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Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes had a very strong spring for Georgia football.

The 5 big winners from Georgia’s spring practice, G-Day

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The biggest winners from Georgia football spring practice, G-Day

With G-Day now in the books, Georgia’s spring football practices have come to an end. And while G-Day itself may not have taught us a whole lot about the team, the 15 practices as a whole did reveal some things.

Kirby Smart very much likes his depth in the secondary. He’s still waiting for a few more wide receivers to show up. This team isn’t where Smart wants it to be, but that was never going to be possible.

Some players made some serious strides this spring. There are still a number of questions that need to be answered about this team, but now we have a slightly better idea of what kind of role they might play in the 2019 season:

Brian Herrien, senior running back

Zamir White and James Cook weren’t fully healthy this spring. Georgia didn’t need to see much out of D’Andre Swift this spring, given how he played last season. But Georgia had a hole to fill at running back with Elijah Holyfield heading to the NFL. And based on Saturday — along with how Herrien played the rest of the spring — he can definitely be that guy.

Herrien played well in a small sample size last year. Then in the spring game, he had 7 carries for 25 yards and 3 catches for 50 yards. He had one of the offensive highlights of the day when he scored on a 22-yard touchdown catch which included a stiff-arm of senior safety J.R. Reed.

“Brian is a good back, and Brian has gotten better,” Smart said about Herrien. “He’s been here for several springs, (and) one of those spring he carried 20 or 30 times when Nick (Chubb) and Sony (Michel) were coming back as seniors.

“So I’ve seen a lot of body of work from Brian. He has a good skillset caching the ball, he has a good understanding of our offense, and I thought he looked good today.”

A lot of people have been optimistic about Herrien’s possible role heading into the regular season. If he can play like he did on Saturday, Herrien is going to be another great running back for Georgia.

Jamaree Salyer, sophomore offensive lineman

Smart made sure to tell the media to not look too much into Georgia’s first-team offensive line on Saturday. Part of the reason for that is likely due to Salyer’s strong spring improvements.

Salyer has spent time at both right guard and right tackle this spring, along with working at center. It’s pretty clear that he’s taken a step forward in some way this spring at a number of positions.

Thanks to Salyer’s improvements this spring, Georgia has at least seven guys on the offensive line that are capable of starting. And that’s part of the reason why Georgia might have the best offensive line in the country.

Azeez Ojulari, redshirt freshman outside linebacker

You could have a number of takeaways from the outside linebacker position. Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson were both on the Black team, which was the first team defense. That should say something about how well they’ve played this spring.

But you’ll read plenty about those two in the days and months ahead. One guy we want to make sure we highlight is Azeez Ojulari. He didn’t have the recruiting profile that Smith or Brenton Cox did. But that doesn’t really matter with how he’s playing now.

Ojulari was also on the Black team on Saturday. He’s had a very strong spring, earning Smart’s praise even as he’s tried to temper expectations on the outside linebacker group.

Related: Azeez Ojulari continues to standout in loaded outside linebacker group

A lot of people have high hopes for Smith, Cox, Johnson and Adam Anderson, and rightfully so. But Ojulari clearly needs to be in that group as well after his performance this spring.

Nakobe Dean, freshman linebacker

We had to include one early enrollee on this list. You could make an argument for Smith, quarterback Stetson Bennett or even safety Lewis Cine after his strong performance on Saturday. But we’re going to go with Dean here.

He’s still facing a ton of competition at inside linebacker with Monty Rice, Tae Crowder and Channing Tindall. But Dean has pretty clearly impressed with his play so far. He finished with 5 tackles on the Black team, second only to Richard LeCounte.

Dean is one of the many star-studded members of Georgia’s 2019 class. And this spring, he clearly looked like the 5-star linebacker he was billed to be. The “next Roquan Smith” comparisons are still unfair, but Dean has looked maybe even better than Smith did in his first days in Athens.

Eric Stokes, redshirt sophomore cornerback

If Herrien made the offensive play of the day, Stokes’ pick-6 was the defensive play of the game. It offered up validation of sorts to the many Georgia fans who have penciled in Stokes as the replacement to Deandre Baker. And after Saturday, you can see the vision.

After his performance, Smart praised Stokes for how far he’s come. For those who don’t remember, Stokes was a 3-star cornerback and late addition to Georgia’s 2017 signing class.

“That’s a kid who has come a long way that really wasn’t a DB coming out of high school, he was just an athlete,” Smart said. “He’s very conscientious to doing things the right way. When you teach Stokes something, he listens and he applies it. When you combine that ability, you’ve got a pretty good player.”

Related: Eric Stokes experiences the good and bad of playing cornerback during G-Day

Smart has praised his defensive backs all spring, and Stokes might end up being the best of the bunch by the end of 2019.

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