2023 Georgia football signees that will have an early impact as freshmen
Georgia once again brought in one of the top signing classes for the class of the 2023 signing cycle. While Georgia is still recruiting Duce Robinson, a 5-star tight end from Arizona, the Bulldogs signed 26 players from the class. Most of them are already on campus, with 18 having enrolled early.
Even on a team as talented as Georgia, the Bulldogs are more than likely going to see some of their recent signees see the field this season. Malaki Starks and Mykel Williams played big roles for Georgia almost immediately in 2022, while Bear Alexander, Dillon Bell and Jalon Walker grew into bigger roles over the course of the season.
With that in mind, there are several members of this class who have the potential and ability to find a role early on in their college careers.
Georgia has signed a lot of really talented offensive linemen under Kirby Smart. Yet only four — Andrew Thomas, Cade Mays, Trey Hill and Amarius Mims — have not redshirted as true freshmen.
We think there’s a world where Freeling becomes the fifth player to join that list. It helps Freeling that Georgia will replace both of its starting offensive tackles in Broderick Jones and Warren McClendon.
Freeling was Georgia’s top-rated offensive line signee, finishing as the No. 32 overall player in the class per the On3 Consensus. At 6-foot-7, Freeling has the frame to be a big-time offensive tackle, just as Mims will be for the Bulldogs next season.
Related: Final recruiting rankings for 2023 Georgia football signees, commitments, targets
The most important thing for Freeling will be adding strength and weight to his frame, as he’ll be seeing a big step up in competition. Georgia’s tackle spot opposite Mims will be one of the more interesting position battles this offseason, with Earnest Greene and others competing for the spot.
Freeling has a chance to factor into that battle, even if he doesn’t end up winning the job.
Jamaal Jarrett and Jordan Hall
Georgia signed only two defensive linemen in this class, but both have the ability to find themselves on the field next season.
We’ll start with Jarrett. Georgia doesn’t have someone else with his size on the roster. There’s a reason he’s drawn comparisons to Jordan Davis. He was able to play for Georgia as a freshman back in 2018.
One of the major storylines for Jarrett, as it was for Davis, is the ability to control his weight. He arrived at Georgia at 380 pounds. Jarrett was able to work with the team during bowl practices but he did pick up a lower-body injury, as he was seen in a walking boot during the College Football Playoff run.
As for Hall, he’s got the versatility to play anywhere on the defensive line for Georgia. Whether it be with Alexander or Jalen Carter before him, Georgia has shown it will find a spot for young defensive linemen if they’re good enough.
Hall certainly has the potential to be so for Georgia.
Related: Jordan Hall: The “Big Baby” 2023 signee is tearing up the All-American Bowl out in Texas
CJ Allen and Raylen Wilson
Wilson has gotten a lot of press and given his athletic traits, he has an incredibly high ceiling in his career at Georgia. Much like Walker a season ago, he may just be too athletic to keep off the field.
Of Georgia’s three inside linebackers, Wilson was the highest-ranked of the three. He also enrolled early, getting a jump start on his college career.
But it’s actually Allen who has already earned praise from head coach Kirby Smart. After Georgia beat TCU, Smart gave pointed praise to Allen for the role he played on Georgia’s scout team in the build-up to the game.
“We got TCU, I called them all in,” Smart said. “I had the coaches meet with them. We made them meet and become this defense. And we said we’re going to do it better than they do it; you’re going to watch tape, sit in here, learn how to do it.
“We had a guy CJ Allen, No. 6, he did it as good as they did it. We had (Luke) Collins, 57, he did it as good as they did it. We had guys be their guys and do their defense exactly right. Until the last day we were walking in there, they were giving an unbelievable look. That set our offense up for success. Scout team makes a difference, and we had a hell of a scout team to give these guys a look.”
Related: The big story Kirby Smart wants Georgia football fans to know after UGA wins another national title
Allen was Georgia’s first linebacker commit in the class and was a clear priority for Georgia. While he might not be as flashy as Wilson or fellow signee Troy Bowles, that Allen has already impressed the coaches at Georgia.
Georgia does return Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Smael Mondon as starting inside linebackers but Allen and Wilson will both help out on special teams, giving them valuable reps as they grow as college players.
This one might be the perfect mesh of need and talent. Wilson was Georgia’s highest-rated signee, finishing as the No. 20 overall player in the 2023 recruiting cycle.
The Bulldogs also have to replace Nolan Smith and Robert Beal, as the two are headed off to the NFL. Chaz Chambliss is back for Georgia next season, but Walker has played the second-most snaps among returning players at outside linebacker, and he is primarily an inside linebacker for the Bulldogs.
Wilson was a massive recruiting win for Georgia, as the Bulldogs beat out Ohio State for the talented pass rusher. Georgia signed three outside linebackers in the 2023 cycle, but Wilson is the most prepared to contribute immediately for the Bulldogs.
Georgia does bring back Marvin Jones Jr., at the position, but it’s believed his on-field work this offseason will be limited as he recovers from a shoulder injury. That helps clear another opportunity for Wilson to see the field early.
Related: What Georgia football is getting in Damon Wilson
Obviously, Wilson is going to need to bulk up in order to handle the physical rigors of the SEC. But given what we saw Walker become for this defense last season, there is a belief at DawgNation that Wilson can fill the same role. What will be most telling for Wilson’s first season is how often is he able to get on the field in early downs, where opposing teams are more likely to run the football.
If Wilson can do that, he’ll have set himself up to have a monster freshman season for Georgia.
Georgia saw Starks start 14 games for the Bulldogs last season, playing very well for the most part for the Bulldogs. So playing a freshman in the secondary is not without precedent at Georgia.
And the Bulldogs do have to replace three-year starter Chris Smith at the safety spot opposite Starks. Aguero was Georgia’s lone safety signing in this cycle, and he was one of the top safety prospects in the 2023 recruiting cycle.
Like all the other names on the list, Aguero enrolled early at Georgia and is with the team this offseason. He’ll compete along with Dan Jackson, David Daniel-Sisvanah and others for the starting safety job.
Related: An early projection of Georgia football’s 2023 defensive depth chart
Aguero played at IMG Academy during his high school career so competition is not a problem for the talented young safety. If he can learn the defense quickly and use his athletic gifts, it may not come as a surprise if he pulls off the same feat that Starks did a season ago.
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