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Justin Fields will make his college debut on Saturday against Austin Peay.

The five freshmen we’re most excited to see play against Austin Peay

Connor Riley

Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.

The fab five Georgia football freshmen

When you bring in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, you’re bound to have a number of players who good enough to play and contribute right away.

Georgia figures to have a number of those, given that its 2018 features seven 5-star players. But some freshmen will play a bigger role than others this season. And while the game against Austin Peay is largely a dress rehearsal, fans and coaches want to see how these guys perform in their first college game. Especially with a trip to South Carolina looming in next week.

So of the 24 members in the 2018 signing class, below are the five we most want to see play, and play well, on Saturday. And we’re just limiting this to members of the 2018 class. Redshirt freshman like Isaiah Wilson will likely play a key role for this season, but they’ve had a year to acclimate to the college life.

5. Jake Camarda

So, Georgia fans may not want to see the freshman from Norcross given that he’s likely going to be punting, but it will be important to see if he can be trusted with punting duties. When the margins are as slim as they are in college football, having a dynamite punter can help flip field position and thus games. If Camarda lives up to his billing as the nation’s top punter, that will be one less thing for Georgia fans to worry about.

4. Brenton Cox

Georgia signed a number of talented pass rushers in the 2018 class, as the Bulldogs landed three of the top five outside linebackers. But it’s actually Brenton Cox, who was listed as a strong-side defensive by the 247Sports Composite rankings, who may have the quickest path to the field. Cox doesn’t have some of the weight concerns that Adam Anderson and Quay Walker do and reports out of practice indicate he’s had no problem adjusting to the college game.

With Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy off to the NFL, D’Andre Walker and Walter Grant will likely fill their roles. But someone will need to fill Walker’s role as he was a star as a situational pass rusher. And Cox could certainly be that guy.

3. James Cook

We’ll have a little bit more on Cook later on in Good Day, UGA, but a number of defensive players have raved about his speed and potential. There’s a slight log-jam at running back with D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien but if Georgia can get out to a big lead, Cook could get some real reps in garbage time. And if he shines there he could be in line for more work down the road.

Related: Georgia football players continue to rave about ‘amazing’ and ‘freakish’ James Cook

2. Justin Fields

So most fans would put Fields at No. 1 and he probably is the biggest storyline. He’s the highest rated player in the 247Sports Composite Rankings that Georgia has ever landed. Georgia also hasn’t had a quarterback who can create with his legs like Justin Fields in quite sometime. Any time you’re drawing comparisons to freshman year Tim Tebow, you’re going to get people excited.

The problem is that while Kirby Smart hasn’t named a starting quarterback, all signs point to it being Jake Fromm. And Fromm really hasn’t played all that poorly in college, save for a few quarters here and there. Fields may excite for a few plays but it doesn’t look like he’ll be tossed the keys to the Georgia offense from the start.

1. Tyson Campbell

Georgia hadn’t landed a 5-star cornerback since Brandon Smith in 2009 prior to getting Tyson Campbell. While Deandre Bake will lock down one side of the field, the other cornerback position is a question mark. If Campbell can fill that role and become the type of player that Baker has become, Georgia could very well have one of the best defenses in the nation.

That’s a lot to put on a freshman cornerback, but if Campbell can live up to the early reviews he’s gotten in practice, he may be more than capable.

Are Georgia fans really the happiest in the country?

Things are going well for Georgia fans when it comes to football. The future looks incredibly bright, both to fans and ESPN analysts. Georgia is starting to out-recruit Alabama, something no team has been able to do since Georgia’s last losing season.

The team has a ton of young playmakers and what looks to be two very talented quarterbacks in Jake Fromm and Justin Fields. So yes in some sense Georgia fans have a reason to be happy.

But according to ESPN Stats and Info, Georgia ranks first in the country fan happiness. While there are a lot of things to be happy about, I find it hard to believe that you can have a very happy fan base when the last time fans saw their team play, they lost a national championship in one of the most gutting ways possible.

We know Alabama fans love to whine and complain but how can they not be first? The Crimson Tide have won five titles in the last nine seasons!

Also I’m not really sure how Missouri is 12th when its won 11 games in the past two years. Georgia won 13 last alone.

Is James Cook the next Alvin Kamara?

Player comparisons are very popular. They help give a frame of reference for fans and often allow analysts to make projections about the types of players one can become.

Earlier in the week, DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell told Brandon Adams that Georgia’s newest commitment, Jamil Burroughs, has some Aaron Donald like qualities. But he’s still two seasons away from getting on Georgia’s campus.

But another player comparison was made for a current player on Georgia’s roster to an NFL star. And while it might be easy to compare James Cook to his brother Dalvin Cook, DawgNation team reporter Mike Griffith said the younger Cook reminds him of another star running back from the 2017 NFL Draft class.

“I think James Cook, for lack of better comparison, kind of an Alvin Kamara,” Griffith said on the DawgNation Daily Podcast.  “I don’t think Kamara is a very good between the tackles runner …but that said James Cook is a guy that like Kamara is extremely dangerous on the perimeter, is extremely fast and has high-end speed.”

Griffith covered at Kamara while he was at Tennessee and Kamara, when properly unleashed in the NFL, completely changed the New Orleans Saints offense. Cook may not do that right away but it’s still very high praise for the freshman running back.

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