The entire college football world took notice of Georgia’s dip into the transfer portal. It’s hard not to when the splashy additions are Arik Gilbert and Derion Kendrick.
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Both players were 5-star prospects coming out of high school and have been proven producers at the Power 5 level. Kendrick started 23 games for Clemson over the past two seasons while twice earning All-ACC honors.
Gilbert hauled in 35 passes in just eight games last season. That was more than the rest of Georgia’s tight ends combined.
With Georgia already having one of the top rosters in college football, championship expectations were high for the 2021 season.
Now with two more potential difference-makers in the fold, some in the national media have upped the expectations even more. Georgia has gonna from a possible College Football Playoff team to potentially one of the favorites to win it all.
“There’s absolutely no excuse why Georgia shouldn’t at least win the SEC in 2021, which would, of course, put it in the Playoff, and then we see what happens from there,” Stewart Mandel of The Athletic wrote.
The addition of Kendrick seemed to ease concerns about what had been Georgia’s biggest weakness. Georgia had zero starting experience at the cornerback position prior to Kendrick’s arrival.
Related: Derion Kendrick addition helps Georgia secondary, adds intrigue to Clemson game
Now Georgia doesn’t have to rely on unproven entities in Jalen Kimber and Kelee Ringo as much. Both are likely to still see the field. They’ll just be doing so with Kendrick on it.
“One thing is clear with UGA’s roster: There are no true weaknesses,” Chris Hummer of 247Sports’ wrote. “Will Georgia miss George Pickens? Of course. Does the offensive line have a few questions? It does. Yet after pulling in five straight top 4 recruiting classes, there are no holes.”
The Kendrick addition figures to raise Georgia’s floor, especially with the Bulldogs opening against Kendrick’s former team in Clemson. The game is scheduled for a Sept. 4 date and should have a ton of eyes on it as one of the games of the season.
Gilbert though offers the greater upside. While he was listed as a tight end as a recruit, Georgia is going to use him as a wide receiver.
That’s due in part to the Bulldogs being without Pickens due to his ACL injury. Georgia also though already has one physical mismatch in 6-foot-7 tight end Darnell Washington.
Georgia being able to pair both players together could cause massive issues for opposing defenses.
The Bulldogs went 8-2 last season, with losses coming against Alabama and Florida. Once JT Daniels was inserted as the starting quarterback though, Georgia’s offense really seemed to take off. Georgia went 4-0 once Daniels became the starting quarterback.
Daniels returns for another season at Georgia, while Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson all must replace their starting quarterbacks from a season ago.
Related: WATCH: Georgia football championship expectations don’t change after transfer portal additions
That quarterback edge, on top of what Gilbert and Kendrick will now bring to the table, is why so many see 2021 as a massive season for the future of the Georgia program.
Don’t expect Georgia head coach Kirby Smart to duck from those expectations. He’s fond of saying pressure is a privilege.
And the Bulldogs certainly have a lot of pressure on them entering the 2021 season.
“I realize the standard of excellence that’s been created here and the expectation,” Smart said back in March. “We never shy away from those expectations but that’s not going to get the end goal
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