Georgia football has a lot of talented players on its roster. Eleven of them made First Team Preseason All-SEC at last month’s SEC media days.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see that ESPN has tabbed two Bulldogs as players who can shape the College Football Playoff race.
The first is Brock Bowers. He checked in at No. 21 on ESPN’s list, falling into the “Pure transcendence potential” category for ESPN’s Bill Connelly.
“I’m basically putting Bowers on this list as a personal challenge, a dare,” Connelly wrote. “What can you possibly do to top what you’ve already done at a position that doesn’t tend to see these sorts of things?”
Bowers led Georgia in receiving in each of the past two seasons, scoring a total of 24 touchdowns in that time.
Even with some changes on the Georgia offense, Bowers doesn’t intend on slowing down. Georgia tight ends coach Todd Hartley raved about the junior tight end earlier this week.
“Any box you create, he checks it. Just from a kid standpoint. The kid is the hardest worker I’ve ever met,” Hartley said. “He’ll be the first one to breakfast. He’ll be the first one in the training room to get his ankles taped. He’ll be the first one in the meeting room. He’ll be the last one to leave the field. If we do a 10-yard sprint, he’ll be the first one to win the 10-yard sprint. If we do a 30-yard sprint, he’ll be the first one to win the 30-yard sprint. You get the point I’m making. That is what makes him special.”
The other Bulldog to make Connelly’s list was Georgia quarterback Carson Beck. Connelly placed him as the third most important figure in College Football Playoff race.
Beck was in the same tier as Alabama’s potential starting quarterback and Ohio State’s potential starting quarterback. Only Penn State’s Drew Allar and Tennessee’s Joe Milton ranked higher than Beck.
“He showed discernible improvement between 2021 (44% completion rate, 7.3 yards per dropback) and 2022 (74%, 8.8), but it was all in garbage time,” Connelly wrote. “Will he and new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo form the tandem required after Bennett and Todd Monken set such a high bar last year? Georgia will roll through most of 2023, but Bennett still had to come through in key moments, and Beck will, too.”
Beck hasn’t yet been named the starter as he is still battling Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton to be named the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs.
Beck had the strongest spring game of the quarterbacks, but he will have two key scrimmages to fully separate himself from the capable Vandagriff and Stockton.
Bobo made it a point to highlight how important those scrimmages will be in determining Georgia’s starting quarterback.
“It’s the closest thing we can get to a game. How are you going through those situations when you’re out there with the team by yourself,” Bobo said. “There is no coaches on the field. The bottom line for a quarterback, it’s can we execute. Are we going to be able to execute and get us in the right play, get us in the right protection, run the offense, handle third down situations, red zone situations, and that’s what we’re looking for. Handling those situations in a game and having continuity on offense.”
Georgia has won back-to-back national championships and will be looking to make it three in a row. The last team to accomplish that feat was Minnesota in the 1930′s.
The Bulldogs open the season on Sept. 2, when they host UT-Martin.