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Jamaree Salyer has still played a role for this Georgia team, even if he's not starting.

Jamaree Salyer and his playing time explain why Georgia offensive line is one of the nation’s best

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Jamaree Salyer and his playing time explain why Georgia offensive line is one of the nation’s best

Of all the talented offensive linemen Georgia football has been able to sign this under Kirby Smart and Sam Pittman, none have been rated as highly coming into the program as Jamaree Salyer. He was the No. 10 overall player in the 2018 class and the No. 1 offensive guard prospect. For as great as Andrew Thomas, Isaiah Wilson and Cade Mays were as prospects, none were thought of as highly as Salyer.

But Salyer has yet to turn that hype into consistent playing time, much less a starting role in the Georgia offense. Two of his fellow 2018 offensive line signees, Mays and Trey Hill have become fixtures on Georgia’s offensive line. Salyer has not yet been able to beat out some of the older players when everyone has been healthy.

But the offensive line has rarely been healthy during the season. Mays, Wilson, Hill, Ben Cleveland, and Solomon Kindley have all battled nagging injuries at different points in the season. And because of that, Salyer has been able to come in and contribute when called upon.

Georgia saw a first-hand example of that when Salyer was inserted into the lineup in the second half of Georgia’s game against Auburn. Salyer played a key role in paving the way for Georgia’s third and final touchdown, which proved to be the decisive score going into the game.

“The man that is behind you is just as good as you are and might even be better. He’s just not playing at the moment,” Kindley said. “With Jamaree getting his time, he’s going to go in and do what he’s supposed to do.”

Salyer could likely be counted on again, as Cleveland and Mays are still banged up. Mays did practice more on Tuesday than he did on Monday, per Georgia coach Kirby Smart.

But should Georgia need to turn to Salyer — as it has a handful of times this year — Kindley feels confident that the Georgia offensive line isn’t going to miss a beat.

“Without Jamaree, I don’t think we’d be as successful because he brings something to the field that many people don’t know about,” Kindley said. “Things like brotherhood, family, good energy and vibes.”

For all the injuries Georgia has sustained on the line, it’s still managed to be on the best in the country. The group was named a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the nation’s top offensive line. The group has only given up 6.0 sacks all year, tied for the fewest in the country among Power Five teams. That’s made possible by being able to bring a guy like Salyer on in case of injury.

Salyer might not have a spot to step straight into next year, as Kindley and Cleveland both eligibility remaining. Kindley didn’t give any hints when asked on Wednesday if he might be staying or going next year. Salyer has repped at right tackle as well, but Isaiah Wilson is only a redshirt sophomore. Any speculation on his draft thoughts would be reckless.

But for all the hemming and hawing over whether or not Salyer is living up to the sky-high expectations, Kindley is still very confident in the sophomore.

“He’s going to be very good and has a very bright future.”

Georgia basketball wins even when Anthony Edwards isn’t the best player on the court

For large stretches of Wednesday night’s Georgia basketball game, freshman Anthony Edwards was not the best player for Georgia. That distinction belonged to junior Rayshaun Hammonds, who scored 19 of his 26 points in the first half. The Bulldogs had been able to keep Georgia Tech at arm’s length for much of the second half, thanks to Hammonds’ stellar effort.

But then with 10:15 left in the game, Hammonds picked up his fourth foul. At which point it became Anthony Edwards time.

Edwards scored eight of Georgia’s next 10 points in a 10-2 run that pushed Georgia’s lead from 56-48 to 66-50. Edwards scored in a variety of ways during that run. He hit a 3-pointer. He got to the free-throw line. He hit a contest and-1 lay-up that no average college player would have a shot at making.

But as a dejected Josh Pastner said, Edwards isn’t an average college player.

“He’s a pro, he’s going to be one of the top 3 draft picks, pros do that,” The Georgia Tech basketball coach said afterward.

Edwards finished the game with 18 points — 16 of them coming the second half — to go along with 8 rebounds and 2 assists as Georgia beat Georgia Tech 82-78. It was the fifth straight time the Bulldogs have beaten the Yellow Jackets.

When Georgia needed Edwards, he stepped up and delivered. Georgia was never in danger of losing after Edwards pushed the lead to 16 — though degenerates who had Georgia -5.5 suffered a brutal beat as Georgia Tech’s Michael Devoe hit a half-court buzzer-beater to cut the final margin from 7 to 4.

But the Bulldogs didn’t need Edwards to dominate for all 40 minutes. And the freshman was more than happy to have the team play through Hammonds, or whoever else has it going.

“What a lot of people don’t know about me is I feel like I can pass the ball. I am not a selfish player,” Edwards said. “Rayshaun here, had a great night. He had a hot hand. I don’t really care about who has the ball. All I care about is us winning.”

Georgia is 4-0 heading into the Maui Invitational, which will be a big step up in competition. The Bulldogs play Dayton on Monday and if they’re able to win that game, Georgia would take on Michigan State.

So next week will be a major showcase for Edwards and the Georgia program. But he — and the team — aren’t going there to put up numbers. As he and head coach Tom Crean reinforced on Wednesday, there’s really only one thing that matters to the freshman.

“It’s four games in, but he really wants to be a winner,” Crean said. “And we stress that all the time.”

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