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Tyson Campbell helped force a safety.

UGA secondary vs. Auburn wide receivers will be strength-on-strength battle

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Georgia football secondary vs. Auburn wide receivers will be a strength-on-strength battle

Most of college football knows Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz as the fastest player in college football. He’s also a sprinter for the Auburn track team. During his senior season at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., he ran a wind-aided 10.07 to win the 2A State Championship.

Perhaps no one in the sport understands Schwartz’s speed better than Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell. He ran track and played football with Schwartz at American Heritage. In that same meet where Schwartz ran a 10.07, Campbell ran a 10.39, which put him in second place.

“He’s a speedster. he’s always been known for that,” Campbell said of his former high school teammate. “It’ll be good to go against him again on Saturday.”

Schwartz isn’t the only Auburn wide receiver worth keeping an eye on come Saturday’s matchup between No. 4 Georgia and No. 7 Auburn.

There’s Seth Williams, who actually posted superior numbers to George Pickens last season, and had a monster two-touchdown performance against Kentucky.  Add in reliable senior Eli Stove and Auburn quarterback Bo Nix has a strong group of receivers to rely on.

“He’s got a really good set of receivers when you talk about experience in the SEC with the guys they got at wideout,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “Those guys seem like they’ve been playing there forever. Seth’s [Williams] one of the best there is, [Eli] Stove’s been there forever, and we know how fast [Anthony] Schwartz is.”

Related: Kirby Smart: Georgia football quarterback JT Daniels will be cleared for Auburn game

For the Bulldogs on Saturday, this will be a good-on-good match-up against the Tigers. For as strong as the Auburn wide receivers are, Georgia’s secondary might be as talented and productive.

It starts with safety Richard LeCounte. He picked off two passes in the win against Arkansas this past weekend. While the First Team All-American did play a role in giving up a long Arkansas touchdown pass, it’s clear the Bulldogs take their cues from their defensive leader.

“He plays with a lot of emotion and swagger,” sophomore Lewis Cine said. “He has a lot of knowledge to him, he plays fast and I try to soak up as much as I can from him.”

At cornerback, Georgia has a trio of experienced options to turn to in Eric Stokes, Campbell and DJ Daniel. Stokes is the most consistent of the three and snared his first career interception against Arkansas. He proceeded to race to the end zone for a touchdown.

Campbell has the size and speed that helped make him a 5-star cornerback.  His sophomore season was shortened due to a turf toe injury, but he continues to impress as a sophomore and made an impressive pass break-up in the win over Arkansas.

Georgia will also regularly play Mark Webb and Tyrique Stevenson in the Star and Money positions as extra defensive backs. Add in Cine — who finished his freshman season with. a strong performance against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl —and the Bulldogs don’t have a true weak-link in the secondary.

Related: Georgia football defense will need to ‘build the rest of our team up and grow our team’

The group came up with three interceptions in the opening week, but intercepting Nix will prove to be a tougher task. Nix threw his last interception on Oct. 26 of the 2019 season against LSU. In the Georgia game last season, he threw 50 pass attempts in a 21-14 loss. And yet the Bulldogs still couldn’t come down with one of his passes.

“He’s got a great arm. He makes really good decisions,” Smart said. “I think the dink-and-dunk is the decision making he has, and it gives him the opportunity to not throw picks. Quarterbacks avoid picks because they don’t throw into situations that are adverse.”

Nix threw for 3 touchdowns in Auburn’s season-opening win against what was a ranked Kentucky team. In addition to making the general improvements that come with going from a freshman quarterback to a sophomore quarterback, Nix is also now under the tutelage of Chad Morris. The new Auburn offensive coordinator is a well-regarded offensive mind, dating back to his time at Clemson.

Slowing this Auburn passing attack won’t be an easy task. It’s a strength-on-strength match-up. But if there’s any unit on the Georgia team that is up to the task, it is the secondary.

“As a secondary, we’re going to accept those challenges. We like those challenges,” Campbell said. “We gotta have a great week of practice and let it all out on the field on Saturday.

Georgia football DB Tyson Campbell discusses Auburn wide receivers

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