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Oklahoma's record-setting quarterback Baker Mayfield answers reporters' questions for the first time since returning from New York with the Heisman Trophy.

Georgia football: 5 Oklahoma Sooners to watch in Rose Bowl

Cy Brown

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. 

5 Sooners to watch in the Rose Bowl

With Christmas in our rearview, we begin the final buildup to the College Football Playoff semifinal showdown against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. And we’ll begin with a look at five Sooners to watch when they meet the Dawgs in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Orlando Brown, T — If Georgia is unable to disrupt Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, it could be in for a long game. The key to disrupting Mayfield is getting past Brown and fellow tackle Bobby Evans, both of whom are first-round NFL talents. At 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds, Brown is a load to move, and he’ll present a major challenge for Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy and the rest of Georgia’s edge-rushers. Those players should have a bit of confidence when attacking Brown, however, considering how they manhandled future first-rounder Mike McGlinchey in the win over Notre Dame.

Rodney Anderson, RB — Anderson’s status for the Rose Bowl came into question when sexual assault allegations were levied against him in early December, however no charges resulted from those accusations. Anderson will play in the Rose, and if it’s anything like the rest of Oklahoma’s games, he’ll play well. Anderson is the Sooners’ leading rusher (960 yards, 11 TDs), but is also a threat in Oklahoma’s devastating aerial attack (283 receiving yards, 5 TDs).

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB — With the (deserved) attention focused on the Oklahoma offense, its defense often gets overlooked. The stats don’t look great for the Sooners’ D, but that’s skewed a bit by the high-flying offense throughout the Big 12. If nothing else, there is some supreme individual talent on this defense, starting with Okoronkwo. The senior is Okaloma’s top pass-rusher, logging 17 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumbles recovered. If any Sooners player is able to break Georgia’s line and affect Georgia QB Jake Fromm, it’s Okoronkwo.

Mark Andrews, TE — Andrews won the Mackey Award, given to the top tight end in college football, and it isn’t hard to see why. He led the Sooners in receptions (58) and touchdowns (8), and he’s second on the team in receiving yards (906). Oklahoma has a group of the most dependable receivers in the nation for Mayfield to throw to, and among them, Andrews is the most dependable. On important passing downs when Oklahoma has to have a catch, Andrews typically will be Mayfield’s first target.

Baker Mayfield, QB — Mayfield dominated defenses this season on his way to putting up 4,340 passing yards and 41 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. He’s the Heisman winner and the best offensive player in college football. (Shoutout to Dawgs LB Roquan Smith.) But as Mayfield goes, so shall the Sooners. You can probably count all of Mayfield’s poor performances at Oklahoma on one hand, but if Georgia can force a rare bad outing out of the senior, there’s a good chance his college career — and what a career it was — will end in Pasadena.

3-star safety de-commits from UGA

Three-star safety Aaron Brule has de-committed from Georgia citing “circumstances beyond my control.”  We’re left to speculate as to what those circumstances are. It’s possible Kirby Smart pulled Brule’s scholarship offer or asked him to grey shirt, but it could also be something completely different, on the side of the school or the recruit. We simply don’t know.

What we do know is Brule’s de-commitment, regardless of the reason, opens space for another, likely higher-rated prospect. One way or another, this recruiting class will fill to capacity.

Who’s next?

Bill Goldberg — or just “Goldberg” as you most likely know him — is one of the few former Bulldogs in a tricky spot heading into the Rose Bowl. The former WCW and WWE champion is a native of Tulsa, Okla., and grew up rooting for the Sooners before heading to Athens to play college football. But while his roots in Oklahoma run deep, his blood runs Georgia red, and Goldberg said he’ll be cheering for Georgia in the Rose Bowl, according to Chris Starrs of the Athens Banner-Herald.

And like many Georgia fans, Goldberg — who played under Vince Dooley in the late-80’s — is a huge fan of Smart and the identity the program is creating under his watch.

“I love Kirby,[”] he said. “I believe Kirby is the right guy for the University of Georgia to be doing what we want our head coach and our team to do. And thank God for it, because it’s about time. He’s like Erk Russell. He’s got some Erk in him and that’s what we need.

“The UGA football program needs to be feared by people. We’re not in the business of showing up and providing an entertaining football game. We need to knock the hell out of people… These guys play like a team and revel in winning as a team, not as individuals. And I’m really proud of that. These are some good kids.”

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