DawgNation will have a season-long offering every Sunday after games which focuses on the freshmen who played for the Bulldogs, what they did and who is in line for one of those newly-reshaped (four games or less) redshirts. Check out this week’s edition for UGA football after a 41-17 win at South Carolina.
This will be a planned Sunday feature where DawgNation can show the path between the nation’s top-rated recruiting class for 2018 onto the playing field. The way-too-easy prediction here is that Saturday’s game will not be an aberration in Southeastern Conference play.
Potential + Preparation = Playing Time
How many freshmen played (true or redshirt): 16
Lede freshman note: Georgia placed 18 members of its 2018 class on the travel roster for its first SEC road game. That says that the recruits from the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class made up 26 percent of the travel roster for conference play on a team ranked at No. 3 in the country.
Asterisks to that stat: Sophomore junior college transfer Devonte Wyatt counts within those 18 because he was a part of the 2018 class, but he does not count among the true freshmen or freshmen in Columbia. That said, the number of true scholarship freshmen who made the trip sits at 15 due to the fact that a pair of freshmen walk-ons (QB Matthew Downing, LS Nick Moore) also dressed for the game.
Redshirts from 2017: OLB Robert Beal Jr., CB Eric Stokes and OT Isaiah Wilson (starter) were the only redshirt freshmen from 2017 that also earned a spot on the 70-man travel roster.
Freshmen debut for: Kearis Jackson. The 2018 signee did not play against Austin Peay last week due to injury.
What pops out: Georgia brought 18 scholarship (true or redshirt) freshmen and 14 scholarship sophomores on the bus to Columbia. DawgNation counted up just 17 players who were at Georgia prior to Kirby Smart’s arrival on the sidelines at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The 13 who played (true freshmen): Camarda + Campbell plus:
- OLB Adam Anderson
- RB James Cook
- DE Brenton Cox
- QB Justin Fields
- TE Luke Ford
- OL Trey Hill
- WR Kearis Jackson
- FB/H-back/OT Cade Mays
- OG Jamaree Salyer
- ILB Channing Tindall
- ILB Quay Walker
Who played (redshirt freshmen column):
- OLB Robert Beal Jr
- CB Eric Stokes
- OT Isaiah Wilson
Position breakdown for true or redshirt freshmen who saw action against South Carolina:
- CB: 1
- ILB: 2
- OLB: 3
- OL: 4
- P: 1
- QB: 1
- RB: 1
- TE: 1
- WR: 1
Stat column impact: Camarda had three punts for 124 yards. That was 41.3 yards per punt. He had one touchdown and one boot drop inside the 20. Cook had 11 carries for 38 yards.
PICTURE THIS, PART I
Interesting names on the 70-man travel roster: TE Luke Ford, DB Chris Smith, OL Jamaree Salyer. Those guys are all talented in their own right, but there was some doubt as to whether those June arrivals had shown enough in camp to earn a seat on the bus to Williams-Brice. It was not that big of a discovery to see names like Brenton Cox, Kearis Jackson, Otis Reese, Channing Tindall and Quay Walker on the dress roster.
True freshmen players who did not make the 70-man travel roster: WR Tommy Bush, OT Owen Condon, DT Jordan Davis, OL Warren Ericson; TE John FitzPatrick; OLB Azeez Ojulari (returning from ACL injury); RB Zamir White (out for the season); DB Divaad Wilson (likely out for at least 4-6 more weeks.)
2017 signees who did not make the 70-man travel roster: R-Fr. DB Tray Bishop; R-Fr.DB Latavious Brini; sophomore ILB Jaden Hunter; redshirt junior OT D’Marcus Hayes; R-Fr. OL Netori Johnson; R-Fr. WR Matt Landers and R-Fr. CB Ameer Speed.
The scholarship freshmen on the travel roster who did not play (per the official stats): Preferred walk-on QB Matthew Downing; DB Otis Reese; DB Chris Smith;
Justin Fields came into the game when: Fields took over for Jake Fromm on the first series of the fourth quarter. That came with the Bulldogs up 41-10 with 13:25 left to go in the game.
The Justin Fields stat line: The Georgia backup QB finished 1 for 1 through the air for 8 yards. He also totaled three yards on his one credited rushing attempt.
Check out this freshman video tweet: It stars freshman utility man Cade Mays.
— Dayne Young (@dayneyoung) September 8, 2018
Top 5 Freshmen flashes:
1. Cade Mays slipped off his No. 42 for tight end duty and aptly replaced sophomore ALL-SEC candidate Andrew Thomas at LT in the second half. Did you see that tweet above?
2. True freshman OL Trey Hill continues to look very capable as a quality interior OL option in the SEC.
3. Sophomore DT Devonte Wyatt saw time early against South Carolina in the first half. He was involved in a series that saw the Bulldogs hold the Gamecocks to a field goal. The Bulldogs managed to flip him away from South Carolina in the class of 2017.
4. Tyson Campbell had a couple of bad plays, but he still had four tackles against the Gamecocks. That placed him in a tie for fourth on the team.
5. Let’s not forget that RT Isaiah Wilson is still a redshirt freshman. The potential of the Georgia line with freshmen like Hill, Mays, Salyer and Wilson on that unit could not get any brighter.
Freshman stat you might have missed: Cook led the Bulldogs in carries (11) and finished with 38 yards. He did not play until the third quarter due to the ejection and a resulting first-half suspension for targeting against Austin Peay.
The moment the TV cameras didn’t show you: It seems clear that Georgia line coach Sam Pittman already has a pretty cohesive group of freshman OLs. The easy and fun-loving way that Mays, Hill and Jamaree Salyer interacted with one another on the sideline shows they are a tight group.
Biggest freshman “going to see that on the film” moment: Campbell started his first road game as a true freshman in the conference but played a part in both South Carolina touchdown drives. Smart said in his post-game comments that he noticed the talented newcomer not applying the proper technique on the late touchdown reception by South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards.
Freshmen of distinction: Mays (offense); Campbell and Wyatt (defense); Camarda (special teams)
PICTURE THIS, PART II
Kirby Smart roster efficiency moment of the game: The Bulldogs brought along preferred walk-on quarterback Matthew Downing on the 70-man dress roster for the conference opener.
While it is not unusual for a team to bring along three quarterbacks, that’s not quite the same context with this case. Downing is a preferred walk-on at QB and that situation is indicative of just how little depth the program has at that position at this time.
THEY SAID IT about a freshman: “A little bit worried about that one [with Andrew Thomas and his apparent ankle injury] but super proud of Cade Mays and the way he came in. So proud of him. Didn’t miss a beat on offense and happy for him. A testament to [offensive line] coach [Sam] Pittman as well. Just the way he kind of coaches his guy. One guy comes in and the unit doesn’t struggle at all. It is like no difference.” — Quarterback Jake Fromm on freshman OT Cade Mays