The 4 most explosive players on Georgia football’s 2019 team
The Georgia football team is loaded with great athletes. That tends to be the case when you sign as many 4-star and 5-star prospects as Georgia has under head coach Kirby Smart.
And a number of members of the 2019 Georgia football team have been able to translate those athletic gifts to the football field. Below, we’ve identified four Georgia players who really know how to show off their athleticism and will do so quite often in 2019.
D’Andre Swift, junior running back
This one was an obvious inclusion. Whether it be his incredible straight-line speed, or his ability to freeze opposing defenders with one of his dead-leg cuts, Swift is an absolute terror to try and bring down in the open field.
Swift finally got healthy over the second half of the 2018 season and he was really able to showcase his talents for Georgia. He finished the season with 1,049 rushing yards, which led the team. He racked up 100 rushing yards efforts against Florida, Kentucky and Auburn, while also finishing with 138 all-purpose yards in the SEC Championship game.
For video evidence, you could pick any number of Swift’s great runs. The three that really stick out are his game-clinching runs against Auburn in 2017 and 2018 as well as his ankle-breaking touchdown run against Kentucky.
D'Andre Swift, making everyone miss. pic.twitter.com/xYr2dQus3J
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 3, 2018
— #34 (@ftbeard_17) November 11, 2018
Tyler Simmons, senior wide receiver
Even before the dismissal of Jeremiah Holloman, Simmons was expected to see a bigger role in his final season in Athens. Last season, Simmons flashed that he could be an explosive playmaker as a junior, albeit in a small sample size.
He finished last season with 14 combined receptions and carries. Simmons turned those limited touches into a total of 269 yards and 4 touchdowns. That’s an average of 19.2 yards per touch.
Simmons will almost certainly be more involved in the offense now than he was a year ago following the departure of Georgia’s five receiving leaders from 2018. In addition to breaking off big plays, Smart has routinely praised Simmons’ ability as a blocker, which is part of the reason he was able to get on the field last season.
And Simmons’ athletic skills also make him an asset on special teams. And yes, he’s such a good athlete that referees in the 2018 National Championship Game thought there was no possible way he could have been onside, even though he was.
It looks like Tyler Simmons was onside on this blocked punt…. pic.twitter.com/7EkFmnnXOS
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) January 9, 2018
Nolan Smith, freshman outside linebacker
Smith has yet to play a down of football for Georgia. But he’s already begun to make an impression on the Georgia coaching staff, as he had a strong spring practice performance for the Bulldogs.
“Nolan plays hard all the time,” Smart said. “He doesn’t always play smart but he plays with great effort and does a good job.”
Smith was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 overall player in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the 2019 class. And while he hasn’t yet shown it on the field, Smith has flashed some of athleticism that made him a 5-star prospect.
Georgia strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair showed Smith clearing a significant box jump with ease earlier this summer.
— scott sinclair (@coach_sinclair) June 19, 2019
Georgia is going to need Smith to produce early in his time in Athens, as the Bulldogs were one of the worst pass rushing teams in the country a season ago. If Smith is able to shine early on as a pass rusher, that will go a long way in helping the Georgia defense become an elite unit in 2019.
Eric Stokes, redshirt sophomore cornerback
Georgia’s secondary has a lot of impressive athletes. Tyson Campbell was one of the fastest players in the country in high school, while Richard LeCounte is also a worthy name for this list. But our actual answer here is Stokes.
Unlike LeCounte and Campbell, Stokes wasn’t a 5-star prospect coming out of high school. He was a 3-star prospect in the 2017 class. In his high school days, Stokes was very well-regarded as a sprinter and was standing a few feet away from Nick Chubb in one of his more iconic photos at a state track meet.
Just want y’all to know, he put his arm in my line & slowed me down at the end 😂 https://t.co/gtw4PpJTSn
— Eric Stokes Jr (@_jamane_) March 29, 2019
Stokes used some of that athletic ability when he took over for Campbell during the stretch run of the 2018 season. Now with Deandre Baker off to the NFL, Stokes is expected to fill his role again. And if he plays as he did in Georgia’s spring game, the Bulldogs might have a lockdown cornerback for a second straight season.
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