The Georgia football players we’ll be talking about at the end of spring practice
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The Georgia football players we’ll be talking about come the end of spring practice
Last spring, Azeez Ojulari was not the outside linebacker people thought we’d be talking about. There were names like Brenton Cox, Adam Anderson and incoming 5-star freshman Nolan Smith as well.
But after the 15 practices and the G-Day scrimmage, it was evident Ojulari was going to become a real player for the Bulldogs. That translated into the fall, when Ojulari went on to lead the Bulldogs in sacks.
So who might be the next Ojulari? Or what about a guy like Trey Hill? Kirby Smart had said Hill would work with the first team at center to start spring and then went on to start every game for the Bulldogs this past year.
With a team as talented, and as many holes, as Georgia is there are going to be plenty of names to throw around. And before we start this exercise, we’re ruling out Jamie Newman because people are going to be talking about him always throughout the 2020 season.
Running back Kendall Milton:
You could really go with any of the running backs here. Will this finally be the time Zamir White lives up to the hype? Will Kenny McIntosh be able to translate his small sample size success? How will James Cook be utilized in Todd Monken’s new offense?
All of those are valid questions and ones that will almost definitely be addressed this spring. But the guy we think might best turn some heads this spring is the freshman running back Milton.
Just his size and physicality make him standout from an already impressive group of running backs. It will be his first time competing against college athletes, but if there is any 2020 enrollee that might best be physically ready, it’s Milton.
You’ve seen him briefly impress in some of the workout videos Georgia has released and Georgia’s No. 1 running back rarely has the best day during the G-Day scrimmage. That could mean a bigger workload for Milton come April 18.
This doesn’t mean that Milton will go on to become the starter or Georgia’s top running back. We just feel that at some point this spring, Milton will do something that makes people feel a little bit better about having to replace D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien.
Tight end John Fitzpatrick:
Tight end production in spring games is not always a good indicator of what is to come. In the 2019 G-Day game, Charlie Woerner and Fitzpatrick combined for 10 catches. During the 2019 season, the duo had 10 catches.
But we’re not expecting Fitzpatrick to suddenly become Zach Ertz or George Kittle. FitzPatrick does have an opportunity though to get a head-start on carving a role in the Georgia offense, which could be key to him seeing the field in 2020.
Georgia has re-enforcements coming at the tight end position this summer in Florida State graduate transfer Tre Mckitty and 5-star 2020 signee Darnell Washington. So there will be some pressure for FitzPatrick to have a strong spring session.
And we think he can do that. He’s entering his third year in the program and now has familiarity working with Todd Hartley. We believe his experience at Georgia will help him have a big spring.
Offensive linemen Jamaree Salyer
Talking with the likes of Andrew Thomas, Isaiah Wilson and Solomon Kindley, it’s clear Salyer and Hill are going to be the leaders of the offensive line this year.
It seems pretty safe that Hill will be the starting center for Georgia. But the reason people will be taking an interest in Salyer is that he could line up across the offensive line and possibly fill a number of holes for the Bulldogs.
He repped at both right guard and right tackle last season. He made his first career start at the right tackle spot against Baylor and played very well in the Sugar Bowl win. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him possibly take reps at left tackle this spring given he could be Georgia’s most talented offensive lineman.
Georgia is bringing in a loaded class on the offensive line over the summer but the talk of the group next fall will likely be Salyer, much like how his former high school teammate Thomas was for the group in 2019.
Linebacker Nakobe Dean
Dean was getting a ton of hype during fall camp last season, beyond just being a 5-star linebacker. But an injury in the preseason slowed his start to the season. He finished his freshman with 25 tackles, working primarily as a third-down linebacker.
Tae Crowder having an outstanding season also played a role in keeping Dean off the field last year. With him now off to the NFL, there is a vacancy at one of Georgia’s two off-ball linebacker spots.
There’s a lot of great depth at the linebacker spot like guys such as Quay Walker, Nate McBride, Channing Tindall and Trezmen Marshall and Dean will have to be better than all of them to earn that starting spot come the Virginia game. We think Dean will turn some heads this spring and slot in nicely next to Monty Rice.
Defensive back Lewis Cine
Cine might be the closest example to what Ojulari was able to do last season. Cine first earned significant playing time against LSU and then started in the Sugar Bowl in place of an injured J.R. Reed.
With Reed now off to the NFL, Georgia has an opening at the safety spot. Ojulari used a strong Sugar Bowl performance and D’Andre Walker’s departure to become a starter for the Bulldogs in 2019.
Cine seems like the safest better to slot into that role. With Richard LeCounte coming back, Cine’s transition at safety shouldn’t be as difficult. He racked up 12 tackles in the two games at the end of the 2019 season, and it very much felt like it was only the beginning for the Bulldogs.
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- Scott Sinclair has keyed positive Georgia football culture shift of Kirby Smart Era
- How North Carolina’s in-state success impacts Georgia football 2021 recruiting efforts
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