The key storyline to know for each Georgia football position this spring
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Bold predictions about Georgia football this spring
We won’t know much more about the Georgia quarterback position
Georgia coach Kirby Smart isn’t going to gas up any of his players as a way to try and tamper expectations.
With what we’ve seen in past spring games, we also know he isn’t going to make things easier for the starting quarterback, in this case JT Daniels. Neither Jacob Eason or Jake Fromm had strong spring efforts when they were QB1 in the spring, as Fromm had his best spring game as a back-up and Justin Fields posted better numbers in the 2018 G-Day contest.
As for the quarterback battle behind Daniels, many will want to see what Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff can do. Those two figure to be battling for the starting quarterback job a season from now. In the meantime, look for Stetson Bennet to get more than his fair share of reps this spring, even if that slows the development of Beck and Vandagriff.
Don’t expect much separation at running back
Georgia has a loaded running back room, with all five scholarship running backs from the 2020 team returning. The Bulldogs also brought in 4-star running back Lovasea Carroll, though he’s already moved to the defensive back position to help out with depth.
Many want to see how Kendall Milton takes the next step after a couple of viral runs last season. Kenny McIntosh also shined as a pass catcher in the win over Cincinnati. Both will look to earn some more snaps away from the veterans in the room in Zamir White and James Cook.
But once G-Day rolls around, don’t expect to see a whole lot from the running backs. They’ll be running into Georgia’s stout defensive front and past great back such as Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift have had limited carries in the big showcase.
Keep an eye on the 2020 pass catchers
The Bulldogs had four wide receivers enter the transfer portal this offseason. Yet Kirby Smart is still confident in what he has at the wide receiver position. That’s because of the potential of Georgia’s 2020 signees as pass catchers.
Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint won’t be a full go as he is still recovering from an ankle injury. But Georgia does get to see what 5-star tight end Darnell Washington looks like in year 2 under Todd Monken.
Georgia also will look to expand on what Jermaine Burton and Arian Smith provided during their freshman seasons. Burton might be the most complete wide receiver on the team, while no one is faster than Smith.
Don’t sleep on Justin Robinson or Ladd McConkey either this spring. While neither 2020 signee saw much of the field last season, both have intriguing traits that should help them make plays.
Expect everything on the offensive line
There’s maybe only one offensive line position that feels set to start this spring, with Warren McClendon most likely manning the right tackle spot. Of course, that assumes he doesn’t get flipped over to the left tackle spot.
Georgia returns four players with multiple starts on the offensive line, but each one of them can be shuffled around. Jamaree Salyer could play left tackle or left guard. Justin Shaffer could be left guard or right guard. Warren Ericson could play center or right guard.
The Bulldogs also have a number of promising young offensive linemen. Broderick Jones and Amairus Mims are both former 5-star prospects who will look to earn more playing time at one of the tackle spots. Sedrick Van Pran will push Ericson for the center job while Tate Ratledge is a guard candidate.
The Bulldogs’ offensive line needs to play better than it did in 2020 and it has the pieces to do so. It just needs to figure out the best way they go together.
It’s Travon Walker time
If there’s a single player who is best primed to breakout, it’s the junior Walker. He’s seen legitimate playing time in each of his first two season and is poised to take over a starter’s role with Malik Herring off to the NFL.
Walker’s talent and athleticism have always been evident. Now he’ll have an opportunity to match entering his junior season.
He’ll get to play alongside Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter and Devonte Wyatt as well, showcasing with the defensive line is Georgia’s best positional unit to start the spring. And that’s before Walker has the chance to show why he was such a hyped prospect in the 2019 signing class.
Eyes and pressure will be on Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith
A year ago, we would’ve said that outside linebacker was Georgia’s top position due to both talent and depth. The room lost both of those assets as Azeez Ojulari is off to the NFL and Jermaine Johnson is playing for Florida State.
Georgia does though bring back Smith and Anderson. They’ve both shown in the past why they were 5-star recruits, as Anderson racked up 6.5 sacks while Smith had 2.5 backing up Ojulari.
Now with less competition, these two should fully take over at this Sam and Jack positions. And the Bulldogs are going to need them to do so, as they are likely Georgia’s best pass rushers.
As the college game continues to become more offensive orientated, pressuring the quarterback will become even more important. Georgia is going to need Anderson and Smith to do that a lot this fall and this spring will give them the chance to show they’re up to the task.
New faces at linebacker
Monty Rice, who joined DawgNation on Monday night, is preparing for the NFL draft. Nakobe Dean is recovering from offseason surgery, limiting him this spring.
That means more snaps for Quay Walker and Channing Tindall, who will get to show they can replace Rice on a full-time basis come the fall.
Georgia also landed two 5-star prospects in this past cycle in Smael Mondon and Xavian Sorey. The latter is dealing will be limited while the latter missed most of his senior season with a knee injury. Those two will both go spring drills and offer up some tantalizing athleticism.
Starting over at cornerback
Cornerback will be the most talked-about position this spring, as it is Georgia’s biggest hole. The Bulldogs must replace all four contributors at the position off the 2020 team.
Georgia does have some blue-chip prospects to plug in with Kelee Ringo, Nyland Green and Jalen Kimber along with Ameer Speed and Daran Branch. How they play this spring will go a long way in determining if Georgia dips into the transfer portal to address the position.
The Bulldogs do return some experience at safety, as both Lewis Cine and Chris Smith will look to build off a strong finish to the 2020 season. Latavious Brini will also look to continue to play well after getting his first career start in the Peach Bowl win over Cincinnati.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Branson Robinson: Nation’s No. 1 RB breaks down his deep connection to UGA
- Georgia football podcast: UGA ready to ’embrace the grind’ as spring practice begins
- Georgia sports roundup: Baseball set for SEC play, track and field enjoy successful NCAA championship
- De’Nylon Morrisette: ‘I think I know where I want to go and I’m pretty sure’
- UGA’s pursuit of dominant pass rush should be one of spring’s biggest storylines
- Georgia football QB JT Daniels has ‘gunslinger moxie,’ says Eric Zeier
- The most interesting player at each position for Georgia football spring practices
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