ATHENS — Georgia coaches believe tight end Orson Charles can be the team's next leading receiver.
Saturday night's final regular-season game against Georgia Tech was the perfect time for Charles to enter his bid to fill that role in 2011.
Junior receiver A.J. Green, regarded as one of the nation's top players at his position, is projected as a first-round pick if he enters the NFL draft next year.
Charles had a 31-yard touchdown catch from Aaron Murray near the end of the first quarter and added a 35-yard catch early in the second quarter.
Charles, a sophomore, entered the game with 22 catches for 336 yards and only one touchdown. Bigger numbers are expected from Charles, who was Murray's high school teammate at Plant High in Tampa, Fla., and like the quarterback was a highly ranked recruit.
At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Charles is small for a tight end but is a difficult matchup for safeties or linebackers.
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has compared Charles to former Denver Broncos standout Shannon Sharpe.
"He reminds me a lot of Sharpe," Bobo said. "He wasn't overly big but ended up making himself a very good blocker and I think that's what Orson can do."
Bobo said recently he has no doubt Charles can become a top target for Murray.
"We've always thought that about Orson," Bobo said. "He has that kind of ability. It's just trying to make him a complete tight end in the run game and the passing game. He's getting there. He's still a young guy. ... We feel like he has the potential to be one of the best who has ever played here at that position."
Some recent Georgia tight ends to play in the NFL include Leonard Pope, Ben Watson, Jermaine Wiggins and Randy McMichael.
COIN TOSS: Incoming Gov. Nathan Deal handled the pregame coin toss, a fitting role considering the Governor's Cup Trophy is awarded to the winner of the game for state bragging rights.
Deal received a warm reception from the crowd dominated by Georgia fans. Georgia Tech won the toss and deferred to the second half.
Gov. Sonny Perdue, a former Georgia walk-on player, watched the game from University of Georgia president Michael Adams' private box.
SCOUTING: There were representatives from the Independence, Liberty, Gator and Chick-fil-A bowl games in the press box.
The Independence Bowl, played on Dec. 27 in Shreveport, La., has interest in Georgia Tech. The bowl has the seventh pick of Atlantic Coast Conference teams.
Georgia Tech is bowl-eligible for the 14th consecutive season. Georgia needed a win Saturday night to become bowl-eligible for the 14th straight year.
The Liberty Bowl, played on Dec. 31 in Memphis, Tenn., has the eighth or ninth pick of Southeastern Conference teams and has interest in Georgia.
The New Year's Day Gator Bowl matches the No. 6 SEC team against the fourth or fifth pick from the Big Ten. The Chick-fil-A Bowl, played on Dec. 31 in Atlanta, draws the ACC's No. 2 team against the fifth selection from the SEC.
DOBBS HURT: Georgia defensive end Demarcus Dobbs left the game with 7:29 remaining in the first half with an injury to his right elbow. Dobbs was escorted to the locker room and did not return.
BANKS BACK IN UNIFORM: A different Georgia player has worn No. 31 each week in honor of safety Quintin Banks, who was forced to retire before the season due to recurring knee injuries. Banks now is serving as a student coach but was back in his No. 31 on Saturday night so he could be recognized before the game with other Georgia seniors.