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Dominick Blaylock ready to step up after Kearis Jackson injury
ATHENS — Georgia’s wide receiver room should be used to losing personnel at this point in 2019. Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley both left school early for the 2019 NFL Draft. Terry Godwin graduated, while Jeremiah Holloman was dismissed from the team.
So it only seems fitting that in the first game of the season, the Bulldogs experience another loss at the position. Starter Kearis Jackson suffered a hand injury that will keep him out three to four weeks. The injury occurred in the fourth quarter as Jackson was on the receiving end of a pass from Jake Fromm. Jackson had the ball punched out by a Vanderbilt defender who happened to have a cast on his hand.
So who steps in for the now-injured Jackson? Expect Demetris Robertson to take on a larger load, especially given both he and Jackson did most of their work out of the slot against Vanderbilt. Robertson had Georgia’s lone touchdown catch in the 30-6 win. The junior also flashed some of his speed when he hauled in a 53-yard pass from Fromm, only for it to be negated by a holding penalty.
But Georgia runs a deep rotation of wide receivers. Meaning that the Jackson injury will allow freshman Dominick Blaylock to play a role in the Georgia offense.
Blaylock is the second-highest rated wide receiver Georgia has signed in the past decade — fellow freshman George Pickens being the only one with a higher ranking in the 247Sports Composite rankings. Pickens has gotten plenty of attention, which tends to happen when you make a catch so absurd that everyone on the internet knows about it.
But Blaylock — much like his personality — has been much quieter so far in his Georgia career. He spent pretty much all of August working behind Jackson and Robertson while going through drills in the slot position.
Related: Home team: Dominick Blaylock found a homegrown fit at UGA
But that doesn’t mean that the freshman hasn’t opened some eyes on the practice fields.
“He’s very versatile. He’s got great hands and good routes,” Robertson said. “He’s just ready to take off and be on the field to get that opportunity.”
To Blaylock’s credit, he did make the travel roster and thus trip to the Vanderbilt game. And Georgia coach Kirby Smart wanted to get the freshman from Marietta, Ga. some game reps. But given the game didn’t have much garbage time, Blaylock never got the chance to play.
With Jackson now injured, Blayclok will see a lot more of the field against Murray State. And if he plays well, he could take on an even bigger role in the Georgia offense.
“He’s really earned the right to play,” Smart said. “He’s going to be thrust into it now. I thought he had a really good practice today. He caught some balls. He catches contested catches. He finds ways to get open. He’s really smart, he’s tough, he’s physical.”
Related: Kirby Smart explains why George Pickens, Dominick Blaylock can contribute early
Smart added that while Blaylock and Jackson offer similar skills, Jackson had an edge due to him being a little bit stronger, as well as having a better grasp of the Georgia offense. That’s understandable, given Blaylock was a senior at Walton High School a just a few months ago.
In addition to Jackson’s work as a wide receiver, he also returned a punt for Georgia in the Vanderbilt game. Blaylock was practicing in that role as well, even prior to Jackson’s injury. Though Georgia will still have Tyler Simmons, who netted Georgia 55 yards on his 3 punt returns.
If there were ever a stretch on the Georgia schedule to get acclimated to the rigors of the college game, it’s these next two games. The Bulldogs figure to be heavy favorites against Murray State and Arkansas State. If Blaylock can impress — Smart added that Blaylock has been “awesome” — he’ll have a real chance to cement his role on offense as Georgia heads into what figures to be a pivotal matchup against Notre Dame.
Kirby Smart provides update on Jamaree Salyer, multiple Georgia offensive linemen
Smart spent a good amount of time during his Tuesday press conference discussing the Georgia offensive line. The group drew rave reviews, as ESPN’s Cole Cubelic named Georgia as his top offensive line in the SEC for Week 1.
Andrew Thomas also took home the conferences Offensive Linemen of the week award as well. The Bulldogs rushed for over 300 yards while also not surrendering a sack to the Commodores.
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