ATHENS — The faces and the names change, and the nuances of the offensive and defensive schemes shift annually, but the “G” remains the same for Georgia football.
Part of the magic of college football is the connection and affinity fans have with the different players as they cycle through.
The 2021 team, like those before it, has a mix of veterans, returning players moving up the depth chart and newcomers eager to burst on the scene and make an immediate impact.
There are new names to watch for in each position group, and not necessarily because they are going to be starting.
Some players are more intriguing than others, from the standpoint of where they are at in their development, or what their expectations were when they arrived.
Here are the most intriguing players in each position group on offense approaching the midway point of spring drill this week:
Quarterback: Carson Beck
Will Beck the next man up at quarterback by the start of the season?
Beck has made strides having a fall season of practice reps behind him and now some spring practices. Stetson Bennett has an obvious advantage with his experience and proven savvy.
The jury is out on how quickly rifle-armed incoming freshman Brock Vandagriff can grasp UGA’s Pro Style offense.
Remember, All-Time SEC passing leader and former UGA player Aaron Murray reported last fall that Beck looked better than any other Bulldogs’ quarterback during a scrimmage.
The guess here is Beck will look very good in the G-Day Game in April.
Running back: Daijun Edwards
Edwards showed running skills in his limited opportunities last season and is among those who will get more spring work with Kenny McIntosh sidelined for the duration of spring drills on account of a dislocated elbow.
Edwards has just enough power and speed — and runs with a slippery style that prevents teams from getting clean shots — to believe he could be factor. Departing senior captain Monty Rice said Edwards is a player to keep an eye on.
Receiver: Justin Robinson
Jermaine Burton takes over as WR1 with George Pickens sidelined indefinitely by a torn ACL, but the 6-4, 220-Robinson has the size and potential to be a difference-making player if he can maintain his intensity.
Robinson has great toughness and the sort of physicality Kirby Smart likes to see from his receivers on the perimeter. One UGA staple is to have receivers who are skilled and physical enough to block and spring home runs. Robinson can catch and block, but to what extent remains to be seen.
Tight end: Brock Bowers
When Smart was asked about the offensive plans moving forward without Pickens, he said it would be more than just a receiver issue, and the first of the skill position players he named was Bowers.
The true freshman tight end from California has impressed in workouts, even while he needs to get better with his route running and consistency. Bowers has a legit chance to make impact plays this season.
Offensive line: Broderick Jones
There’s a lot of talent and potential in the UGA offensive line meeting room, and Jones (6-4, 315) has the sort of talent and footwork that has led many to believe he could be a future NFL first-round pick.
Right now, however, Jones is fighting just to get in the starting lineup entering his second year, and there’s going to be a big push behind him from fellow 5-star Amarius Mims (6-7, 330).
2020 Freshman All-American Warren McClendon doesn’t plan on losing his starting job at right tackle, and redshirt sophomore Xavier Truss wants to build on his start at left tackle in the bowl game.
Time will tell if Jones has the power, strength and knowledge of the playbook to start his second season.
The most intriguing Georgia football players on defense.