Brock Bowers-Georgia football-Todd Hartley
Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton (7), Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) during the Bulldogs’ game against Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Todd Hartley earns praise for development of star Georgia tight end Brock Bowers

Todd Monken wanted to make sure a different Todd on the Georgia staff got the proper recognition for the emergence of Brock Bowers this year.

“He’s continued to develop – Coach Hartley deserves a lot of credit, one for recruiting him; two, for developing him,” Monken said on a Wednesday Zoom press conference.

Hartley received additional recognition on Wednesday when Football Scoop named him the Tight Ends Coach of the Year. Hartley was hired onto the Georgia staff after the 2018 season and drastically elevated the position at Georgia. While Bowers is the brightest star in the room, Darnell Washington and John FitzPatrick are also key contributors on this Georgia team.

The future also looks bright for the tight end room, with Hartley securing commitments from 2022 4-star tight end Oscar Delp and 2023 4-star tight end Pearce Spurlin. Both figure to build off what Bowers has done his season for Georgia.

With the help of Hartley, Bowers shattered records in his freshman season. The Napa, Calif., native already has the school record for touchdown catches in a season with 12. His 52 receptions and 846 yards are the most of any player since Kirby Smart became head coach.

“We’ve just tried to continually move him around, put him in position to make plays. He’s embraced that. He works awfully hard,” Monken said of Bowers. “He has a lot more to do with what we do in terms of how he works and how he prepares than I’ve had to do with his progression, and that’s just because of the way he’s wired.”

Teammate Kearis Jackson compared him to Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, while Alabama linebacker Henry To’oto’o called him a tremendous player.

The Alabama defense struggled to contain Bowers the first time the two teams met, as he caught 10 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. He was one of the few bright spots for Georgia on an otherwise disappointing day.

“Having a tight end like him has been a huge addition to the team,” Jackson said. “The play versus Bama in the SEC Championship game, he caught the ball, felt like, three, four times and ended up scoring. He’s a dog. But he’s been certified in my book and just the way he plays, he’s a dog, that’s all I can say.”

Alabama will know where Bowers is lined up on every play. Of course, Michigan knew that as well and it still didn’t matter. On the opening drive of the game, Bowers caught 3 passes for 51 yards and scored the first touchdown of the game.

It was the start of a very long day for the Michigan defense. It may have been even worse had Bowers been fully healthy, but he has been dealing with a shoulder injury that limited him in the second of the Orange Bowl. Smart expects Bowers to be fine and his usual self when Georgia takes on Alabama in the national championship game.

Related: Kirby Smart updates injury status of Brock Bowers as Nick Saban labels Georgia tight end as ‘one of the premier players in college football’

“Brock’s a headache for the other team. I’m glad he’s on our team,” defensive coordinator Dan Lanning said. “In a lot of ways Brock is like having another wideout out there on the field, obviously. He’s extremely talented, does a great job catching the ball in tough situations.

“I think he’s developed a great amount of trust with Stetson and in the offense. You definitely have to treat him different. You can’t treat him like your standard tight end.”

Brock Bowers earns Travis Kelce comparison from Georgia teammate

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