Now the real work begins for these freshmen. And recent history us tells this group — which has multiple 5-star prospects to go along with four other top-150 prospects in the 2022 recruiting cycle — will have to hit the ground sprinting if it is going to make an impact early on in their careers.
Last season saw true freshmen Brock Bowers and AD Mitchell emerge as key contributors for Georgia, with both players catching touchdowns in the national championship game. But unlike those who arrived this week, they each had the benefit of going through spring practice.
The 2021 signing class had only four players who were not early enrollees. While Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Kamari Lassiter were able to impress teammates quickly and positioned themselves to start entering this year, neither started a game for Georgia last season. Their biggest impacts came on special teams and in mop-up duty.
Related: Jamon Dumas-Johnson emerging as next great Georgia football linebacker: ‘I think Pop is going to be special’
It speaks to the talent level on Georgia’s team that players such as Marvin Jones Jr. and Jaheim Singletary, who were both 5-star recruits during the recruiting process, aren’t expected to come in and contribute immediately. Two of the most intriguing talents will play at the outside linebacker position in Jones and 4-star signee Darris Smith. But with Nolan Smith, Robert Beal, MJ Sherman and Chaz Chambliss all back for Georgia, reps will have to be earned for the youngsters in the room.
At cornerback, wide receiver and running back, Georgia gets some much-needed depth that finally gives it enough healthy bodies at the respective positions. Singletary is one of three cornerbacks joining the team, along with Jaheim Singletary and Marcus Washington Jr. Georgia had only four scholarship cornerbacks on the roster during spring practice, with one of them being fellow 2022 signee Daylen Everette.
Of the seven scholarship cornerbacks on Georgia’s, four of them are true freshmen. Lassiter is now considered a veteran when compared to the rest of the position group.
“You think about Daylen Everette, we learned this spring is he can tackle you,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “He’s not afraid of contact. He’s going to be a good football player. We’ve got to get better in the secondary to go where we we’re going to go. We’ve got some guys coming, but we’ve got to get the guys that are here to go to here. That’s our jobs as coaches.”
Branson Robinson and Andrew Paul step in at the running back spots, filling the vacancies left by NFL running backs James Cook and Zamir White. As is the case with outside linebacker, Kendall Milton and Kenny McIntosh are established enough to where the two talented freshmen don’t need to see the field immediately.
Bryan McClendon’s wide receiver room adds Dillon Bell and Cole Speer. Their additions help make up for the transfer portal departures of Jermaine Burton and Justin Robinson, who are now playing at other SEC schools.
Georgia brought in the No. 3 ranked signing class in the 2022 cycle. The Bulldogs brought in a lot of talented players, with most of the class already on campus. The Bulldogs had 18 members of the signing class enroll early, which is believed to be the most for any team in the country.
Smart’s team also has 15 NFL draft picks to replace. While the mid-year enrollees may not emerge as first-team contributors the second they step onto the field, Georgia will ask many of them to help out on special teams. That has been a consistent theme throughout Smart’s tenure and a sign of who is likely to end up taking first-team reps.
But there is still plenty of talent that just got to campus. And odds are they’ll end up emerging as key players for Georgia in the future. Consider that Travon Walker and Jordan Davis, Georgia’s first two players selected from its most recent record-setting draft haul, did not enroll early.
Full list of Georgia football mid-year enrollees
- Edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr.
- Cornerback Jaheim Singletary
- Running back Branson Robinson
- Cornerback Julian Humphrey
- Defensive tackle Christen Miller
- Cornerback Marcus Washington
- Edge rusher Darris Smith
- Wide receiver Dillon Bell
- Linebacker EJ Lightsey
- Running back Andrew Paul
- Offensive lineman Drew Bobo
- Wide receiver Cole Speer
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