ATHENS — Oscar Delp actually beat Brock Bowers in something. The two tight ends both knew they were going to have to add weight this offseason. Bowers is competitive about everything, as just about anyone in the program will tell you.

So Delp putting on 15 pounds, compared to Bowers’ 10 is no small feat. Even if the coaching staff didn’t want Bowers getting too big.

“They want me to play like kind of around that weight and as much as I can maintain,” Delp said. “The biggest thing was just getting stronger in the weight room and really just getting my legs stronger, chest bigger, arms stronger and everything. Just working out a ton and trusting the strength coaches and the strength staff and the nutrition staff and just eating everything they told me to.

“Just buying into the process and really trying to just put on as much weight as possible and get used to it running around in it and playing fast and playing big.”

Delp bulked in part because he’ll be taking a bigger role in the offense. And he’ll be taking snaps from the biggest guy on Georgia’s 2022 title team, as the Bulldogs have to replace Darnell Washington. The 6-foot-7, 280-pound tight end was a massive part of the Georgia offense last season.

His size and ability allowed Georgia to live in two tight end sets, giving Georgia an extra offensive lineman and a capable pass catcher. He’s not easy to replace, hence why Delp went through such an effort to improve this offseason.

Delp got a taste of replacing Washington when the latter went down with an ankle injury during the Ohio State game. At 230 pounds, he felt like he was “a little kid” matching up against some of Ohio State’s defenders.

But that experience should help Delp as he aims to replace Washington on a full-time basis.

“It was awesome getting in there and getting to experience a game like that and just an atmosphere like that,” Delp said. “To kind of look back on that now and be like, ‘OK, I did that.’ I kind of got that big first game out of the way. I just kind of got that off my shoulders. So I’m really excited for this season and to hopefully play in some more really big games.”

Putting on the extra weight has made things easier for Delp in the run-game. Georgia tight ends coach Todd Hartley has been impressed with Delp’s consistent improvement, even from the Ohio State game.

He played mostly wide receiver in high school, where blocking wasn’t prioritized like it is at tight end at an SEC level.

“I’m very proud of how hard he’s worked,” Hartley said. “He knows there’s a void with Darnell leaving that we have to have at the point of attack from the tight end standpoint. He knows he ahs the potential to fill that void. So he had to attack his blocking technique, his run game fundamentals, his pass game fundamentals. And he has done that. When he came in, that is where he has lacked the most.”

Delp was asked about Georgia’s other star tight end on Tuesday night. He knows he’s often going to be compared to Bowers, given how great the junior tight end has been for Georgia.

Eventually, Delp will be asked to replace Bowers as well. His mindset though when being compared to possibly the greatest college tight end of all-time reflects why he’s so well-positioned to play a larger role for Georgia this season.

“I’m just trying to be the next Oscar Delp,” Delp said. “I mean, obviously everyone wants to be like Brock Bowers and make the plays that he makes and they’re crazy. It’s great to have a guy like that in the room that can kind of mentor me and also just be one of my buddies that I just hang out with.”

Delp recalled his early days at Georgia when he was helping the team during the 2021-22 College Football Playoff. He was matched up against Travon Walker, who went on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Needless to say, things did not go well for Delp when asked to block the 275-pound wrecking ball.

“He basically just walked me back as far as he wanted,” Delp said. “That’s when I knew I had to do a lot of things to play in the SEC and play for Georgia.”

Delp has done most of those things. Whether it be putting on weight or improving as a blocker, he’d probably fair a good bit better now against Walker than he first did.

And based off what Hartley and Kirby Smart have said, they probably feel that way as well. They’re counting on him this season and they believe he’ll deliver.

Oscar Delp explains his expectations for Georgia football