Georgia football-wide receivers-2022
1/10/22 - Indianapolis - Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Adonai Mitchell (5) makes a 40 yard TD reception in the fourth quarter at the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Monday, January 10, 2022. Bob Andres / robert.andres@ajc.com

What Georgia football needs out of its 2022 wide receiver room after departure of Jermaine Burton

With Jermaine Burton officially off to Alabama, we have a better idea of what Georgia will have at its wide receiver position next season.

The group is still without a position coach at the moment as Cortez Hankton is coaching at LSU. But there is reason for optimism with the group. The position was snake-bitten with injuries throughout the season, which allowed some young players to emerge. Should those injured players return and maintain full health, there is still some significant talent for Georgia’s quarterbacks to throw to.

Related: Jermaine Burton transfer shows why Kirby Smart, Nick Saban warned others about transfer portal

It’s also worth pointing out here that Georgia may have the best tight end room in the country, as the Bulldogs bring back Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington. Georgia signed 4-star prospect Oscar Delp as well, who will look to help the passing game.

But Georgia will still need its wide receivers to take a step forward next season, especially with all the Bulldogs must replace on the defensive side of the ball. With regression coming, Georgia’s offense will need to improve in 2022 if it is to repeat as National Champion.

Stepping up as sophomores

Expectations were not high for Ladd McConkey and AD Mitchell when they arrived at Georgia. But both pretty quickly outplayed their respective recruiting rankings and made big plays throughout the year for Georgia.

The biggest reason as to why is likely because of their availability. Both played in every game for Georgia, which can’t be said for most of the returning wide receivers.

McConkey finished the season with 31 receptions for 447 yards and five touchdowns. The best game of his redshirt freshman season came against Auburn, when he finished with five receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. McConkey also has some positional versatility, which allowed Georgia to use him on sweeps and reverses this season as well.

Mitchell ended his freshman campaign with 29 receptions for 426 yards and four touchdowns. He battled drops at times this season, an area he can clearly work on in the offseason.

Related: What transfer decision of Jermaine Burton really says about Georgia football wide receiver room

Statistically, Jackson had the most productive 2021 as he caught 16 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown.

We should also mention Arik Gilbert here as well. After arriving with much fanfare last summer, Gilbert stepped away from the team in August. He was spotted with Georgia’s team during the championship celebration and is enrolled at Georgia. As a freshman at LSU, Gilbert caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns in eight games.

If Georgia is able to get healthy seasons from the five listed wide receivers, there is certainly enough talent among the group to help boost Georgia’s passing game.

Mystery box

Among this group is rising sophomore Jackson Meeks along with three 2022 signees in Chandler Smith, De’Nylon Morrissette and Cole Speer. The Bulldogs also hold a commitment from 3-star wide receiver Dillon Bell, who intends to sign with Georgia on Feb. 2.

Of the incoming freshmen, Morrissette and Smith have the best chance to contribute early as both have already enrolled at Georgia. In each of the past three seasons, the Bulldogs have had a true freshman finish with at least 400 receiving yards.

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