Kelee Ringo-Georgia football-ESPN-2020
Kelee Ringo put the national championship on ice against Alabama at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Jeff Sentell /DawgNation)

Kelee Ringo earns lofty praise from ESPN entering 2022 season: ‘Impossibly fast’

Ringo arrived at Georgia with lofty expectations as he was the No. 1 overall defensive back in the 2020 recruiting class. But preseason surgery on his labrum prevented Ringo from even practicing for much of his freshman season, let alone seeing the field.

That’s in part why it was a slow build for Ringo to become the player that he was at the end of his second season.

But as the national championship game showed, Ringo has about as high an athletic ceiling as anyone on Georgia’s team. That ability earned Ringo some praise from ESPN’s Bill Connelly, who highlighted some of the top 2020 signees who seem posted to dominate the sport.

“Impossibly fast, Ringo was Georgia’s best cover guy as a redshirt freshman even before he clinched the Dawgs’ national title with a pick-six,” Connelly wrote.

Related: Kelee Ringo: Watch him break down the Ringo-6 pick to seal the first Georgia football national title in 41 years

Ringo will take on an even bigger role for Georgia in the 2022 season as the Bulldogs have to replace a number of key contributors from the title-winning team. In Georgia’s secondary, Derion Kendrick and Lewis Cine are both off to the NFL. Chris Smith does return but Georgia will be looking for a new starting cornerback opposite Ringo.

Who that ultimately will be should play out during spring practice. Kamari Lassiter figures to be the favorite, but expect Nyland Green, Daylen Everette and others to push for the job. Georgia did see cornerbacks Ameer Speed, Jalen Kimber and Lovasea Carroll transfer this offseason, putting the Bulldogs in a little bit of a bind from a numbers standpoint.

Ringo finished the season starting 12 games for Georgia, picking up 38 tackles, eight pass breakups and two interceptions. He was also named to the Freshman All-SEC Team as well.

“That was a heck of a play. There was a lot of people that doubted him and had a lot to say about him,” former Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker said of Ringo after the win over Alabama. “Also, he’s just a young player. He’s grew up a lot, and he showed up in a big time game when he really needed to and closed out things.”

Some of Georgia’s best players on the 2022 team will be from the 2020 class. In addition to Ringo, Jalen Carter should emerge as one of the best players in the country at the defensive tackle position, while Broderick Jones seems poised to become a star at left tackle.

Connelly also mentioned Darnell Washington as someone who seems poised to evolve into an even bigger playmaker for Georgia. You could add fellow 2020 signees Arian Smith and Kendall Milton to that list as well.

Georgia will begin the 2022 season against Oregon. The Bulldogs and Ducks meet on Sept. 3, with the game being played in Atlanta.

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