The Georgia football freshmen that are most physically ready to contribute early
Not all incoming freshmen football players are created equally. Just look at Isaiah Wilson and Andrew Thomas in the 2017 recruiting class. Wilson was a 5-star prospect and the highest-rated signee in the class. But coming from New York, he wasn’t ready for the rigors of the SEC right away, which is why he redshirted.
Thomas, who played the same position as Wilson, started literally from his first game in Athens and was a stalwart at both tackle spots. It’s a big reason why he was taken with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Since that 2017 class, Georgia has continued to bring in wave after wave talented recruiting class, meaning there are elite freshmen in each class. But not all of them will be Andrew Thomas out of the gate. Some of them will need time to reshape their bodies and adjust to the speed of the game.
And given how unique this season figures to be due to COVID-19, it figures to be even more apparent which players will be able physically ready to contribute right away, and which might take a while.
Georgia has been cleared to hold voluntarily workouts starting on June 8. The Bulldogs did not have a chance to hold any spring practices in March and April due to COVID-19. And the prospects that are more advanced and finished products, figure to be the next Andrew Thomas or George Pickens for the Bulldogs.
Georgia has seen its fair share of contributions from freshmen running backs. Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb each topped 1,000 yards in their first seasons in Athens. Under Smart, D’Andre Swift made a number of key plays in the 2017 season, before growing into a bigger role as a sophomore and junior.
And Milton has the potential to do the same thing. Milton is already one of the most physically impressive freshmen on Georgia’s team, and he already made considerable gains in the weight room as an early enrollee.
Georgia also does have a need at the running back spot with Swift and Brian Herrien now off to the NFL. While Milton will have some competition for early reps, his size and physical running style will allow him to take some of the hits that come with playing big-time college football.
— Kendall Milton (@therealkmilt) January 1, 2020
Burton has played for a number of big-time high school programs, whether that be at Atlanta’s Hapeville Charter or IMG Academy in Florida. He knows, especially as a young player, what it is like to match-up with some of the best prospects in the sport and he’s shown in the past that he can hold his own.
Burton has also gotten high praise for his ball skills from former Georgia wide receiver Terrence Edwards. That was also the best attribute for Pickens as a freshman, wand he led the Bulldogs in receiving. Factor in Burton’s speed and his ability to play in the slot and there’s enough there to see why he’s a candidate to play early.
Georgia still has a pretty big need at the wide receiver position, which is a big reason why the Bulldogs signed five of them in the 2020 class. With Dominick Blaylock recovering from an ACL injury, there’s an opening for Burton at the slot position.
And with the Bulldogs playing Virginia and Alabama in the first three weeks of the season, Georgia is very likely going to need Burton to be ready in the case that Blaylock is not 100 percent.
With Burton we outlined, Georgia’s need at the wide receiver position. Rosemy also figures to be a player that can contribute early, though he would likely do so from one of the outside wide receiver positions.
Rosemy’s most obvious reason for inclusion on this list is due to his experience at St. Thomas Aquinas. The Florida powerhouse went unbeaten last year and won the state title last season and Rosemy is a big reason why. Playing against some of Florida’s, and thus the country’s, top athletes, Rosemy time and time again showed that he was able to make contested catches and win in tight spaces.
While he might not be as good of an athlete as Burton or fellow signee Arian Smith, Rosemy is the most polished of the three. Of all the prospects Georgia signed in the 2020 recruiting cycle, Rosemy might be the most ready to contribute from the jump.
— Marcus Rosemy (@rosemy_marcus) March 25, 2020
Along the lines of scrimmage, it’s rare to see a freshman play right away. Jamaree Salyer is the highest-rated offensive linemen Georgia has signed in under Smart, but he didn’t start until the final game of his sophomore year. That’s why Kirby Smart warned against expecting too much from Broderick Jones immediately.
The defensive line is largely the same story, though Travon Walker proved to be an exception a season ago. And the Bulldogs might have another exception on their hands this year in Carter.
Carter is an accomplished weight-lifter and is already a well-chiseled 300-pound while standing at 6-foot-3. But Carter also has impressive athleticism to add to his strong physique. He played tight end in high school and has been known to throw down a windmill dunk from time to time.
— Jalen Carter (@breadmanjalen) April 14, 2018
And like the wide receiver position, there are some openings on the defensive line, as the Bulldogs must replace five players from the group from the 2019 team. Georgia won’t ask Carter to do everything as a freshman but he’s got enough natural ability to play some kind of role for Georgia in his first year on campus.
Smart is one of the best defensive back coaches in the country. And in his time at Georgia, he’s shown that he will play a freshman at defensive back if they have the talent to do so. Tyson Campbell started 10 games as a freshman, while Tyrique Stevenson emerged as a contender late in the 2019 season.
Stevenson and Campbell were the highest-rated defensive backs Georgia signed in their respective classes. And Ringo is actually a higher rated prospect than both of those standouts.
Georgia has shown that it will rotate at defensive back, even at the cornerback position. Ringo will have a lot of competition, especially at cornerback, but he’s got the athletic ability to make an impact early. Ringo has already turned heads, as he got a chance to work with Richard Sherman and DK Metcalf. And those two NFL stars don’t exactly want to be working out with any scrub.
The #1 rated HS corner in the country in 2020 @KeleeRingo getting the words of wisdom today from the Best Corner in the @NFL @RSherman_25 during today’s on field session. The knowledge is priceless when the vision is clear and the people are Pure! #FSPCulture #WeJustWorking pic.twitter.com/efzQdQiEoF
— Tracy Ford (@TFordFSP) May 24, 2020
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