Would you like to receive DawgNation news alerts? Excellent! News alerts will be displayed in your browser.
Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Jordan Davis had a big year in 2018 and will look to improve in 2019.

ESPN names who will be the breakout sophomore for Georgia football in 2019

A smart Georgia football fan will tell you that sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Davis was a huge part of the defense last year. While he may not have put eye-popping numbers, the maligned Georgia run defense was much better with him in the lineup last season.

One would only have to look at the Texas game, which he missed due to a back injury, to see his impact. Georgia gave up 178 rushing yards in the Sugar Bowl loss, which was their second-worst output of the season.

Big things are expected of Davis entering his sophomore season, especially compared to a year ago. Despite Georgia signing the No. 1 overall recruiting class for the 2018 cycle, Davis was one of the lowest ranked recruits in the class.

But that recruiting ranking doesn’t seem to matter now, especially given that ESPN’s Alex Scarborough has tabbed as Georgia’s breakout sophomore for the 2019 season.

“While it’s true he didn’t light up the stat sheet with 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks, as an interior lineman that’s not an accurate measure of his performance,” Scarborough said. “What is? How about earning a spot on the coaches’ freshman All-SEC team? At 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, Davis has the size and strength to anchor Kirby Smart’s defense for years to come.”

One thing to watch with Davis is how well he continues to monitor his weight. Early this offseason Georgia coach Kirby Smart did say that Davis’ weight is something he’s continued to work on and battle over the course of the offseason.

“Jordan is pushing hard, Jordan works really hard, he’s working to control his weight,” Smart said back in March. “Jordan’s not playing to the level that he was mid-season, end of the season. He’s not there right now, but he’s working hard.

“Jordan comes in and works cardio more than anybody we’ve got. If I ran as much as Jordan my wife would be happy because I’d be skinny. But Jordan’s got to fight that battle and he knows it.”

Georgia may not need to be as reliant on Davis this coming season, as it does have Tymon Mitchell entering the program. The 2019 signee has a similar build to that of Davis and could help potentially ease the load Davis has to carry.

Davis isn’t the only sophomore name to watch though. Cornerbacks Eric Stokes — a redshirt sophomore — and Tyson Campbell both have a good bit of playing experience to go along with some very good athletic skills. And Trey Hill seems poised to take over as the starting center on the offensive line, joining fellow redshirt sophomore Isaiah Wilson as a starter.

Related: Why Eric Stokes is going to be a nationally known name by the end of 2019

There’s also the possibility that the likes of Brenton Cox, Channing Tindall or Quay Walker all take big steps forward and emerge as contributors in their second year at Georgia. All three could prove to be important members of Georgia’s front 7 in 2019.

Last year’s Georgia team nearly made the College Football Playoff thanks in large part to the efforts of some of its sophomore players. Quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D’Andre Swift and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas all had stellar seasons.  All three return for their junior seasons this year and are a big reason why Georgia figures to be one of the best teams in the country.

Davis and the rest of the Bulldogs open the 2019 season on Aug. 31 when the Bulldogs visit the Vanderbilt Commodores. The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on the SEC Network.

Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation