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Deebo Samuel: underrated or overhyped?
On Monday, Kirby Smart said South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel might be the most underrated player in the country. As of Thursday morning, I’m not sure we can call Samuel underrated anymore, at least in the context Smart meant.
Given all that has been made about Samuel this week, he’s easily become South Carolina’s, and thus one of the SEC’s, most well-known players.
Samuel has been praised pretty much all off-season and again very heavily in the run-up to No. 3 Georgia’s game against No. 24 South Carolina. He was voted preseason 1st Team All-SEC as a wide receiver, return specialist and all-purpose player.
Samuel was truly great in the first two games last season. He found the end-zone 6 times against NC State and Missouri before suffering a season ending injury in the third game of the season. In his last full healthy season, Samuel hauled in 59 catches for 783 yards and had 7 total touchdowns. In Georgia wide receiver Demetris Robertson’s last fully healthy season, which was also 2016, he finished with 50 catches, 767 yards and 7 touchdowns. Robertson, who scored in his only touch on Saturday, isn’t being spoken about in the same way that Samuel is.
But part of that is because Robertson didn’t take a perceived shot at one of the nation’s top cornerbacks this week. Samuel on the other hand, might have. When he met with the media on Tuesday, Samuel responded “who” when asked about Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker and said that he hadn’t watched the film on him yet. While he might not know Baker’s name, I find it hard to believe that he hasn’t watched any film or been coached up about the type of player he’s facing in Baker.
— Bryce Dixon (@dixonbryce) September 5, 2018
Like Samuel, Baker was named Preseason First Team All-SEC. Baker was stellar throughout the 2017 season and held Calvin Ridley, who was maybe college football’s best wide receiver last year to 4 catches and 32 yards in the national title game.
This is obviously a huge platform game for Samuel and South Carolina. Georgia is the nation’s No. 3 team, and a win could further validate the Will Muschamp era. But should South Carolina lose, Samuel could go from hero to villain rather quickly. And just about every opponent who played Georgia last year learned, sometimes it’s best to just leave the sleeping dog alone.
Samuel’s character arc is a little similar to that of Gerald Lambeau, the MIT professor in Good Will Hunting. In the beginning he’s praised and he’s actually trying to help Matt Damon’s Will Hunting turn his life around, much like Samuel is doing with the South Carolina program.
But over the course of the movie, we begin to realize that Lambeau isn’t as great as we once thought. We haven’t yet gotten to the conclusion of the Georgia-South Carolina drama, but if it plays out like Good Will Hunting, Robertson will be showing Samuel how easy it is to be a great wide receiver and Baker will be dunking on the South Carolina wide receiver much like Robin Williams’ character did to Lambeau.
Jonathan Ledbetter limited in practice
One of Georgia’s top defenders might be limited when the Bulldogs take the field against South Carolina. At Georgia practice on Wednesday, Jonathan Ledbetter was wearing an aircast on his right ankle. According to 247Sports’ Jake Rowe, Ledbetter did sprain his ankle at Georgia’s practice on Tuesday but that the air cast/walking boot was more precautionary than something indicative of a serious injury.
Ledbetter is one of Georgia’s most important pieces as he boasts a wealth of experience and is one of the leaders of the defense. Georgia also doesn’t have a lot of known commodities behind Ledbetter on the defensive line. If it were a lesser opponent maybe we wouldn’t see Ledbetter this week but given that it is the Bulldogs’ SEC opener against South Carolina, it’s going to be all hands on deck for Georgia.
Last season, Ledbetter had 38 tackles, with 5.5 being tackles for loss. He also totaled 2.5 sacks for Georgia. Possible replacements for Ledbetter at defensive end include Jay Hayes, Malik Herring and David Marshall.
CBS Sports Analysts make Georgia-South Carolina predictions
As we inch closer and closer to Saturday, outlets will begin to make their predictions for Saturday. And a quartet for CBS made their picks and it was a split decision as two analysts pick Georgia and two picked South Carolina.
You can see their reasonings below.
Georgia and South Carolina take the field Saturday at 3:30PM ET on CBS.
This one is going to be a BATTLE. Our panel is split on who will take home the victory this weekend. pic.twitter.com/6U1gjA8VVZ
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 4, 2018
Despite the Bulldogs being a near double-digit favorite, South Carolina has become a trendy upset pick. A number of media types have already predicted Georgia will get tripped up. Part of that is because the Bulldogs have a recent history of struggling in Williams-Brice Stadium.
One interesting thing to note about the take from analyst Brian Jones. He picked the Gamecocks and said they would need to run for at least 200-yards to win. In the last two Georgia-South Carolina games, the Gamecocks have run for a combined 76 yards.
Paul Finebaum puts Georgia in his top-5
While many rush to throw up their playoff rankings or top rankings, ESPN’s Paul Finebaum likes to take his time and really think about who his top teams are. And after thinking about it, Georgia made the cut.
Finebaum slid the Bulldogs in at No. 5, behind the usual suspects of Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State.
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) September 5, 2018
Should the Bulldogs knock off South Carolina this weekend, Georgia should move up in Finebaum’s rankings. The Georgia-South Carolina game is only one of two ranked matchups this weekend, with the other being No. 10 Stanford vs. No. 17 USC.
A great night at Marlow’s
Last night the DawgNation team had another great outing with fans, this time at the Marlow’s in Dunwoody. It was great getting to meet some of you and talk about Georgia’s big matchup with South Carolina and the team in general.
And another big shout-out to Brandon Kublanow, as the former Bulldog was great about answering any and all questions about Georgia football.
These events are a ton of fun and we hope to see you out at our next event in the coming weeks.
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) September 5, 2018
— GATA Dawgs (@BassinDawg) September 5, 2018
Best stories from around DawgNation
- WATCH: Georgia OL Ben Cleveland confident, ready for South Carolina trip
- Georgia football injury update: DB Tyrique McGhee questionable, receivers full-go
- Opposing View: Deebo Samuel’s poor scouting aside, Georgia has Gamecocks’ full attention
- UGA recruiting: How the Bulldogs now build the O-line like never before
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 6, 2018
— UGA (@universityofga) September 5, 2018
— John Emery (@Emery4____) September 5, 2018
— UGA Football Live (@UGAfootballLive) September 5, 2018
Good Dog of the Day
Dogs are even better in slow-mo.
This is Pugsley. He lost control of his rubber duck. Happens to the best of us. 13/10 my thoughts are with him pic.twitter.com/hmC80YVDcf
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) September 5, 2018
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