Best of DawgNation: David Pollack excited to see Georgia offense, top targets delay commitment decisions
Former Georgia Bulldog and current ESPN analyst David Pollack is one of the biggest names in college football.
And for perhaps the first time in the Kirby Smart era, Pollack and others are talking up the Georgia offense as the Bulldogs are set to start spring practice.
The Bulldogs bring back just about every weapon from the 2020 team, such as wide receiver George Pickens, tight end Darnell Washington and running backs Zamir White, James Cook and Kendall Milton.
But the biggest reason for optimism according to Pollack is that Georgia finally seems settled at the quarterback position with JT Daniels.
Pollack joined Brandon Adams on DawgNation Daily this week to discuss Daniels and his game.
“A couple of things that surprised me about JT is that his pocket feel was really good,” Pollack said. “His athleticism, even though he had surgery, was able to make people miss and still make plays.”
Pollack also praised the areas where Daniels was expected to shine for the Bulldogs.
“Processing information, getting the ball out of his hands, giving his guys chances to make plays, no surprise there really,” Pollack said.
The quarterback position has been an issue for Georgia in recent seasons.
But ESPN's David Pollack explains why that isn't the case anymore with JT Daniels as QB1. pic.twitter.com/6Ho9xEbCMh
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) March 11, 2021
Georgia went 4-0 in games started by Daniels last season, with the transfer quarterback tossing 10 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions for the Bulldogs.
Daniels will get 15 practices this spring to continue to work with offensive coordinator Todd Monken and further build on what the Bulldogs were able to do at the end of the 2020 season.
Top recruits push back decision dates
March was set up to be a pretty massive recruiting month for Georgia, as a number of top targets were set to announce their respective decisions.
Mykel Williams, the No. 42 player in the class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, had set a March 15 date. Wide receiver Kojo Antwi, the No. 94 player in the class, also had a March decision in mind, while 4-star defensive tackle Christen Miller was ready to announce on April 4.
Instead, all three of those prospects have expanded their recruiting timelines.
The reason for the delay in the decisions stems in large part from the expectation that visits will be coming back sooner rather than later. The current NCAA dead period is set to expire on May 31. The NCAA is also expected to announce a plan for what visits will look like at its April meeting.
“I’m planning on making my decision on my Mom’s birthday on July 5,” Antwi told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell on his new decision timeline. “That June I am planning on taking four or five officials and then making my decision in July.”
Williams offered up a similar explanation as to why he pushed back his timeline to Sentell.
“It is really just to enjoy my recruiting process,” Williams said. “To make sure that I am making the right and the smart calculated move to help me benefit in the future and after football.”
It really wasn’t a change in this school or that status. It was just the time to step back and just hit the pause button.
Williams makes his decision a day after his good friend Christen Miller also decided to postpone his April 4 commitment date.
He said a big part of it now was to just see himself taking those college visits when they return in June. He still wants to make his decision before his senior year. He does have his younger sister’s birthday in mind in August as a new commitment date possibility.
Georgia is still recruiting very well to start the cycle, with the Bulldogs having the No. 3 recruiting class in the 2022 cycle to this point.
Defensive line offers chance to help young secondary
The Bulldogs will be one of the top-ranked teams in the country once the first polls come out later this summer.
Still, many are interested in seeing how Georgia develops this spring. Pollack touched on Daniels earlier, as the Georgia offense seems primed to take another step forward.
Defensively there are some questions, most pressing at cornerback. Georgia has zero starting experience at the position after Tyson Campbell, Eric Stokes and DJ Daniel all left for the NFL draft and Tyrqiue Stevenson transferred to Miami.
DawgNation’s Connor Riley provided a look at how one other position group, the defensive line, could go about helping Georgia’s secondary.
The Bulldogs will have to lean more on Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter and Travon Walker to create more of those disruptive plays, especially as college football continues to become a more offensive-minded game.
“It’s about affecting the quarterback, creating negative plays and forcing turnovers,” Pollack said. “You’re not going to stop teams consistently anymore. Those days are gone. You have to create those negative plays, create those turnovers to get the ball back to your offense and that will be the biggest thing next year.”
Georgia did have the nation’s top run defense in 2020 and 2019. With Davis coming back, the Bulldogs should once again dominate in that department. The Georgia offense also does figure to be a bigger strength in 2021 than it has been in past seasons as well.
Ben Cleveland looks back on his time at Georgia
March 17 will be an important day for former Bulldog Ben Cleveland. The long-time Georgia offensive lineman will compete in Georgia’s pro day. Cleveland will be hoping to set the bench press record.
DawgNation’s Mike Griffith recently caught up with the talented former Bulldog to preview this week as well as look back on his long and successful Georgia career.
Cleveland, a Goliath of a man at 6-foot-6 1/2 and somewhere between 345 and 354 pounds, depending on his training regimen explained how Smart has proven himself an effective leader his first five years as head coach.
“It’s getting guys to buy in — he takes suggestions from the leadership on the team and gets a feel for what we want to do,” Cleveland said, echoing the sentiments Jamaree Salyer expressed last fall.
“We’ve been around it, maybe not as long as he has, but we’ve seen some things, played against some guys and kind of know what to expect. So we’re able to have that input and he would take that into consideration going into our game plans. He’s able to get guys to buy in because he would listen to what the leadership wanted.”
And, Cleveland said, the Georgia football players know it comes from Smart’s heart. The Bulldogs’ head coach once wore the same red and black uniforms, earning All-SEC honors at safety in 1999.
Georgia’s pro day will be broadcast on the SEC Network on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- WATCH: Matthew Boling wins national championship with record-setting 200-meter sprint
- Georgia football QB JT Daniels has ‘gunslinger moxie,’ says Eric Zeier
- ESPN on Rush Propst affidavits: No ‘personal knowledge of recruiting violations committed’ by Georgia, Alabama
- UGA pays tribute to former Bulldogs star retiring from NFL
- ESPN lays out why Georgia can become ‘the next Clemson’
- Kojo Antwi: All-American WR discusses putting a March decision on hold and his new timeline
- Georgia football podcast: Former coach says Florida will ‘always be second fiddle’ to UGA