With the news that Julian Rochester and Demetris Robertson will both be returning to Georgia for the 2021 season, we now have a much clearer idea of what the roster will look like this fall.
The Bulldogs, like every other FBS team, are allotted 85 scholarship players. After all the roster movement over the past month, our unofficial count has Georgia sitting at 83 scholarship players at the moment.
Come the fall, Georgia will see four of those scholarships no longer count towards the 85. That’s due to the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility to players due to the pandemic. The four scholarships belong to Robertson, Rochester, Devonte Wyatt and Justin Shaffer. They were all seniors on the 2020 team who will use the extra year of eligibility.
Georgia will bring in four more signees from the 2021 signing class in Dylan Fairchild, Juman Dumas-Johnson, Kamari Lassiter and Jared Wilson.
All this puts the fall count scholarship number at 83. Meaning Georgia does have room to add to its roster. That should be seen as a positive given some of the Bulldogs’ pressing needs
The most obvious way Georgia could add to its scholarship total would be through the transfer portal. In each of the past two seasons, Georgia has landed at least two players out of the transfer portal, with the Bulldogs bringing in Jamie Newman, Tre’ McKitty and JT Daniels last offseason.
Among the positions of need for Georgia, cornerback is the most apparent. Following the departures of Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, DJ Daniel and Tyrique Stevenson, Georgia enters the 2021 season with zero career starts at the cornerback position among players on its active roster.
The Bulldogs have talent at the position such as former blue-chip recruits Kelee Ringo, Jalen Kimber and Nyland Green. But Georgia is looking for a more proven player at the position so that Georgia doesn’t inexperience at the position.
“It’s a position that needs to be developed, we have some guys that we’ve been developing that need to step up and play,” Kirby Smart said on National Signing Day. ” We’ve also got some young guys that we’ve signed that we just talked about that will have to grow quickly and will get an opportunity to compete for positions.
“We certainly have availability at that spot and we certainly knew that was coming for a long time, because we had some talented players that we knew were going to have the ability to leave as juniors.”
With classes underway, Georgia can afford to be patient when it comes to making additions. Following spring practice, there will likely be a slew of players entering the transfer portal once again.
If we use Georgia’s past transfer portal additions as a guide, the Bulldogs will look to add someone with Power 5 starting experience. McKitty, Newman and Daniels all fit those qualifications, as did 2019 transfer portal players Eli Wolf and Lawrence Cager.
There is one cornerback who recently entered the transfer portal who does fit those qualifications. West Virginia cornerback Dreshun Miller entered the transfer portal on Thursday. He started nine games last season for the Mountaineers.
Embracing My Journey by Walking Through Faith 🚶🏾♂️🙏🏾. pic.twitter.com/n1gfaoB0OY
— Dreshun Miller (@DreshunMiller) February 11, 2021
In his time at West Virginia, he was coached by none other than recently hired Georgia defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae. Miller is also from the state of Georgia, as he played his high school football at Sprayberry High School and hails from Kennesaw, Ga.
This isn’t to say that Miller is a lock to be at Georgia next season. Someone who Georgia might like more could enter the transfer portal at a later date and take one of those spots. There are just a lot of interesting ties between Miller and Georgia.
Smart did hint at the possibility of Georgia still adding to the 2021 signing class in a radio interview with 680 The Fan. That could be through an uncommitted 2021 player or a player in the 2022 class reclassifying to join the 2021 cycle. Daniels himself did that as a high school recruit, joining the 2018 USC signing class after initially being a 2019 recruit.
There are also walk-ons who are likely deserving of going on scholarship. Starting kicker Jack Podlesny for example does not count against the current 83-man count, even after making 13 of his 16 field goal attempts in 2020. His most notable make was a 53-yarder to give Georgia the win against Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.
DAWGS ON TOP 🔥
Jack Podlesny hits a career-long 53-yard FG to cap the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl comeback for Georgia! pic.twitter.com/eMPZjKbW3f
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 1, 2021
Georgia’s roster movement for the 2021 season is far from done. Like just about every other college program, you can bet Georgia will likely have some of its own players enter the transfer portal following spring practice. Especially if the NCAA does choose to pass the one-time transfer rule this offseason, as has long been anticipated.
The announcements by Rochester and Robertson help give us a clear idea of what Georgia’s team will look like come this fall. But Smart and his staff will be tinkering with the roster in the months to come so that Georgia can put together the best 85-man roster for the 2021 season.
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- 4 Georgia players projected in first 3 rounds of draft, per NFL.com
- An early deep dive on the most important position battle for Georgia’s 2021 team
- Georgia football rising stars on offense, defense and special teams lead off field
- Georgia football updates 2021 roster with status of Walter Grant, Demetris Robertson, Julian Rochester
- Georgia basketball’s furious second-half rally falls short at Tennessee