Georgia is going to be without its best defensive lineman in Jalen Carter for the time being. The talented defensive tackle was injured in Georgia’s 26-22 win over Missouri, exiting the game in the second quarter with an MCL injury.
Carter is easily Georgia’s most talented defensive lineman, especially when it comes to pressuring the passer. In addition to his stellar run defense, the Bulldogs are going to look need to find someone else who can create pressure from the middle of the defense.
That person might be a bear. To be more clear, freshman defensive lineman Bear Alexander.
Related: Jalen Carter unlikely to play against Auburn following MCL injury
“When he knows what he’s doing he can be as disruptive as Jalen sometimes,” defensive lineman Zion Logue said. “When he finds out and learns the defense a little bit more he’s going to be really good.”
Georgia has brought Alexander along slowly to start his career. He arrived at Georgia as the No. 50 overall player in the 2022 signing class, a major recruiting win for defensive line coach Tray Scott.
But his initial development was slowed by a shoulder injury that required surgery. So while Mykel Williams — a similarly talented freshman — was able to go through spring practice, Alexander had to rehab and recover.
Alexander, once healthy, has been able to make steady progress throughout his freshman season. He’s made the travel roster for both of Georgia’s first two road games. He found his way onto the stat sheet with a pass deflection in the win over Kent State.
He also took Carter’s spot as the goal-line fullback against the Golden Flashes. It wouldn’t be fair to Alexander to compare him to Carter, but Georgia clearly has big plans for the freshman defensive tackle.
With Carter currently on the mend, those plans will likely be accelerated. Starting this week against the rival Auburn Tigers.
Related: 3 things: Georgia re-creating identity with Jalen Carter out, offensive efficiency sputtering
“He has progressed slowly,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said prior to the game against Missouri. “He has evolved and gotten better just like we want all our guys to do. He’s also gotten a little more opportunity because of injuries to other people.”
Growth is rarely linear in football, but Alexander continues to get better with each practice. It speaks to his ability to soak up what he’s being told and then go out and execute.
“He’s a talented player,” Tramel Walthour said. “Coachable, has quick hands, he’s going to be a great player here. He just has to keep developing.”
Alexander can’t replace Carter on his own. No one can. Georgia will look to Warren Brinson, Nazir Stackhouse and Logue to play more snaps on the inside of the defensive line. It’s also curious to note that Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins did not play in the game against Missouri, though he did make the trip.
This will be a big week for Alexander. Logue told reporters that the freshman still has time to learn the ins-and-outs of being a successful college football player. The veteran was likely referencing the multiple years Alexander still has in the Georgia program.
But the time to be a bigger piece of the Georgia defensive line rotation has arrived.
“In his progression, he’s practiced against better people every day,” Smart said. “He goes against our offensive line. So the number one way to create value is go against really good people and prove you can compete at a high level and you can sustain that level. Last week was his best week of doing that. Now, what will he do this week, how will he respond to it? I don’t know.”
Bear Alexander earns praise from Georgia football defensive linemen
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