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What we learned about Georgia football before Arkansas State week 3 game includes some praise for Netori Johnson

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Netori Johnson moved from offensive line to defensive line.

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What learned about Georgia football heading into week 3 game against Arkansas State

Quarterback: Georgia freshman quarterback D’Wan Mathis has still not yet been cleared for contact. Mathis — a 4-star quarterback in 2019 recruiting cycle — had brain surgery in May.

Mathis has been able to practice with Georgia and he did dress out and go through warm-ups prior to the Murray State game.

But Georgia coach Kirby Smart still doesn’t have an answer on when Mathis might be ready to go.

“I don’t have a set timeline, like week seven he’s going to be able to go out there and do this,” Smart said. “He’s been able to do more and more every week, and we continue to grow that. He does a little bit more each time, but he’s not cleared yet.”

With Mathis still not eligible to play, Stetson Bennett has become firmly entrenched as the team’s back-up.

Related: Georgia football looking to learn more about Stetson Bennett during Arkansas State game

Running back: D’Andre Swift and Zamir White have garnered plenty of attention and highlights so far in the 2019 season. Through two games, the duo has combined for 337 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

Related: How D’Andre Swift is ‘trying to be the best running back in college football’

But Georgia has another “running back” it can turn to for explosive plays. Smart gave some pretty strong praise to sophomore James Cook.

“He’s very versatile. He can lineup in the backfield and runs the whole play,” Smart said. “He can bounce outside, he can be a slot receiver. He can be a rocket guy, he can block. James does a lot of good things.”

Cook displayed some of his playmaking abilities in the week 1 win over as he scored an 18-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He has 5 carries and 4 receptions through Georgia’s first two games.

The sophomore got off to a fast start a year ago, but faded as the year went on. Now a year older — and also bigger — Cook is more adept at handling various roles in the Georgia offense.

“He was coming into his own and understanding of what kind of roles he had to do and understanding the offense,” Smart said.   That’s a growth and maturity process which he’s been able to do. As he continues to be able to do more, we want to use him more.”

Wide receiver: At Georgia practices this week, George Pickens wasn’t the only wide receiver making some highlight-worthy catches. In fact, sophomore Kearis Jackson’s catches may have been more impressive than what Pickens has been able to do.

Related: There’s more to George Pickens than A.J. Green comparisons and viral catches

Jackson made multiple one-handed grabs during practice. And those are the only catches Jackson can make right now as he’s got a club on his left hand. Jackson injured his hand in the week 1 win over Vanderbilt.

After the game, Smart said he would be out three to four weeks. Smart provided another update on Jackson on Tuesday.

“He’s available. But I don’t know if we’re going to put him out there with a club, it’d be pretty one dimensional. Unless he’s able to catch every ball with one hand. He’s practicing,” Smart said. “He takes routes. He catches punts, he’s doing everything, but we’re not ready to use him until he’s 100%.”

Jackson got the first crack at punt return in the Vanderbilt game while also hauling in 2 catches for 32 yards prior to leaving the game with his hand injury.

Tight end: Eli Wolf’s 4-catch, 73 yard game against Murray State came as a surprise to some, given that he’s only been on Georgia’s campus for a few weeks.

The effort proved to be eye-opening, as Wolf consistently found open space in the Murray State defense.

“I really didn’t know he could play that well. He showed to the world and to me that he could really play and he will be a great asset to our team,”  Georgia wide receiver Tyler Simmons said of Wolf.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart echoed Simmons’ comments, calling Wolf “a weapon.” The 73 yards were more than Wolf had all of last season for Tennessee.

Offensive line: Georgia center Trey Hill has some big shoes to fill, as he’s replacing Lamont Gaillard. The now Arizona Cardinal was the Bulldogs’ starting center for the past two seasons and was named First Team All-SEC in 2018.

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