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Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith has been the best player on the Bulldogs defense through the first six games.

Midseason awards: The best Georgia football players (so far) this season

Cy Brown

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Georgia football midseason awards 2017

With six games in the book — and a 6-0 record — Georgia has reached the midway point of the 2017 regular season. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to dole out some midseason awards to celebrate some of the fantastic individuals performances from Bulldogs this season. These are all my opinion, so if you disagree with any let me know down in the comments. Let’s go.

Defensive MVP — Roquan Smith

Georgia fans were all floored by Smith’s performance last season as a sophomore, but now the rest of the nation is catching on. The rangy inside linebacker has become regarded as one of the best linebackers in the country. He leads the Dawgs in solo (25) and total (45) tackles. I’ll also go ahead and name him the overall MVP for the team. The defense is the best part of this football team, and Smith is the best player on the defense. Ipso facto, Smith is the best player on the team.

Honorable mentions: Lorenzo Carter, J.R. Reed, Davin Bellamy

Offensive MVP — Nick Chubb

Despite the fact Georgia has more depth at tailback than any team in college football and can rely on any number of guys to gain yards on the ground, Chubb is the centerpiece of this offense. So far this season, Chubb leads the SEC in rushing with 630 yards at 6.8 yards per carry, plus 8 touchdowns. With a resurgence in his senior season, he’s on his way to one of the most-prolific careers for a tailback in SEC history. It seems his decision to return for one more season is paying off.

Honorable mentions: Sony Michel, Isaiah Wynn, Terry Godwin

Most Improved Player — Rodrigo Blankenship

Georgia’s improvement on special teams exemplifies the transformation this team has undergone from Year 1 to Year 2 under Kirby Smart. And no player exemplifies improvement on special teams like Blankenship. He had just 20 touchbacks and a 36 percent touchback percentage in 13 games last season. Through six games this season, Blankenship has 29 touchbacks, second in the SEC, and is nailing touchbacks on 74 percent of kickoffs.

Honorable mentions: Terry Godwin, Johnathan Ledbetter, Javon Wims

Most Surprising Player — J.R. Reed

No one thought much of this Tulsa transfer until his name kept coming up in Smart’s press conferences this preseason. With all the praise Smart was throwing his way, a lot of folks figured Reed would be better than expected. I don’t think anyone expected him to be this good, though. He’s second on the team in tackles (32) and has an interception, forced fumble, and fumble recovery to his name. It didn’t take long for Reed to establish himself as one of the best players on the team.

Honorable mentions: Cameron Nizialek, Andrew Thomas, D’Andre Walker

Best Freshman — Jake Fromm

This could also be the “Thank God for this Guy” Award. Just look at where Florida State is without Deondre Francois. Fromm stepped into Jacob Eason’s shoes in the Appalachian State game and has played as well as you could ever ask a freshman quarterback to play, passing for 836 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing just 2 interceptions. And he’s only going to get better.

Honorable mentions: Andrew Thomas, D’Andre Swift

Play of the Season — Terry Godwin’s one-handed catch vs. Notre Dame

There are no need for words here. Just watch.


Honorable mentions: Fromm to Godwin flea-flicker vs. MSU; Davin Bellamy’s forced fumble vs. Notre Dame

Injury updates for Trent Thompson, Reggie Carter

On Monday, Smart updated the status of Trent Thompson, who sprained his MCL on Sept. 30 against Tennessee, but didn’t say whether or not he thinks his star defensive lineman will be back in action for the Missouri game.

“Trent’s recovering,” Smart said, according to Seth Emerson of DawgNation. “He’ll be day-to-day, and week-to-week. We haven’t ruled him out for this game. We hope to have him back. He’s moving around.”

Thompson was not seen at practice on Monday, nor was inside linebacker Reggie Carter, who suffered an undisclosed injury in the win over Tennessee. Starting left guard Solomon Kindley limped off in the Vanderbilt game, but was back with the first-team in practice Monday.

Georgia prepares for tough Missouri air attack

Statistically speaking, Georgia has one of the best pass defenses in college football. But much of that fact may have to do with the quality — or lack thereof — of its opponents’ passing games this season. This weekend the Dawgs will face a high-flying Missouri offense, the best passing attack they will have faced all season. From Emerson:

But for Georgia’s secondary, the opponents have to be taken into account: The highest-rated passing offense Georgia has faced is Appalachian State, ranked 73rd nationally. The others: Vanderbilt (88), Tennessee (91), Mississippi State (110), Notre Dame (115), plus Samford, an FCS opponent.

The latter half of the schedule will be tougher. Beginning right away.

Missouri, which visits Saturday, ranks 26th nationally in passing offense, as measured by passing yards per game (294). Junior quarterback Drew Lock passed well last year against this Georgia defense, most of whom are back this year.

‘Dawg Yards’

In his Monday press conference, Smart commented on “Dawg Yards,” running back coach Dell McGee’s term for yards after contact. Against Vanderbilt, Chubb and Michel racked up a whole lot of “Dawg Yards.”

Never satisfied

What’s that old saying about apples and trees?

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