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Second time around
A lot of hype surrounds the new crop of freshmen every preseason, and rightfully so. Many Georgia fans spent a year closely following the recruitment of the most recent signing class. They want to see how some of those guys will translate to the college game and, hopefully, help the team. Especially in years like this one, when the freshman class is chock full of talent. But the never-ending cycle of hype about the newest guys on campus leads to some young players getting lost in the mix. Namely, the ones who were the newest guys on campus last season.
That’s the subject of one of the questions in Seth Emerson’s most recent DawgNation mailbag. “Which redshirt freshmen and sophomores are best positioned to be major factors this fall,” reader Allan Harvey asked. From Emerson:
There are six returning starters or significant contributors from last year’s class: QB Jacob Eason, TE Isaac Nauta, DL Julian Rochester. WR Javon Wims, DL David Marshall, P Marshall Long. There are five more who played a decent amount: WR Riley Ridley, RB Brian Herrien, DT Michail Carter, TE Charlie Woerner, DT Tyler Clark.
This year, look for increased playing time for RG Solomon Kindley (who will start), WR Mecole Hardman, OT Ben Cleveland, DE Chauncey Manac, CB Tyrique McGhee, WR Tyler Simmons.
I see seven definite starters/significant contributors (Eason, Nauta, Rochester, Wims, Marshall, Ridley, Kindley), and six who will at least be on the two-deep (Carter, Clark, Hardman, Cleveland, Manac, McGhee). That doesn’t count Herrien, Elijah Holyfield, Woerner and Simmons, who could also emerge in bigger roles.
Dwindling depth in the secondary
It was just last week when coach Kirby Smart was maligning the depth of his secondary. On Thursday, that depth took a hit. According to Emerson, senior starting cornerback Malkom Parrish could miss the start of the season after breaking a bone in his foot which required surgery.
If Parrish does miss the start of the season, there will have to be some shuffling in the defensive backfield. The most likely scenario would see starting safety Aaron Davis move to corner — a position he’s practiced this offseason — opposite Deandre Baker. That would likely give a starting nod to transfer J.R. Reed at safety beside Dominique Sanders. At nickel, where Davis has done most of his work, there are a few options, with sophomore Tyrique McGhee and freshman Deangelo Gibbs the most likely to earn minutes.
Bulldogs add another 4-star commit
For the second time this week, Georgia added a commitment to its recruiting Cass of 2018. Four-star Marietta DE/OLB Azeez Ojulari made his pledge to the Bulldogs, making him the 11th player in the 2018 class. Ojulari chose to stay home in the Peach State, picking UGA over Clemson and Florida. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Ojular, who says his role model is OLB Lorenzo Carter, noted the holes that will be left by Carter and Davin Bellamy and the prospect of early playing time as a reason he chose Georgia.
“They were very excited,” Ojulari said, according to Jeff Sentell of DawgNation. “They know that two of their senior outside linebackers will be leaving, so it is a great opportunity for me to come in and play and play early.”
New Bulldog Commit
It's Azeez Ojulari
He's a sack machine pic.twitter.com/8RbDFQyhYL
— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) August 17, 2017
#RareBreed18 making plays
Speaking of Bulldog commitments, a couple of them got their senior seasons of high school football underway Thursday night. Four-star WR Elijah Moore, who committed to Georgia on Tuesday, scored this 70-yard touchdown for St. Thomas Aquinas High in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) August 18, 2017
Not to be outdone, 5-star RB Zamir White, UGA’s highest-rated commit in the Class of 2018, housed this 89-yard run for Scotland County High in Laurinburg, N.C. White finished with a statline of 175 yards rushing and a touchdown on 10 carries, plus 2 receptions for 130 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns.
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) August 18, 2017
Dawgs on Twitter
— scott sinclair (@coach_sinclair) August 17, 2017
With 16 days till kickoff, we get to watch our own head coach's highlights, #16 Kirby Smart! pic.twitter.com/0i4IvrcA2h
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) August 17, 2017
You’re halfway there, my dude.
"Am I doing it right George??" "Just keep at it, Lenny" pic.twitter.com/uxYGnoYofz
— Adorable Dog (@Lifewithcutedog) August 18, 2017
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