Georgia will be without one of its starting cornerbacks in Eric Stokes, as he will be preparing for the NFL draft instead of Georgia’s game against Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.
But it will have junior cornerback Tyson Campbell at its disposal. While he is eligble for the 2021 NFL Draft, the junior defender made it clear why he wanted to suit up for Georgia again in 2020.
“I’m still a Georgia Bulldog. My task is to finish out the season,” Campbell said. “I’m still part of this team. We have one game left, so I want to finish this season with my teammates.”
Campbell started every game for the Bulldogs this season. He recorded his first career interception in a win over South Carolina, while also breaking up a team-high four passes on the season.
With no Stokes, it’ll be imperative for Campbell to play well for the Bulldogs. He knows they’ll likely try and attack whoever Georgia decides to put opposite of Campbell.
“Whether the ball is thrown to my side or the other side or to the safeties or to the linebackers, all the players are capable of making the play,” Campbell said. “We’ll be there for it.”
As for replacing Stokes it’s has been reported but not confirmed that DJ Daniel will also be missing the contest. Daniel has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl and has battled an ankle injury over the course of the season.
Related: Kirby Smart updates who is in and who is out for Peach Bowl
Georgia coach Kirby Smart previously mentioned Ameer Speed, Jalen Kimber and Daran Branch filling in. Those three players have zero career starts, while Stokes had started 25 of the previous 27 games for the Bulldogs.
Kimber and Branch are two freshman cornerbacks Georgia could possibly throw out there to try and slow Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder. Speed is a junior who has primarily played on special teams.
“Really all those guys are doing a good job of developing, learning the scheme, and growing,” Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning said.”Each one of those guys have done a good job of being engaged, ready for their opportunity.
“There’s a great chance you could see them within some of these games, whether it be this next game or in the near future.”
Junior defensive back Christopher Smith also gave an update on how Kimber and Branch are improving as players. Kimber is from Mansfield, Texas, while Branch comes from Amite, La.
“They progress way better than when we were freshmen,” Smith said. “I just tell them there’s things, you need to be ready for your opportunity, things like that. I feel like if we have to use those guys, they’ll be more than prepared.
“They’re very good, very talented kids. They’re getting better every day, just like the rest of the team.”
One freshman defensive back Georgia won’t have is Kelee Ringo. He signed as a 5-star prospect and the No. 1 overall defensive back in the 2020 signing class out of Arizona.
Ringo had preseason surgery to repair a torn labrum and has not played at all this season. He won’t be cleared for game action, but he has started to do more at Georgia practices.
With Stokes, Daniel, Richard LeCounte, Mark Webb and possibly Campbell all set to leave, Ringo figures to be a very integral part of Georgia’s future secondary.
“I’m really excited,” Lanning said of Ringo’s potential. “Sometimes you worry about a guy that has an injury how mentally engaged are they going to be able to be throughout the season. It’s tough when you know you’re not going to play a game.”
“I’ve been impressed with Kelee’s attention to detail, really picking up some schematic pieces of our defense.”
Georgia and Cincinnati are set for a 12 p.m. ET kickoff on Friday. The game will be broadcast by ESPN.
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