Own the East: Georgia tight ends
Editor’s Note: It may be time for the Georgia Bulldogs to take back the SEC East in 2017. We’ve featured the most important UGA players, coaches, fans and staff for the upcoming season in a 20-part video series, which you can binge-watch right here.
ATHENS – Georgia has played for the SEC Championship five times in its history: 2012, 2011, 2005, 2003 and 2002. A common thread between each of those teams? They featured exceptional play from the tight ends.
Ben Watson (2002-03), Leonard Pope (2005), Orson Charles (2011) and Arthur Lynch (2012) each played big roles on those teams, and each ended up playing in the NFL. Fourteen seasons later, Watson is still in the league, now on the roster of the Baltimore Ravens.
It would follow that for Georgia to represent the East in the SEC title game again this season, it will need to get good production out of its tight ends. And the Bulldogs definitely have a good crop of them.
Jeb Blazevich is a senior, a captain and a multi-game starter each of the last three seasons. But he’s not even the tight end about which Georgia fans are most excited.
That would be sophomore Isaac Nauta. Named to the freshman All-SEC and All-America teams last season, Nauta started five games and finished as the team’s third-leading receiver. He had 29 catches for 361 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. Against Tennessee in 2016, Nauta led the Bulldogs with 83 yards on 3 catches, including a 50-yard TD. Though he’s 6-foot-4 and 246 pounds, Nauta moves more like a wide receiver than a tight end.
Georgia’s coaches are just excited about sophomore Charlie Woerner. The 6-foot-5, 251-pound TE was limited much of last season because of a high-ankle sprain. But when he’s healthy, the former high school wide receiver and defensive back might be the fastest and most athletic of the entire group.
Junior Jackson Harris and senior Jordon Davis give Georgia a lot of viable options. The key is for offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and quarterback Jacob Eason to make sure the tight ends get utilized. As a group, they caught only 41 balls last season. Pope had nearly that number (39) alone in 2005 when he led the team in receiving.
Perhaps Georgia should target its talented tight ends more in 2017. History says it should.
Click here to see more of “Own the East,” our 2017 season preview of the Georgia Bulldogs in video form.