Georgia football stock report: Kirby Smart, JT Daniels and spring sunshine
ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is among the many successful leaders who subscribe to the popular theory that if you’re not getting better, you are getting worse.
The good news for the Bulldogs’ football program is the team building Smart and his staff have focused on is paying off in the form of a positive vibe and championship expectations within the program.
Of course, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns in football — it never is.
Talented tailback Kenny McIntosh, who led the SEC in broken-tackles rate and is arguably UGA’s best all-around back, suffered a dislocated elbow on Saturday and will be out for the remainder of spring drills.
The good news is the injury will not require surgery and will be on board with all of the voluntary offseason that will take place.
Here’s a look at this week’s Georgia football stock report, which focuses mainly — though not exclusively — on the 2021 Bulldogs.
Kirby Smart: It all starts with the head coach, and Kirby has unmistakable energy and optimism about the 2021 season, having hit the reset button after a tough 2020. UGA managed a Top 10 season despite the disadvantages of having a new OC and QB in a year without spring football and a front-loaded SEC schedule that took its toll.
Georgia offense: Smart referred to it as “Todd Monken’s offense,” which tells you everything about the trust and confidence he has in his second-year OC and a quarterback room led by JT Daniels. Those wondering when Smart will take the “handcuffs” off the offense have their answer.
JT Daniels: It is obvious even in limited video clips that Daniels’ has regained great mobility and no longer seems to have any sort of limp. Daniels was still recovering from knee surgery when he arrived at UGA last May, and while healthy enough to play was clearly still compensating for his knee on some throws. That’s no longer the case.
Kearis Jackson: The leader of the receiving room had a good thing going in 2020 when Stetson Bennett was quarterback, but not quite as good once Daniels took over and the pass game went more vertical. So what has Jackson done since then? Answer: Anything and everything. Jackson remains in the middle of what looks to be a dynamic offense.
Travon Walker: When the head coach calls out your name, it’s a good thing. It sounds like Smart and his coaching staff are ready to provide the push an opportunity for Walker to ascend from “good” to “great,” and no better time than spring drills.
Lovasea Carroll: It says everything about Carroll that he’s talented and fast enough to move over and get reps in the secondary, where he can compete for 2021 reps. McIntosh’s injury may or may not have an effect on where Carroll is lining up this week, but it would make sense for him to stay in the secondary for this season.
Mark Webb: The biggest winner at UGA Pro Day was Mark Webb, whose broad jump, vertical and 40 time lit up the scouts’ eyes. Webb’s stock has been on the rise since the end of the season, as he also had a strong Senior Bowl week.
Eric Stokes: Stokes has established himself as a legit 4.2-second corner, and for the NFL teams who are watching him closely, they will see his athletic frame has grown thicker over the past year. There’s a lot to like about Stokes, who still has upside in the ball skills area.
Georgia defense: Smart has said the offense is ahead of the defense, and that’s not the norm around these parts. You can bet this is something that’s being pushed and talked about every day.
Tre’ McKitty: McKitty had a great Senior Bowl week, where he was named the best at his position by his peers. NFL scouts were disappointed McKitty didn’t work out at Pro Day.
Richard LeCounte: It was good see LeCounte back on the football field and putting himself out in front of the public. LeCounte’s 4.78-second time in the 40-yard dash is proof positive he’s not yet back to 100 percent, but as they say, “the film don’t lie.’ Pro Day was a push for LeCounte.
Isaiah Wilson: Wilson is the latest case study of how money and fame can change people, with his story growing sadder by the day. The former first-round offensive tackle was recently cut by the Miami Dolphins — a team that gave him a second chance after the Tennessee Titans gave up on him after a series off off-field issues and a lack of compliance with team rules. It’s hard to know what’s next for Wilson.
Let’s check in on Miami Dolphins OL Isaiah Wilson… pic.twitter.com/XCqjaWUosZ
— Austin Stanley (@AustinStanley81) March 19, 2021
Keep an eye on
Jalen Kimber. It seems many are talking about former 5-star Kelee Ringo, who is still not yet back 100 percent from a torn labrum. Ringo might live up to his recruiting hype, but there’s a possibility Kimber will make the same sort of impact. Kimber was ranked the No. 9 cornerback in the nation and held scholarship offers from Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon among several others. If Kimber can get himself right in the weight room and play with the necessary physicality, he could start in 2021.
Georgia spring football