Brown’s college career ends with ACL injury

Marlon Brown’s best season at Georgia has come to an abrupt end along with his college career.

The senior receiver, tied for the team lead in receptions, sustained an ACL injury to his left knee in Saturday’s 37-10 win against Ole Miss, coach Mark Richt confirmed Sunday night.

“His career at Georgia is over,” Richt said. “We’re expecting a full recovery. That’s just an injury that people recover from well. We know he’ll continue on with his pro career. I think he was well on his way for having that happen for him.”

Brown, a 6-foot-5, 216-pound Memphis, Tenn., native, will undergo surgery at a still-to-be-determined date. The injury was confirmed by an MRI on Saturday night.

“We’re very sad and sorry that it happened for Marlon and for Georgia,” Richt said. “He’ll recover. He’ll do fine. It’s just a hard thing to swallow right now.”

Brown set career highs this season with 27 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns. He had three catches for 113 yards against Ole Miss, including a 66-yard touchdown on a pass from Aaron Murray.

“God never puts you thru something he doesn’t think you can handle,” Brown tweeted Sunday night. “I’m still very blessed and love you guys. Thanks for the prayers #godawgs”

Brown was injured on a 30-yard reception in the third quarter at the end of a play in which Ole Miss safety Trae Elston went low to make the tackle and hit Brown with his helmet on the left knee. Richt said after the game that the play by Elston “looked legal” and said Sunday that he hadn’t studied the film.

“We didn’t just sit there and labor over that,” Richt said.

Brown is the second Georgia receiver to be lost for the season with an ACL injury.

Michael Bennett, who was the team’s leading receiver at the time, was injured in a practice the week of the South Carolina game in early October.

Fifth-ranked Georgia (8-1, 6-1 SEC) is preparing to play Auburn (2-7, 0-6 SEC) Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. A victory sends the Bulldogs to the SEC title game.

“We still have some playmakers,” Richt said. “There’s still guys that can do it, but Marlon and Michael were just two outstanding football players. At the time of the injuries, they were both leading the team in receptions, and they actually have a nice physiciality to them as well at that position. We’ll miss that. Other guys are just going to have to step up and get after it.”

Georgia’s top receivers now include Tavarres King (tied for the team lead in receptions with Brown), Malcolm Mitchell and Rantavious Wooten. Chris Conley, Rhett McGowan, Justin Scott-Wesley and Taylor Bradberry round out the position.

“Wooten has made plays for us and I’m sure he’ll get more work because of it,” Richt said. “Guys will probably just get more opportunities that we’re getting maybe a few opportunities., but still playing. Guys that weren’t playing might need to get in there and get some reps in there to keep everybody fresh.”

Richt said turning to Blake Tibbs isn’t in the plans for this year.

“I’m not interested in that,” Richt said of the freshman who is on track to redshirt. “Somebody would have to convince me of that one. I don’t think we’ll go there.”

Brown, a prize recruit in the Georgia’s 2009 signing class who was ranked as the nation’s No. 2 receiver recruit by Scout.com, finishes his Bulldogs career with 55 catches for 851 yards and eight touchdowns.

Richt indicated that Brown is handling the news of his injury as best as could be expected.

“Marlon’s a man now,” Richt said. “He’s not a boy anymore, he’s a man. He understands that’s part of life. He’ll do what he has to do to rehab and get well.”

Notes: The Bulldogs moved up to No. 5 Sunday night in the BCS standings. Georgia is the highest ranked one-loss team in the BCS, USA Today Coaches’, Associated Press and Harris polls. Georgia moved up two spots Sunday in the AP poll to No. 5, where it is tied with Ohio State. …Richt said that offensive guard Chris Burnette is “day to day” with a shoulder injury. …Auburn coach Gene Chizik said freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace will start against Georgia after making his first start in a 42-7 win Saturday against New Mexico State. Wallace completed 9 of 16 passes for 164 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also rushed for nine yards on three carries. “I think he’ll gain more confidence as the games go on and he gets a little bit more playing time,” Chizik said. “I think the spark that he can bring to our football team with some things that he can do and obviously improve on I think will be big as we move forward.”

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