Georgia, Florida bring new faces to skill position places in rivalry game

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Florida's Kadarius Toney and Georgia's Kearis Jackson are their teams' leading receivers entering into Saturday's game in Jacksonville.

ATHENS — Georgia already faced the most explosive player in the SEC this season.

But they might be seeing him again, with the title arguably passed from Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle to Florida receiver Kadarius Toney.

Kearis Jackson is Georgia’s answer to Toney, a 6-0, 200-pound junior who has seemingly put the injury bug behind him after being derailed by hamstring injury his freshman season, and a broken hand in 2019.

Jackson, who like Toney played in last year’s game but didn’t have a catch in it, leads the Bulldogs with 24 catches for 348 yards.

In fact, only two players return from last season’s game that had more than two catches in the Bulldogs’ 24-17 win in 2019. Pitts, who had 4 catches for 78 yards, and UGA’s Demetris Robertson, who had 2 catches for 20 yards.

Georgia’s George Pickens played in last season’s game and only had one catch, but his role in this year’s game has yet to be determined. Pickens suffered an upper-body injury against Alabama on Oct. 17 and his status is questionable.

RELATED: Kirby Smart gives thorough injury updates

The Bulldogs do, however, have a healthy and versatile receiving threat ready to make a name for himself in the rivalry in the form of James Cook.

“I’m the older guy now,” Cook said, asked how to handle offensive team leaders like Swift and Cager having moved on. “So I have to step up now and play my role to the best of my ability.”

Pierce and Cook have also caught some passes. Pierce with four catches for 48 yards, while White has 3 catches for 19 yards.

YOUNG AND OLD

Florida, however, has perhaps the key constant in the game in the form of Kyle Track.

While Georgia team captain and Gator slayer Jake Fromm has moved on, taking his 3-0 mark and tremendous success against Florida with him, Trask is back to lead Florida’s high-powered attack.

Trask was a competent 21-of-33 passing for 257 yards and 2 touchdowns last season, and that was playing from behind throughout the contest.

Georgia, meanwhile, has redshirt junior Stetson Bennett making his fifth career start at quarterback.

Beyond the obvious next men up at the skill positions the Bulldogs have several freshmen hoping to connect with Bennett and have break-out games.

Among the young Georgia players looking to make a name for themselves in the rivalry are 2020 signees Darnell Washington, Kendall Milton, Jermaine Burton and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint.

Finally, Georgia has one more wild card, and a player who has also seen plenty of Florida over the course of his career in Florida State grad-transfer Tre’ McKitty.

Last year’s hero for Georgia was Miami grad-transfer receiver Lawrence Cager, so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see McKitty stand out.

Here’s a look at the team leaders from last year’s game from both teams:

QUATERBACKS

Georgia

Jake Fromm 20-of-30 passing, 279 yards, 2 TDs, not sacked

Florida

Kyle Trask 21-of-33 passing, 257 yards, 2 TDs, sacked twice

RUNNING BACKS

Georgia

D’Andre Swift 25 carries, 86 yards, 3.4 ypc, 30 yard run

Brian Herrien 7 carries, 13 yards, 1.9 ypc, 9-yard run

Florida

LaMichel Perine 7 carries, 31 yards, 9-yard run

Dameon Pierce 3 carries, 11 yards, 9-yard run

RECEIVERS & TIGHT ENDS

Georgia

Lawrence Cager 7 catches, 132 yards, 52-yard catch

Brian Herrien 4 catches, 46 yards, 18-yard catch

Eli Wolf 2 catches, 26 yards, 22-yard catch

Demetris Robertson 2 catches, 24 yards, 17-yard catch

Florida

Freddie Swain 8 catches, 91 yards, 23-yard catch

Kyle Pitts 4 catches, 78 yards, 29-yard catch

Trevon Grimes 2 catches, 31 yards, 27-yard catch

Van Jefferson 2 catches, 31 yards, 23-yard catch

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