DawgNation will offer this report after every game which focuses on the freshmen who played, what they did and which ones have lost those newfangled (four games or less) redshirts. Check out the Georgia football edition from the 52-7 thrashing of the Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Georgia beat its in-state rival by 45 points. That’s the largest margin of victory in the Georgia Tech series for the Bulldogs. Ever.
The Bulldogs scored 52 points. That was also the all-time high for UGA in this series.
That came along a day in which the Bulldogs were minus-3 in turnover margin and had a missed Rodrigo Blankenship field goal. Those turnovers included a rare D’Andre Swift fumble (2x) and a muffed punt by freshman Dominick Blaylock.
Even with those hiccups, it stands to reason that the gulf between these programs is as wide as it has ever been. That is largely due to two factors: 1) Elite recruiting over the last four cycles by Kirby Smart and his staff and 2) Georgia Tech going in a fundamental player evaluation and priority change in its first year under Geoff Collins.
The Bulldogs played 73 players against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday. That was the most since way back in September when the Bulldogs fielded 86 members of its team against both Arkansas State and Murray State.
UGA also played 24 of its redshirt or true freshmen players against its annual ACC foe. That was also the highest total since those September games against the Racers and Red Wolves, respectively. It meant an uptick of 10 more freshmen Bulldogs seeing action and 17 more players overall than the previous week against Texas A&M.
How did that freshmen participation compare to the rest of the season?
- 13 of the 56 for the home finale against Texas A&M
- 13 of the 57 at Auburn
- 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
Rapid-fire participation info from Georgia-Georgia Tech
- The Bulldogs lined up five true or redshirt freshman receivers against Tech. That’s out of the eight wideouts that saw the field.
- UGA started two redshirt freshmen in Azeez Ojulari (OLB) and Kearis Jackson (WR) for the fifth straight week.
- Jackson, a redshirt from Fort Valley, has now started in six of the nine games he’s been available this fall. He missed three games due to the wrist injury he suffered in the season opener at Vanderbilt.
- Freshman WR Dominick Blaylock also earned his third career start.
- The Bulldogs showed off its offensive line depth on Saturday by playing 12 members of that room on Saturday, including one redshirt freshman and three other true freshmen.
- JUCO transfer DJ Daniel had his ninth straight start. The 2019 signee has started more games this fall than anyone ever thought he was likely to.
- The Bulldogs played nine defensive linemen. That total includes three players who will exhaust their eligibility after this season.
- Redshirt senior Michael Barnett drew his fourth start of the season and his fifth career start against Texas A&M at the nose tackle position.
- True freshmen safety Lewis Cine was not listed on the participation report for the first time all season, but he did play in the game regardless.
- Redshirt freshman WR Tommy Bush saw his first action of the 2019 season and also added a one-yard catch in his 2019 debut.
- 2019 DL signee Tramel Walthour (Liberty County HS/Hinesville, Ga.) also saw his first action of the 2019 season against Tech.
Georgia freshman OLB Nolan Smith set a new career-high with his three total tackles against Georgia Tech. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Who played against Tech (by classes):
- Freshmen: 14
- Redshirt freshmen: 10
- Touchdowns by true or redshirt freshmen: 3 (Dominick Blaylock, Kenny McIntosh and George Pickens)
- True or redshirt freshmen among the leading tacklers: 2 (Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith tied for second of the team with their three tackles, respectively.)
Georgia Tech freshman focus
Georgia played 23 redshirt or true freshmen. The big picture tallies up to 31 percent of all the Bulldogs who played on Saturday. That equates to:
- 0 of 2 QBs (1 QBs played in the previous game)
- 2 of 6 RBs (6 RBs played in the previous game)
- 5 of 8 WRs (5 WRs played in the previous game)
- 4 of 12 OLs (7 OLs played in the previous game)
- 2 of 4 TEs (2 TEs played in the previous game)
- 3 of 10 DLs (7 DLs played in the previous game
- 2 of 7 ILBs (6 ILBs played in the previous game)
- 2 of 5 OLBs (5 OLBs played in the previous game)
- 3 of 15 DBs (12 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.
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 (6 games)
- Redshirt freshman OLB Azeez Ojulari (12 games)
- Redshirt freshman DB Divaad Wilson (2 games)
- Freshman WR George Pickens (1 game)
- Freshman WR Dominick Blaylock (3 games)
Who started against Georgia Tech (all freshmen): Dominick Blaylock, Kearis Jackson and Azeez Ojulari
How many different Bulldogs have played in 2019: 99
How many of those have been freshmen or redshirt freshmen: 36 (37 percent of all participation)
George Pickens added his team-leading sixth touchdown reception of the season against Georgia Tech. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
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: 13
- 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.)
THE BIG PICTURE, PART I
Freshman Game Ball
Dominick Blaylock has now caught touchdowns against Auburn, Florida and Georgia Tech so far this season. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)
WR Dominick Blaylock (Walton HS/Marietta, Ga.)
Blaylock earns this weekly “Freshmen Report” honor for the second time time this season.
- The stat line: 2 catches/29 yards/1 TD catch (9 yards)/1 muffed punt
- Don’t overlook that: He had his best day returning punts as a Bulldog despite that fumbled punt. Despite being saddled with minus-16 yards in returns for that muffed punt, he still had three returns for 45 yards.
- The plays to pay attention to: 1) Blaylock established a career-high with a 29-yard punt return that set up a Blankenship field goal; 2) He lost that punt and it set Tech up for its only touchdown by starting a drive deep in UGA territory at the Bulldog 17; 3) He respond with a new career-high with another 32 yard return to set up another Georgia score; 4) His 9-yard touchdown catch was overshadowed by the George Pickens fracas which led to his ejection and forthcoming first-half suspension for the first half of the SEC championship game with LSU.
- Final 247Sports Composite recruiting rankings: Nation’s No. 5 WR/No. 36 overall prospect/Blaylock was the sixth highest-rated recruit in Georgia’s 2019 class.
- Interesting recruiting footnote: Blaylock was rated as a 5-star receiver for the balance of his prep career. He only lost his fifth star on the final rankings update for the 2019 class. It came after a dazzling senior season in which he etched his name further in the Georgia high school football record books and capped his prep career with three touchdowns worth of responsibility (2 TD catches, 1 TD pass) at the All-American Bowl. In short, he did nothing to lose his previous 5-star status.
- Former All-American: Yes (Blaylock was a part of three scoring plays in the 2019 All-American Bowl out in Texas.)
- Why did he choose Georgia? Blaylock’s “Homegrown” DawnNation feature details why he wound up a Bulldog.
- His commitment day DawgNation story: Blaylock chooses UGA
There are a couple of other elements to point out here regarding his 2019 season:
- The former Walton High star has more starts (three) than any other true freshman on the 2019 team
- He has the highest yards per catch average (17.6 yards per reception) of any WR of the team
- He has the longest touchdown catch (60 yards) of the season of any Georgia WR
- His five touchdown catches now rank him second on the team for 2019
- Blaylock ranks third on the team in receiving yards (299) for this season
Georgia football: Freshmen Report “Game balls” for 2019
- WR George Pickens (Murray State, South Carolina, Missouri and Texas A&M)
- Redshirt OLB Azeez Ojualri: (Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Florida)
- WR Dominick Blaylock (Arkansas State, Georgia Tech)
- OLB Nolan Smith (Murray State)
- ILB Nakobe Dean: (Kentucky)
- DL Travon Walker (Auburn)
- DB Divaad Wilson: (Notre Dame)
Notable time for other freshmen against Georgia Tech
- ILB Nakobe Dean: Finished second on the team with his three total tackles, including three solo stops.
- OLB Nolan Smith: Set a new career-high at UGA with his three total tackles
- WR George Pickens: His 41-yard TD catch was his sixth touchdown reception of the season. His six touchdown catches for 2019 lead the team.
- RB Kenny McIntosh: Scored his second career TD late against Tech
- DT Bill Norton: Had the first multi-stop day of his Georgia career, including a tackle for a loss that almost resulted in a safety.
FRESHMEN SUPERLATIVES FOR 2019