ATLANTA — Isaiah Wilson is listed at 350 pounds in the Georgia football media guide. That’s not what the 5-star offensive lineman is anymore.
Wilson, who reported to UGA on May 31, has been steadily dropping weight since. He has done so in anticipation of sustaining in the Georgia heat. It doesn’t get nearly as hot and humid in his hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y.
“You know it’s hard to say,” head coach Kirby Smart said, when asked what would be the ideal playing weight for Wilson. “I don’t know what that number is. All I can tell you is it’s been coming down. It’s almost like, when does it stop?”
Wilson already has been adjusting to the heat, which can be rough. Smart said it’s good that is happening now rather than in the fall.
Georgia begins preseason practice on July 31, and Wilson will be one of the most closely watched players. He’s a highly touted player who could be a quick fix to an offensive line that was the weak link on the offense last year, and then it lost three starters.
Smart said that when camp begins, the first team offensive line “probably” will be the same as the one that finished spring practice: Isaiah Wynn (left tackle), Pat Allen (left guard), Lamont Gaillard (center), Solomon Kindley (right guard) and Dyshon Sims (right tackle). The players most likely to still be at their spots for the season opener are Wynn and Gaillard, who started last year, though both played guard.
“I think as we finished, that’s kind of how we start,” Smart said. “But as we well know, there’s a lot of competition with the youth coming along.”
That includes Wilson and Andrew Thomas, another highly regarded recruit, from Lithonia, Ga. Both will begin practice at tackle, Smart said, without specifying which tackle position. The other freshmen include guards Netori Johnson and Justin Shaffer, who could push to be on the two-deep early.
Wilson (listed at 6-foot-7) and Thomas (6-5) are both bigger than Wynn and Sims. And Shaffer (6-4, 350 pounds) and Johnson (6-4, 334) are bigger that the incumbent guards. They fit the mold of length on the outside and weight on the inside.
“We think we’ve recruited more length. But that doesn’t mean those guys are going to come in and inherit the position just because they pass the look contest,” Smart said. “So each one of those positions will be evaluated; we’ll compete throughout camp. I’m just excited to get them in and let them compete.”
It’s more than just the true freshmen vs. the spring game starters in the competition: Sean Fogarty, a walk-on transfer, was mentioned by Smart as someone he was “excited about.” Fogarty didn’t finish spring practice because of a right knee injury. Ben Cleveland, the redshirt freshman who worked at right guard and right tackle, also missed the spring game with an injury and should be back. And junior college transfer D’Marcus Hayes, who enrolled for spring practice, could be helped by his experience.
Other veterans could also re-join the mix as players could be moved around. Sims, in particular, is very versatile, and Smart indicated the newcomers will be cross-trained.
The one concern is that the freshmen on the offensive line didn’t arrive in ideal shape. That’s already being rectified, Smart added.
“They’re better than they were when they got here,” he said.