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Nolan Smith figures play a big role for Georgia this year.

ESPN snubs Georgia freshmen on instant impact list

The Georgia Bulldogs signed the No. 2 overall recruiting class for the 2019 recruiting cycle. It landed a total of five 5-star prospects, including the No. 1 prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings in Nolan Smith. That’s before even mentioning a player like incoming wide receiver Dominick Blaylock.

But none of the 20 freshman members of the class were selected to ESPN’s instant impact team. Put together by Tom Luginbill, the list highlights some of the top incoming freshmen who have a chance to make meaningful contributions right away.

Some of the players named include LSU running back John Emery Jr. and Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. But there was not a player from Georgia’s class named. Interestingly, there was also not an Alabama player named in the class as well. The Crimson Tide signed the No. 1 overall class in the country for the 2019 cycle. Texas, which had the No. 3 class also did not have a player named.

Saying all that though, there’s a very good chance that a number of freshmen play a meaningful role for the Bulldogs. Smith — along with inside linebacker Nakobe Dean —really stood out this spring for the Bulldogs.

Related: The national media is making a big mistake by sleeping on Nolan Smith

And given the needs Georgia has at wide receiver, it should not come as a surprise to see either Blaylock or 5-star wide receiver George Pickens play a big role early. Georgia coach Kirby Smart has also mentioned Blaylock working heavily on special teams.

“We think Dom can play all three spots, slot and both outside,” Smart said. “He’s very bright and intelligent. He picks up things well. We think he’s going to help in the return game, too. But it’s not like we’re sitting there going, ‘He’s a slot receiver.’ We think he can play all of them.”

Related: Kirby Smart says all Georgia Bulldogs, incoming and otherwise, have made the grades to play

Georgia has also seen a number of players who weren’t thought to be early impact players make significant contributions in their first year. This time a year ago, no one was saying much of anything about defensive lineman Jordan Davis. Now he’s a key member of the Georgia defense.

And most thought that Jake Fromm would end up being the backup to Jacob Eason in his freshman season. Fromm went on to win the SEC and lead Georgia to an appearance in the national title game.

Georgia and its talented pack of freshmen begin the 2019 season on Aug. 31 when the Bulldogs visit Vanderbilt.

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