ATHENS — The outside linebacker position has attracted plenty of attention this spring for the Bulldogs.

Shuffling Mykel Williams, Jalon Walker and Joseph Jonah-Ajoyne into the position will do that. Georgia also brings back starter Chaz Chambliss.

But perhaps the most interesting player to monitor this spring at the position is sophomore Damon Wilson. And the early returns for the sophomore pass rusher have been promising.

“Damon is growing as a leader and as a successful young man” Walker said. “He brings a lot of energy. He brings a great heart to the outside backer room, great athlete. I just can’t wait to watch him grow throughout the spring still.”

Wilson is in a much different place now compared to where he was when he first arrived last spring. Not just mentally, but physically as well.

He’s beefed up from 230 pounds to 240 pounds. He’s obviously bigger, like going from a mid-size SUV to a lifted pick-up truck.

“He’s putting more muscle on his frame,” Chambliss said. “Obviously it allows him to do more stuff in the run game, being able to set more edges. Mentally he’s been able to take what we do as a defense and expand his mind to not just his pass rush but also coverage and in the run game doing stunts.”

In addition to a better body, Wilson also has a more clear path to the field. The Bulldogs saw three outside linebackers transfer out of the program this offseason, including former 5-star prospect Marvin Jones Jr.

Wilson had a modest freshman season, appearing in 12 games for the Bulldogs. His lone sack came in the team’s win over Florida.

Georgia didn’t get a fully healthy Wilson in 2023, as he missed the team’s bowl practices and game due to meniscus surgery. The missed bowl practices were more detrimental than the game, given it is a time for young players like Wilson to really grow and develop.

That injury though hasn’t carried over into the 2024 season. He’s been full go at practice thus far and certainly looks the part of someone who was both a 5-star prospect and also capable of playing a bigger role for the Bulldogs in the 2024 season.

“I think that there’s a lot of ability in that room, guys that are going to step up,” Georgia defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann said prior to the Orange Bowl. “When there’s opportunity to step up, the guys who take advantage of it, they’ll be the ones that are out there, as far as moving forward.”

For as intriguing as Williams, Walker and Jonah-Ajonye might be at the outside linebacker position, they’ll almost certainly be used there in pass-rushing situations.

The hope for Wilson is that he can become an every-down option for the Bulldogs at the position. And with another year under his belt, the hope is that he can become a stalwart at the position for Georgia moving forward.