Georgia football freshmen report: UGA 21, Auburn 14

Dominick Blaylock-Georgia football-UGA football
True freshman Dominick Blaylock came up with a huge 50-yard touchdown catch for the first points on Auburn.

DawgNation will offer this report after every game which focuses on the freshmen who played, what they did and which ones might lose one of those newfangled (four games or less) redshirts.  Check out the Georgia football edition from the big 21-14 road win at Auburn. 

Dominick Blaylock and Travon Walker both played bookend roles for the Georgia Bulldogs in the G-normous win against Auburn on Saturday.

Both true freshmen. Blaylock hauled in a 50-yard strike from junior Jake Fromm and then kept his feet enough to reach the end zone. That was good for the first points of the game.

(Skip ahead to the deciding play of the game.)

Walker dropped Auburn quarterback Bo Nix for a 5-yard loss on a fourth-and-10 snap at the Auburn 22. It snuffed out the last hopes for Auburn with 1:39 left to play. Game over. Georgia ran the clock out from there.

Those plays – and the young players who made them – are what the weekly DawgNation “Freshmen Report” is all about. It was created to move the needle forward on all the elite recruiting classes the program signs. Do these young players that get hyped up truly measure up and make an impact on the team during their first season on campus?

It seems like that is indeed the case at the University of Georgia. What’s the biggest area of growth on the Georgia football team right now? Kirby Smart answered that one after the Auburn win.

“I would say the youth has grown the most,” he said. “I’m talking about these guys who have stepped up and begun to play whether it is special teams or a little defensive group of guys that are starting to play well. They are starting to improve. That’s probably the most growth.”

The Bulldogs played 58 players against Auburn, including 14 redshirt and true freshmen. The quality of the opponent meant a dip in freshman participation.

Georgia played four more of those redshirts and first-year guys against Missouri. They also played 63 total players against those Tigers from the SEC East.

How did that freshmen participation compare to the rest of the season?

  • 17 of the 63 at home against Mizzou.
  • 14 of the 57 Bulldogs who helped take down Florida for the third straight time
  • 14 of the 57 vs. Kentucky
  • 15 of the 62 against South Carolina
  • 15 of 63 at Tennessee
  • 13 of 60 against Notre Dame
  • 30 of 86 vs. Arkansas State
  • 29 of 86 vs. Murray State
  • 13 of 61 at Vanderbilt
Tyrique Stevenson added a sack on Saturday against Auburn. He’s playing better every week right now for Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Rapid-fire participation info from Georgia-Auburn

  • UGA started two redshirt freshmen in Azeez Ojulari (OLB) and Kearis Jackson (WR) for the third straight week.
  • Despite the injuries across the O-line, the Bulldogs played just seven OLs. They played 10 guys at that position against Missouri.
  • JUCO transfer DJ Daniel had his seventh straight start. The 2019 signee has started more games this fall than anyone ever thought he was likely to do.
  • The Bulldogs played eight true defensive linemen. That total includes four players who will exhaust their eligibility after this season.
  • Georgia senior Julian Rochester did not play. He has played in just two games in 2019.
  • Preferred walk-on WR Jaylen Johnson made the 70-man travel roster but did not see action. Redshirt freshman DB Hugh Nelson also made the travel roster and did get in the game. He did so when a handful of scholarship DBs that made the travel roster did not.

Who played against Auburn (by classes):

  • Freshmen: 8
  • Redshirt freshmen: 4
  • Touchdowns by true or redshirt freshmen: 1 (Blaylock)
  • True or redshirt freshmen among the leading tacklers: 0

Auburn game freshman focus

Georgia played 12 redshirt or true freshmen. The big picture tallies up to 21 percent of all the Bulldogs who played on Saturday. That equates to:

  • 0 of 1 QBs (1 QBs played in the previous game)
  • 2 of 6 RBs (6 RBs played in the previous game)
  • 3 of 7 WRs  (7 WRs played in the previous game)
  • 0 of 7 OLs (10 OLs played in the previous game)
  • 1 of 3 TEs (3 TEs played in the previous game)
  • 1 of 8 DLs (7 DLs played in the previous game
  • 2 of 6 ILBs (6 ILBs played in the previous game)
  • 2 of 6 OLBs (6 OLBs played in the previous game)
  • 3 of 11 DBs (13 DBs played in the previous game)
  • 0 of 1 PKs (No change versus the previous game)
  • 0 of 1 Ps (No change from the previous game)
  • 1 of 2 LSs (No change from the previous game)

What that study has shown far this year: Georgia essentially plays the same group of DLs, ILBs and OLBs regardless of the quality of the Power 5 opponent.

Dominick Blaylock is now tied for the team lead at Georgia with his four touchdown catches for the season. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

FRESHMEN BULLDOGS IN 2019

What’s more important? Snaps or starts? Both are important, but there is a reason why certain players start the game and stay on the field for the biggest plays. That’s because the coaches trust them to play winning football by what they have seen on the practice field.

There are common instances where the scheme fit based on each opponent allows for a different starting rotation as well.

Here is the weekly list of the true freshmen and redshirt freshmen that have started games in 2019.

  • Redshirt freshman TE John FitzPatrick (1 game)
  • Redshirt freshman WR Kearis Jackson (4 games)
  • Redshirt freshman OLB Azeez Ojulari (10 games)
  • Redshirt freshman DB Divaad Wilson (2 games)
  • Freshman WR George Pickens (1 game)
  • Freshman WR Dominick Blaylock (1 game)

Who started against Auburn (all freshmen): Kearis Jackson and Azeez Ojulari

How many different Bulldogs have played in 2019: 97

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