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The Georgia football players that stand to benefit the most from a delayed start to 2020 season
The players: Dominick Blaylock, JT Daniels, Arian Smith, Broderick Jones
Even without spring practices, a number of Bulldogs are still working their way back to being healthy.
For Daniels, the Sept. 26 start date will have been a full year after he tore his ACL against Fresno State. The additional practice time will allow him to both regain confidence in his knee and better compete for the starting quarterback job. The longer the quarterback competition goes, the better that has to bode for Daniels, who gained eligibility for the 2020 season just last month.
Related: WATCH: Breaking down the many angles of new Georgia football transfer quarterback JT Daniels
Perhaps there’s no player that stands to benefit from the delayed start more than Blaylock, given his knee injury occurred in December of 2019. The expectation was that he would be ready to go for the start of the season, but now with the season now beginning until Sept. 26, Blaylock has no need to rush back to action. And with the Alabama game being pushed back at least a week, and possibly more, he could provide a huge boost to the Georgia passing game.
With Jones and Smith, the two talented freshmen picked up injuries over the course of the summer. At the time of those injuries, it wasn’t known if they’d be ready to go by the start of the season. But with a new starting date, Jones and Smith should be able to get on to the practice field and take significant reps before Georgia’s Sept. 26 contest.
The new starters
The players: Zamir White, Jamaree Salyer, Nakobe Dean, Lewis Cine
Georgia has a number of players who are looking to move from bit contributors to full-time starters.
On the offensive side, the two names that come to mind are White and Salyer. White seems poised to be the bell-cow at the running back position. He made his first career start against Baylor and carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards.
Salyer also made his first career start in the Sugar Bowl, though that was at the right tackle spot. Salyer has reshaped his body this offseason in an effort to become more athletic and possibly slide in at either the right or left tackle spots.
Related: Jamaree Salyer has been one of the big winners of Georgia’s offseason
Defensively, Dean and Cine figure to take over for Tae Crowder and JR Reed, two leaders on Georgia’s 2019 defense. Like with White and Salyer, the two defensive sophomores will have a chance to further establish themselves and show the coaching staff that they’re capable of taking on a much bigger role on the team.
The players: Jalen Carter, Darnell Washington, Jermaine Burton, Marcus Rosemy
One of the benefits of being an early enrollee is that it allows you to go through spring practices and gain more comfort within the college atmosphere. Well with no spring practice this year, that advantage was partially negated.
But if practices get started on Aug. 9, and the season resumes on Sept. 26, those extra practices will actually be greater than what those early enrollees would’ve gotten. And now every Georgia freshman that was a part of the No. 1 overall signing class in the 2020 cycle will be able to participate.
Of the players who might best benefit, Carter comes to mind as he has the potential to be a difference-maker on the defensive line. Washington, Burton and Rosemy all have a chance to impact and improve the Georgia passing game.
All four of those listed players were mid-year enrollees. They still would’ve eventually been contributors to Georgia’s 2020 team. But with more practices, they might be better positioned to make contributions even sooner in their first year.
The Swiss Army Knives:
The players: James Cook, Jermaine Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson
On both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, Georgia has a number of players who can fill a variety of roles. The dilemma is in figuring out the best way to use them.
With the extra practice time, Georgia has more time to figure out how to put the likes of Cook, Johnson and Stevenson in positions where they can make real impacts on the 2020 team.