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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
True freshman George Pickens had the first multi-score game of any Georgia receiver this year against Missouri.

Georgia football freshmen report: UGA 27, Missouri 0

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 27-0 home shutout of SEC East foe Missouri. 

Georgia improved to 8-1 and notched its third shutout of the season on Saturday against Missouri.

This stat was well-traveled across the weekend but it bears repeating: That’s the first time Georgia has posted three shutouts in a season since 1981. 

The Missouri game also saw the home team play more Bulldogs (63) than it has in a game dating back to that win in Knoxville over a month ago. That total remains the highest of any game this season against a Power 5 opponent.

That meant six more Bulldogs saw the field than in the previous two games against Kentucky and Florida.

Georgia also played more redshirt and true freshmen (17) against the Tigers than any other opponent this year outside of Arkansas State and Murray State.

How did that freshmen participation compare to previous weeks?

  • 14 of the 57 Bulldogs who helped take down Florida for the third straight time
  • 14 of the 57 players who lined up against 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
Nolan Smith-Georgia football-UGA football
Check out this rep above. The image contains four of Georgia’s most promising true freshmen defenders on the 2019 team in DB Tyrique Stevenson (bottom left) DL Travon Walker (center left) ILB Nakobe Dean (center right partially obscured) and OLB Nolan Smith (far right) in action against Mizzou. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Rapid-fire participation info from Georgia-Missouri

  • UGA started two redshirt freshmen in Azeez Ojulari (OLB) and Kearis Jackson (WR) for the second straight week.
  • The injuries across the OL saw Georgia play three more guys at that position than it had in the previous two SEC games.
  • JUCO transfer DJ Daniel had his sixth straight start.
  • The Bulldogs only played seven true defensive linemen against Missouri. That total includes four players who will exhaust their eligibility after this season.
  • Georgia senior DLs Michael Carter and Julian Rochester did not play. Those two now have appeared in just seven combined games this year. Carter has played in five of those.

Who played against Missouri (by classes):

  • Freshmen: 10
  • Redshirt freshmen: 7
  • Touchdowns by true or redshirt freshmen: 2 (Pickens)
  • True or redshirt freshmen among the leading tacklers: 2 (Cine, Nakobe Dean)

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Missouri game freshman focus

Georgia played 17 redshirt or true freshmen. The big picture tallies up to 27 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  (5 WRs played in the previous game)
  • 2 of 10 OLs (7 OLs played in the previous game)
  • 1 of 3 TEs (3 TEs played in the previous game)
  • 1 of 7 DLs (8 DLs played in the previous game
  • 2 of 6 ILBs (7 ILBs played in the previous game)
  • 2 of 6 OLBs (5 OLBs played in the previous game)
  • 3 of 13 DBs (11 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 plays the same group of DLs, ILBs and OLBs regardless of the quality of the opponent.

Tyrique Stevenson-Georgia football-UGA football
Freshman CB Tyrique Stevenson had a solid game against Missouri. His night included some increased reps and two passes broken up. (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 (3 games)
  • Redshirt freshman OLB Azeez Ojulari (9 games)
  • Redshirt freshman DB Divaad Wilson (2 games)
  • Freshman WR George Pickens (1 game)
  • Freshman WR Dominick Blaylock (1 game)

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

How many different Bulldogs have played in 2019: 96

How many of those have been freshmen or redshirt freshmen: 34 (35 percent of all participation)

Georgia football: Participation in 2019

  • Redshirt or grad transfer seniors: 9
  • Seniors: 8
  • Redshirt juniors: 5
  • Juniors: 15
  • Redshirt sophomores: 14
  • Sophomores: 12
  • Redshirt freshmen: 11
  • Freshmen: 23
  • Of note: Georgia has seen six of its true freshmen play in every game this year. That’s out of the 23 freshmen who have played so far in 2019. (Lewis Cine, Nakobe Dean, Trezmen Marshall, George Pickens, Nolan Smith and Tyrique Stevenson.)
Lewis Cine-Georgia football-UGA football
Freshman safety Lewis Cine continues to make plays for Georgia when he gets into the game. He has a bright future at that position in Athens. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

THE BIG PICTURE, PART I

Freshman Game Ball 

George Pickens-Georgia football-UGA football
Pickens also reached out for the goal line on any effort score for his first touchdown of the game. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

WR George Pickens (Hoover High/Hoover, Ala.)

Pickens earns this weekly “Freshmen Report” honor for the third time this season.

  • The stat line: 5 catches/67 yards/2 touchdowns
  • Of note: It was the first multi-TD game for a Georgia receiver in 2019.
  • The biggest play he made was: …. a pretty tough choice. His first scoring reception covered 25 yards for the first points of the game. His finishing stretch across the goal line was a remarkable exclamation point to the drive. His second TD catch covered 18 yards and it was one of the best catches we’ve seen in Sanford Stadium in quite some time. He twisted up and across his body for the grab and then got one foot down in a bang-bang play along the left sideline of the west end zone.
  • The biggest play he didn’t make was: Pickens lined up a step off the ball on a beautiful play where Jake Fromm checked to another play at the line. Georgia was flagged for having too many men in the backfield and not on the line of scrimmage. It wiped away a beautiful stretch play to Pickens for what would have been a 68-yard TD and his third score of the game. It would have been the longest pass completion for the Bulldogs of the season.
  • Final 247Sports Composite recruiting rankings: Nation’s No. 4 WR/No. 24 overall prospect/Pickens was the fourth highest-rated recruit in Georgia’s 2019 class.
  • Former All-American: Yes (Pickens was an Under Armour All-American for 2019.)

There are a couple of other elements to point out here from the game he had:

  • He is now tied for the team lead with Lawrence Cager with four touchdown catches
  • Pickens is now tied with Arkansas freshman WR Treylon Burks for the most receiving yards by a freshman (389) in the SEC this season.
  • He trails only Texas A&M TE Jalen Wydermyer for the most touchdown catches by a freshman in the SEC this year. Wydermyer, a former Georgia target, now has six.
  • Pickens has already had a more productive freshman season than all of those stellar Alabama junior wideouts did in their first seasons in the SEC. The same positive comparison applies to all four of the top receivers at LSU.
George Pickens-Georgia football-UGA football
George Pickens is putting up a freshman season in the SEC that compares favorably to the top receivers currently at both Alabama and LSU. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Georgia football: Freshmen Report “Game balls” for 2019

  • Redshirt OLB Azeez Ojualri: (Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Florida)
  • WR George Pickens (Murray State, South Carolina and Missouri)
  • WR Dominick Blaylock (Arkansas State)
  • OLB Nolan Smith (Murray State)
  • ILB Nakobe Dean: Kentucky
  • DB Divaad Wilson: Notre Dame

Notable time for other freshmen against Missouri

  • Freshman S Lewis Cine: continues to assert himself as a future playmaker. His future is quite bright. It is no leap of faith to consider he could already be a quality starting first-year SEC safety in 2020.
  • Freshman CB Tyrique Stevenson: Saw extended reps with the injury to Divaad Wilson and played well in those moments. He was matching Missouri’s future NFL tight end Albert Okwuegbunam at times. Stevenson finished with two pass breakups.
  • Freshman OLB Nolan Smith: Recorded the first SEC sack of his career against Missouri. Also finished with two tackles, including that tackle for loss.
  • Redshirt freshman RB Zamir WhiteHad six carries for 24 yards. That’s the most carries he’s had since he got 12 carries in the home loss to South Carolina. He’s shown a knack of late of taking what looks to be little daylight and turning it into a modest gain of three to four yards.
  • Freshman ILB Nakobe Dean: Finished with three tackles to remain among the team leaders in that category for yet another week.
  • Freshman OL Warren McClendon: Saw the first action of his career against an SEC opponent.
  • Freshman RB Kenny McIntosh: Wore the No. 28 jersey at times on special teams against Missouri. He wears No. 6 on the official roster, but the overlap of Otis Reese being on some of the same special teams called for him to wear that No. 28 without a name on the back.
Tyrique Stevenson-Georgia football-UGA football
Tyrique Stevenson was also matched up with future NFL tight end Albert Okwuegbunam on several occasions in the Missouri game. He’s covering starting WR Jonathan Nance here. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

FRESHMEN SUPERLATIVES FOR 2019

There are several categories in which a redshirt or a true freshmen Bulldog is already leading the team in 2019.

  • Receptions in a game: 7 (Tied: George Pickens)
  • Longest catch: 60 (Blaylock)
  • Longest TD catch: 60 (Blaylock)
  • Longest run: 62 (Kenny McIntosh)
  • Longest TD run: 62 (McIntosh)
  • Most receiving TDs (game): Pickens
  • Sacks (game): 2.0 (Ojulari
  • Sacks (season): 4.5 (Ojulari)
  • Tackles for a loss (game): 2 (Ojulari)

THE BIG PICTURE, PART II

HOT BOARD: Game-by-game freshman heat check

Azeez Ojulari-Georgia football-UGA football
Redshirt freshman OLB Azeez Ojulari has had the biggest impact on the 2019 season of all the redshirt and true freshman Bulldogs so far in 2019. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Let’s continue the blog with an assessment of the most valuable freshmen and redshirt freshmen to the team for the 2019 season. This feature is a nod to the top freshmen (redshirt or true) who have impacted the overall balance of the season the most up to this point.

  • No. 1: OLB Azeez Ojulari (Redshirt freshman and a former 4-star recruit): Ojulari is one of the top candidates for the team MVP on defense so far in 2019. He charted two tackles against Missouri.
  • No. 2: WR George Pickens  (former 5-star recruit): See above. He continues to be an animated player during the game. Pickens is now making the big catches, but he remains an engaged and willing blocker in the run game.
  • No. 3: OLB Nolan Smith (former 5-star recruit): Smith added that sack above. He now has 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for losses in 2019. His 11 QB hurries are the third-best total on the team.
  • No. 4: ILB Nakobe Dean (former 5-star recruit): Dean now has 16 tackles on the year, but 11 of those have come in his last three games. He leads all of Georgia’s true freshmen in tackles this year.
  • No. 5: DT Travon Walker (former 5-star recruit): The Georgia defensive line simply has more potential for “havoc” when he’s on the field. He added a tackle for loss against Mizzou. Kirby Smart stated in his Monday press conference for the Auburn game he forgets that Walker is still just a freshman out there for Georgia.
  • No. 6: WR Dominick Blaylock (former 4-star recruit): Blaylock did not record a catch against Missouri, but turned heads after he slipped two tackles on an 18-yard punt return.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: Safety Lewis Cine, WR Kearis Jackson

OTHERS TO MAKE THE HEAT CHECK THIS FALL: Redshirt freshman RB Zamir White; Redshirt freshman DB Divaad Wilson

FRESHMEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA

FRESHMEN TO PLAY IN EVERY GAME

The following true or redshirt freshmen Bulldogs have played in every game so far this season:

  • S Lewis Cine
  • ILB Nakobe Dean
  • Redshirt TE John FitzPatrick
  • ILB Trezmen Marshall
  • Redshirt OLB Azeez Ojulari
  • WR George Pickens
  • CB Tyrique Stevenson
  • OLB Nolan Smith
  • Redshirt walk-on LS Payne Walker
  • Redshirt DB Divaad Wilson

Participation for 2019 signees 

The Bulldogs who have seen action so far in 2019 is worth watching in terms of the new redshirt rules.

  • QB Stetson Bennett IV (redshirt sophomore): 3 games
  • WR Dominick Blaylock: 8 games
  • WR Lawrence Cager (grad transfer senior): 8 games
  • S Lewis Cine: 9 games
  • CB D.J. Daniel (junior college transfer): 8 games
  • ILB Rian Davis: 1 game
  • ILB Nakobe Dean: 9 games
  • TE Ryland Goede: 2 games
  • OLB Jermaine Johnson (junior college transfer): 9 games
  • DL Zion Logue: 2 games
  • ILB Trezmen Marshall: 9 games (special teams)
  • QB D’Wan Mathis: 0 games
  • OL Warren McClendon: 2 games
  • RB Kenny McIntosh: 7 games
  • DL Tymon Mitchell: 2 games
  • DL Bill Norton: 2 games
  • WR George Pickens: 9 games
  • TE Brett Seither: 2 games
  • OLB Nolan Smith: 9 games
  • CB Tyrique Stevenson: 9 games
  • WR Makiya Tongue: 2 games
  • OL Xavier Truss: 2 games
  • DT Travon Walker: 7 games
  • DL Tramel Walthour: 0 games
  • OL Clay Webb: 1 game
  • TE Eli Wolf (grad transfer senior): 8 games

True freshmen signees who did not play this week: ILB Rian Davis, TE Ryland Goede, QB D’Wan Mathis, DL Zion Logue, DL Tymon Mitchell, DL Bill Norton, TE Brett Seither, WR Makiya Tongue, OT Xavier Truss, and OL Clay Webb.


Georgia football: 2019 Freshman Reports on DawgNation