as a sophomore and 32 last season, both shy of the solid numbers (38 receptions for 505 yards) he put up as a freshman.

With so many teams shading their coverage toward Green, Massaquoi has found it easier to get open. When you throw an experienced quarterback (Matthew Stafford) and a star running back (Knowshon Moreno) into the equation, Richt believes this is the best group of skill position players he's had in eight years as the Bulldogs' coach.

Massaquoi has played a major role in the offensive success, even if he does get overshadowed.

'I'm just enjoying the journey and everything that comes with it,' he said. 'The people I've had a chance to meet, the education I've had a chance to get, and all the opportunities I've had a chance to be a part of.'

Spoken like a true leader.