JT Daniels finished last season on fire, posting a higher quarterback ranking over the final four games than any returning quarterback.
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But if Phil Steele’s preseason magazine is any indication, there are some doubts whether Georgia will go all-in with an aerial assault with Daniels under center the season.
Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral — whose decommitment from USC four years ago opened the door for Daniels to determine he would reclassify and graduate early to play for the Trojans — was Steele’s choice for first-team preseason All-SEC quarterback.
Daniels, who missed the first six games of last season while still rehabilitating an injured knee, was assigned the second team.
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Corral had the bigger body of work last season. Corral was 231-of-326 (70.9 percent) passing for 3,337 yards with 29 TDs and 14 Ints.
Daniels was 80-of-119 (67.2 percent) passing for 1,231 yards with 10 TDs and 2 Ints.
Daniels only played in four games, but he would have played in five had Vanderbilt not canceled on Georgia -- twice -- last season.
Indeed, Corral put up monster numbers against that Commodores’ defense, 31-of-34 for 412 yards with 6 TDs and no interceptions.
Looking ahead to this season, Corral lost his top two targets with star WR Elijah Moore and reliable tight end Kenny Yeboah moving on to the NFL.
Daniels, meanwhile, lost top target George Pickens (torn ACL) through at least the first two months of the season.
Corral likely got the nod because Kiffin is regarded as more of an offensive-minded coach, while Smart’s expertise is defense.
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The Rebels ranked seventh in the nation in passing offense last season and 14th in scoring, while UGA was 45th and 38th, respectively.
Steele, one of the most respected college football analysts, gave plenty of UGA players credit on his preseason teams.
Georgia placed offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer and punter Jake Camarda on Steele’s first-team preseason All-American squad, with defensive tackle Jordan Davis second team and linebacker Nakobe Dean fourth team.
Steele went four-deep on his preseason All-SEC teams, so it was mildly surprising to see receiver Jermaine Burton left off completely.
It likely serves as more evidence there’s not much buy-in that Smart will allow offensive coordinator Todd Monken to turn Daniels’ completely loose.
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And yet, the only running back to receive any preseason honors was Zamir White — a fourth-team preseason All-SEC pick by Steele.
Here’s a look at the UGA players to make Steele’s preseason offensive teams:
• Jamaree Salyer – First Team All-SEC
• JT Daniels – Second Team All-SEC
• Kearis Jackson – Second Team All-SEC
• Justin Shaffer – Second Team All-SEC
• Warren McClendon – Third Team All-SEC
• Zamir White – Fourth Team All-SEC
• Arik Gilbert – Fourth Team All-SEC
Phil Steele is considered one of the top college football analysts
Defensively, tackle Devonte Wyatt and defensive end Travon Walker were glaring omissions.
A case could be made that Lewis Cine is better than a fourth-team preseason pick, and transfers Tykee Smith and Derion Kendrick could make some noise in the secondary.
Kendrick was a first-team All-ACC pick at Clemson last season, and Smith was a third-team All-American at West Virginia last season.
Here are the Georgia defensive players Steele slotted on his preseason All-SEC teams:
Adam Anderson – Fourth Team All-SEC
Lewis Cine – Fourth Team All-SEC
Jordan Davis – First Team All-SEC
Jake Camarda – First Team All-SEC
Nakobe Dean – Second Team All-SEC
Phil Steele isn't as bullish on UGA defensive transfers as others.
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