ATHENS — All signs point to Julian Rochester being able to play in Georgia’s season opener. All signs are also pointing to him playing very early.
Up until recently, Rochester’s short time at Georgia has been most notable for the BB gun incident, when he and then-teammate Chad Clay were charged with a couple felonies for allegedly shooting BBs in their dorm room. Clay was dismissed later for an unrelated offense.
Rochester, on the other hand, has done everything he’s supposed to do, and with the charges on the verge of being knocked down, the focus can be on football. And lately, Rochester is very much looking like the highly-rated defensive lineman he was advertised to be when he enrolled this spring.
Georgia senior center Brandon Kublanow was asked after Tuesday’s practice if any defensive lineman had really impressed him. He had an immediate answer.
“Julian Rochester’s done a great job,” Kublanow said. “He came in the spring, was kind of out of shape, had an amazing summer. Got in really good shape. I think he’s done an amazing job. This fall he’s listening to everyone. I’m hoping for big things for Julian.”
Rochester has dropped 23 pounds over the spring and summer, according to junior inside linebacker Reggie Carter. That’s helped him move around while not taking away his strength.
“We’re getting Julian ready to play,” head coach Kirby Smart said after the team’s first scrimmage. “Julian’s a guy that’s going to provide great depth for us. He’s lost a lot of weight, worked really hard, made a 3.0 last semester. Julian’s been a guy that’s done anything we’ve asked of him since his incident. I’m really proud of what he’s doing out there.”