ATHENS — Dominic Lovett is able to laugh about it with his new teammates. Despite a strong performance last year against the Bulldogs, Lovett’s then-Missouri Tigers weren’t able to beat Georgia.

Lovett finished the game with six receptions for 84 yards, including torching Kelee Ringo on a deep pass down the sideline.

“It is kinda cool seeing where I was and how I ended up here, from going against them to now playing with them,” Lovett said. “That’s a big factor. That’s pretty dope.”

Lovett sees that 26-22 loss as an honor, given that he played well and Missouri pushed Georgia more than any SEC team did last season. He took notice of how Georgia pushed itself for all four quarters, ultimately overcoming a double-digit deficit to come out on top.

He hoped he’d get another crack at Georgia in 2023. Instead, he’ll now be playing for the Bulldogs. And if his time with the program this offseason is any indication, he’s going to play a big role for Georgia this fall.

“We saw what he did to us when we played him, and just felt like he was a really good player and a good asset to the program,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “Once we were around him and knew what kind of person he was and his family, we felt like he was a good fit and a good match. It’s just a tremendous blessing.”

Lovett was one of four transfers Georgia took out of the transfer portal. But he’s likely the only one who will have a significant role for Georgia when they open the season against UT-Martin on Sept. 2.

The transfer wide receiver has been taking reps out of the slot position, allowing Georgia to move Ladd McConkey to the outside. With Darnell Washington off to the NFL and Georgia having a less deep tight end room, look for the Bulldogs to lean more on their wide receivers this year.

Lovett’s strong offseason is a big reason why Georgia will feel comfortable doing so.

“The transition has been exciting, actually. New people. New people to me,” Lovett said. “New friends. New brothers to be around. That was really the main part. As far as my growth, I can say from the weight room to on the field, everything, has just gotten better. I’m just stacking days, day in and day out.”

Spoken like someone who has been in the Georgia football program for years and not months.

Lovett quickly bonded with his new teammates, specifically highlighting tight end Brock Bowers for making him feel comfortable at Georgia. Those two should help power Georgia’s passing offense this season.

Whether it be his work ethic or his ability to give impressive non-answers at press conferences, you can see why Lovett has fit in so quickly at Georgia.

It’s no easy task, given Georgia players will quickly tell you that this place isn’t for everyone.

“This place is built on toughness,” Lovett said. “If you’re a tough person, you’ll survive here.”

It seems to be a place where Lovett can thrive. He’s still pushing the defending national champions, like he did at Missouri.

Only now he’s doing it constantly in practice. And that should allow him to make big plays for Georgia this year and possibly get a championship of his own.

“I think he’d be the first to tell you the demands and what we’re asking him to do every day at practice is taxing him more, but it’s making him a more — hopefully, to be more of a complete player, which is what he wanted,” Smart said.

Dominic Lovett explains why he picked Georgia