DawgNation is now four years deep into its “Freshman Report” series which recaps how the youngest Bulldogs fared in each game. DawgNation recruiting reporter Jeff Sentell shares those stories with his insight of following those young men from the recruiting trail to Athens. For the first time, he offers up a preseason edition highlighting his picks for the first-year Bulldogs who will make the biggest impact on the 2020 season at UGA.
We’ve got a new season of the DawgNation “Freshman Report” set for 2020. Look for the Arkansas edition to go up on Sunday.
With that, we wanted to offer up a preseason look at the first-year and redshirt Bulldogs we think will make the biggest impact in 2020. To be clear, it will be hard for any freshman or first-year Bulldog to become a consistent starter. Former 5-star George Pickens only started two games in all of 2019. Yet he made a huge impact on the bottom line of the season regardless.
Which redshirt or true freshmen Bulldogs will have the most juice? Which young guys have already realized that potential from those recruiting rankings early in fall camp? DawgNation shares its picks for 2020.
IMPACT FRESHMEN PREDICTIONS
(presented in alphabetical order)
#20 S Major Burns
247Sports final recruiting rankings: 4-star/Nation’s No. 13 S/No. 182 overall
Why: Burns was an early enrollee. That checks an important box. He also has been the target of a lot of attention from Kirby Smart and DBs coach Charlton Warren during fall camp. He is a physical and hard-hitting safety who will one day play the role that Richard LeCounte III currently does in the Georgia defense. Book it. He has been that impressive in fall camp.
#7 WR Jermaine Burton
Height/Weight: 6-0/195 pounds
247Sports final recruiting rankings: 4-star/Nation’s No. 15 WR/ No. 82 overall
Why: With Burton, think ball skills and breakaway speed. He flipped late from LSU to come back home to Georgia. He’s capable of putting together a season that fits in somewhere between what Dominick Blaylock and Pickens did in 2019. Perhaps even more so. Burton is a candidate to line up in the slot or outside receiver positions and possibly start with the first team a couple of times in 2020, too. He’s aggressive in the run game, too.
#88 DT Jalen Carter
247Sports final recruiting rankings: 5-star/ Nation’s No. 4 DT/ No. 18 overall
Why: There are a few first-year Bulldogs that are already likely on the two-deep who will challenge for early first quarter reps in 2020. Carter is the first name on the list. This chronicle is presented in alphabetical order. Otherwise, he would be no lower than No. 2 on the list. The simplest thing to say about this former two-way player at tight end is this: Expect him to match or even outdo Travon Walker’s first season in Athens in 2019.
#6 CB Jalen Kimber
247Sports final recruiting rankings: 4-star/Nation’s No. 9 CB/ No. 105 overall
Why: See that Major Burns info drip up above? Kimber checks that early enrollee box, and he has also been roasted over the coals by Smart and Kimber in the preseason. He’s also made the 70-man travel roster, and I’d look for Kimber to play a lot in the second half of big Georgia wins this fall. He can also contribute right away on special teams.
#2 QB D’Wan Mathis
247Sports final recruiting rankings (2019): 4-star/Nation’s No. 11 pro-style QB/ No. 311 overall
Why: Have you been reading DawgNation.com for that last four weeks? Mathis is the likely starter at QB, and he redshirted last fall after recovering from surgery involving the removal of a brain cyst on May 23, 2019, at Piedmont Athens Regional in Athens. He was cleared for action this past May after an MRI. He was cleared for action late last fall and ran the Georgia scout team late in 2019.
#0 TE Darnell Washington
247Sports final recruiting rankings: 5-star/Nation’s No. 2 ATH/No. 23 overall
Why: There are a couple of reasons why here. The first is his obvious size but also the camp injury for FSU graduate transfer Tre’ McKitty in fall camp. It has opened the door a little wider for the 5-star with a big catch radius and athletic ability to make an early impact. He presents a matchup edge for Georgia against almost any defender in the SEC. Not many folks can cover him 11 feet in the air with his 6-foot-7 frame and 84-inch wingspan.
JUST OFF THE LIST
#15 QB Carson Beck
The true freshman early enrollee QB could benefit from some key snaps at some point of the Arkansas game. If JT Daniels is not cleared by game time, he could really see a lot of time. The 6-foot-4.5 Beck is a good blend of the arm talent, accuracy and mobility that offensive coordinator Todd Monken wants to see from his quarterbacks in Athens.
Beck, a former Florida “Mr. Football” honoree, will present some Joe Burrow vibes with his game. Beck probably had the two most impressive scrimmages in fall camp from Georgia at the QB position, including some good work against Georgia’s No. 1 defense.
#22 RB Kendall Milton
Georgia has a deep stable of backs. Milton was likely no better than the No. 3 RB in fall camp, but he was limited and missed a lot of good reps in those scrimmages due to a nagging injury. If he’s healthy, he presents a great blend of power and speed. It will be hard for even SEC defenders to get him on the ground.
Look for Milton to get healthy and to be carrying a lot of SEC defenders late in games this fall. Especially in games where the outcome is no longer in doubt, and Georgia needs to keep Zamir White and James Cook fresh for the stretch run of the season against an All-SEC schedule.
#17 WR Justin Robinson
If this list stretched to seven Bulldogs, then Robinson would have been the next man up on the list. The 6-foot-4.5, 210-pounder was Georgia’s top target early on at receiver for the 2020 class, and he committed early. The 4-star from Eagles Landing also was an early enrollee in January.
He’s that big, physical receiver with skill, speed and toughness that should play a lot early in 2020.
The other Bulldogs who could also be shining by November
Who’s just off this list? WR Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, OT Broderick Jones, OL Tate Ratledge, OL Sedrick Van Pran-Granger and PK Jared Zirkel all have the ability to make this reporter regret not placing their names higher on this list prior to the start of the 2020 season.