ATHENS — This time a year ago, Broderick Jones was trying to push his way into the Georgia starting lineup. The former 5-star prospect was one of the more intriguing players in fall camp, and his upside could help improve an offensive line that struggled at a time in 2020.
Even with the success Jones found at the end of the 2021 season, he still enters the 2022 season with the same goal and mindset.
“I still feel like I haven’t accomplished anything here at Georgia because I’m trying to start from day one,” Jones said. “I want to be able to be in that starting lineup from day one, game one all the way up until whenever we’re done, you know, and I feel like I’m able to do that.”
Jones didn’t earn his first real playing time until Jamaree Salyer went down with an injury against Auburn. The redshirt sophomore ended up starting four games for Georgia last season while Salyer dealt with a late-season injury, earning Jones valuable reps. But his most significant moment came in the national championship game, when he was inserted into the game at left tackle and Salyer was bumped to guard in the second quarter.
Georgia’s offense began to run the ball with better consistency while giving Stetson Bennett just enough time to make the plays he needed to in order for the Bulldogs to win their first championship since 1980.
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Entering this season, Jones is the unquestioned starter at left tackle for the Bulldogs. It comes on the heels of a strong spring and summer, with Georgia coach Kirby Smart feeling much better about the state of Georgia’s offensive tackles.
“I feel great about the depth at tackle,” Smart said. “We’ll probably be more concerned about guard than tackle. If I had to pick one, I mean, we’ve got two guys who have played winning football consistently. But I feel good about the tackles we have.”
With Jones and Warren McClendon, the Bulldogs very well might have the best set of offensive tackles in the SEC. In a way it hasn’t been for much of Jones’ time at Georgia, the offensive line is really set up to be a strength this year.
And the uber-athletic tackle is a big reason why.
“I feel like the o-line is, you know, we’re still progressing, but we have an amazing unit,” Jones said. “We’ve got a lot of talent, a lot of physicality, a lot of skillsets going on. I just feel like everybody on the o-line can contribute at any time and at any position.”
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Jones also demonstrated maturity when speaking to reporters on Tuesday night. Smart consistently challenges him to be a leader for this Georgia team, including doing so over the loudspeaker at a recent Georgia practice. That is often the case with the best players on this Georgia team, considering Salyer filled that role for Georgia last season.
Georgia’s new, full-time left tackle is eager to take on those responsibilities, as past left tackles such as Salyer and Andrew Thomas have done before him. All three of Georgia’s previous left tackles are all in the NFL at this point and Jones is likely to join them at some point.
But that comes later. Right now, Jones wants to be the best version of himself when Georgia takes the field against Oregon on Sept. 3.
“Just pushing myself to be better,” Jones said. “I’m working toward the season because it’s right around the corner so you know I’m pushing myself to be the best version of me that I can as a left tackle and as a leader of the team.”
Georgia football offensive tackle Broderick Jones eager to be Georgia’s starting left tackle against Oregon
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