Former Georgia football stars tab breakout players for 2020 team
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Former Georgia football stars identify breakout players for 2020 team
INDIANAPOLIS — Jake Fromm, Andrew Thomas and the other eight former Georgia standouts who participated in the NFL combine this past week know quite a bit about the 2020 Georgia football team.
They’ve battled against the likes of Nolan Smith, Zamir White and Tyson Campbell in practice. They know which guys are just scratching at the surface of their potential.
And they’re pretty confident they know which players on the 2020 Georgia football team are going to break out and have a strong season. We asked a number of the Georgia standouts who were in Indianapolis who those future standouts might be and the group gave some pretty interesting and telling answers.
The first name that obviously jumped to mind was that of George Pickens. He announced himself to the college football world with his 12-catch, 175-yard performance in the Sugar Bowl.
With another year of experience and work in the Georgia system, Pickens has a chance to emerge as one of the best wide receivers in the sport.
“He’s just very talented. His first year in, adjusting to the playbook, is pretty difficult sometimes,” Thomas said. “You can see him in practice sometimes he’s catching the ball with one hand sometimes and the coach is yelling at him to catch it with two hands.
“He just does freaky stuff and he’s going to be a great player.”
Fromm also made sure to identify Pickens as breakout player for next year, citing Pickens’ passion for the game of football. He led all Georgia receivers in catches, yards and touchdowns as a freshman.
But he isn’t the only receiver who got mentioned. Lawrence Cager — who perhaps knows the group better than anyone — made sure to mention Dominick Blaylock as someone who could turn in a star performance in 2020.
“Dom Blaylock he’s going to be a beast,” Cager said. “The thing is that Dom still has the same mindset. He’s going to keep grinding. He’s been doing his own work and he’s going to great.”
Cager has seen Blaylock and his work up close the past couple of months as both have been rehabbing. Cager suffered an ankle injury prior to the Georgia Tech game that ended his season, while Blaylock tore his ACL in the first half against LSU. Blaylock is expected to be ready to go at the start of fall camp in August.
As for the offensive line, there are quite a few holes to fill, given Georgia had three starters from the 2019 team in Indianapolis. And each one — Solomon Kindley and Isaiah Wilson to go along with Thomas — highlighted two players who are going to step up with those three all playing on Sundays.
Hill started every game at center last year, while Salyer didn’t make his first start until the Sugar Bowl. The remade offensive line looked strong against the No. 1 pass-rushing team in the Big 12 in Baylor, and Wilson credited Hill, Salyer and Warren Ericson for that effort.
All three came to Georgia as a part of the 2018 class and each is expected to be a leader of what should be a drastically different group. Despite the turnover, there isn’t much of an expectation for a dropoff.
Kindley provided a little more detail on why Hill and Salyer specifically should be able to shine in the 2020 season.
“They’re young kids but they work so hard,” Kindley said. “They’re leaders and if you go around them, they have great character. If you go around them, you’d think they’re one of us.
“We think they could come out this year because of the way they walk and carry themselves.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Georgia had only one player at the combine in safety J.R. Reed. That means that the bulk of Georgia’s 2019 defense will be back in 2020. Given the Bulldogs had one of the nation’s best defensive units in college football last year, there are a number of names to pick from.
Reed gave some love to sophomore safety Lewis Cine. Cager added that he’s excited to see Richard LeCounte take on a bigger leadership role for the Bulldogs.
The former Georgia wide receiver also made sure to put shout-out a player who he thinks could be the best player at his position in the SEC.
“I think Eric Stokes is a guy that will make noise,” Cager said. “He’s fast as I don’t know, and going against me and George every day he’s become more physical, and that’s what you want in a corner.
“You want him to be fast and you want him to be physical, and I feel like he’s a great shutdown corner in the SEC.”
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