The 3 players who could benefit the most from a great G-Day performance
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Jamaree Salyer, Matt Landers, Azeez Ojulari could really benefit from strong G-Day
In terms of perception, G-Day is maybe a little overrated. It isn’t more important than the 14 spring practices that precede it. G-Day just happens to be the only one that’s open for everyone to see.
Behind closed doors, a number of players have already made big strides this spring. And with a final strong outing on Saturday, the three players we list below could emerge as big winners from Georgia’s 2019 spring session. G-Day is set for a 2 p.m. start time on Saturday. The action can be seen on the SEC Network.
Matt Landers, redshirt sophomore wide receiver
We could’ve gone with a number of different wide receivers here. Smart has spoken at length about a number the likes of Demetris Robertson, Tyler Simmons and Kearis Jackson. But a guy Smart usually brings up first when he’s spoken about the wide receivers this spring has been Landers.
After both scrimmages, Smart noted that Landers had made some plays for the Bulldogs. Given his massive frame — listed at 6-foot-5 — it’s easy to see why he’s someone the Bulldogs would want to get involved in the offense. Georgia’s passing offense really benefitted in 2017 from Javon Wims, a similarly sized wide receiver.
Landers hasn’t seen much of the field after signing with Georgia in 2017. He redshirted in his first season in Athens before playing in only four games in 2018. He has yet to catch a pass for Georgia in a regular season game.
But Landers does seem to have the support of some of his former teammates. Riley Ridley, Terry Godwin and Mecole Hardman have all pegged him as a possible breakout guy heading into this season. That’s a lot of pressure to be placed on Landers by three NFL-bound wide receivers, but so far this spring he’s lived up to it.
Some wide receiver is going to have a big day on Saturday. If Landers can be that guy, it would bode very well as Georgia heads into fall camp and eventually the season.
Azeez Ojulari, redshirt freshman outside linebacker
Much like wide receiver, there are a number of players at outside linebacker who could use a strong G-Day to separate themselves from the crowded pack. But a guy who has been doing that for most of the spring has been Ojulari.
While Georgia has been a little thin at outside linebacker this spring, Ojulari has made the most of his expanded opportunities. He wasn’t as big a recruiting name as Brenton Cox or Nolan Smith, but it’s clear Ojulari is a very talented player.
Ojulari missed most of last season due to an ACL injury. He redshirted but was able to gain some valuable experience during the bowl season and Sugar Bowl. And it looks like he used the bowl practices as a springboard into a strong spring.
“I think he’s transitioned really smooth,” Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said. “I think the bowl practices for he and Divaad (Wilson) and some of those younger players has almost made them like an experienced vet because they got all that work and they were able to go play the whole game like a starter. That helped his confidence now.”
Ojulari won’t be able to rack up sacks on Saturday given that it’s only a scrimmage and quarterbacks won’t be live. But if he can flash against Georgia’s dominant offensive tackles, there’s a very good chance he can do that a lot more come the regular season.
Jamaree Salyer, sophomore offensive lineman
Georiga may have already had the best offensive line in the country heading into the spring. And that’s even before Salyer made his move to establish himself.
Despite being the highest rated offensive lineman to ever sign with Georgia, Salyer had fallen a bit behind fellow 2018 signees Cade Mays and Trey Hill. While Hill looks to have the inside track on the vacant center position, Salyer has become a viable candidate to play at both right guard and right tackle.
“Up and down,” Smart said of Salyer’s progress this spring. “He hasn’t been as consistent as he was early on. He has to continue to get better. What I like about Jamaree is he gives you his best effort every day, and he went right tackle today and I think he played some right guard in there as well, rotating around. But, he has to continue to improve.”
Salyer was working with the first team offense at right tackle during the media-viewing portion of Tuesday’s practice. That doesn’t mean that Salyer has bypassed Isaiah Wilson at the position. But it is a sign that Georgia has liked what it’s seen out of Salyer so far.
It will be hard to tell how well Salyer plays on Saturday, just given how difficult it is to evaluate offensive line play. But a strong performance from Salyer would be another positive step for the former 5-star prospect.
Anthony Edwards set to officially become a Bulldog on Wednesday
Wednesday is the first day that 2019 basketball recruits who did not sign a letter of intent in the fall of 2018 can do so. That means that Georgia is expected to officially land the best basketball prospect in school history.
Anthony Edwards is the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect for the 2019 class. The Atlanta native committed to the Bulldogs back in February. And he’s made it very clear that he plans on signing with Georgia basketball and Tom Crean.
“My role is going to be play-making and being the best teammate I can be,” Edwards said following the McDonald’s All-American Game in March. “I showed (Wednesday night) I can pass, shoot, pull up, dunk ….. whatever people think I’ve got to show them, that’s cool.”
Once Edwards signs, he will officially be the highest rated player to ever sign with Georgia basketball. The previous holder of that title was Lou Williams, but he ultimately passed on coming to Georgia and went straight to the NBA from high school.
Edwards’ game has gotten comparisons to NBA MVP James Harden. And if Edwards lives up to that hype, there’s a chance he can lead Georgia to its first NCAA tournament appearance since the 2014-15 season. The Bulldogs went 11-21 in Crean’s first season in Athens.
Georgia is also expected to receive the letter of intent from Christian Brown on Wednesday. He is the No. 62 player in the class. Georgia previously signed Jaykwon Walton and Toumani Camara. All four of Georgia’s projected signee are rated as top-100 players in the 247Sports Composite rankings. Georgia’s 2019 recruiting class is rated No. 7 in the country, and still has room to add more signees.
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