Welcome to your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today, we look at Jacob Eason to Isaac Nauta on a Jet Ski, some Bulldogs who could surprise people next season and the five best defensive linemen the Bulldogs will face in 2017.
Gators defensive line will be tough to handle
Today, we switch over to the defense in our position-by-position breakdown of the best players Georgia will face this season. Next up are the defensive tackles. Considering the questionable state of UGA’s offensive line, these five players could play a big part in disrupting Georgia’s offense when they face the Dawgs this season:
5. Marlon Davidson, Auburn — Auburn is looking for an end to fill the shoes Carl Lawson left on the Tigers’ line. With 6 TFL and 2.5 sacks as a true freshman, Davidson is the best option to do it. He’s No. 5 on the list now but has the upside to be No. 1 if he reaches his potential as a sophomore.
4. Marcell Frazier, Missouri — Missouri has a little cottage industry of producing destructive defensive ends year after year. Last season, it was Charles Harris. This season, it will be Frazier. He came out slow in 2016 but exploded in the final three games with 6.5 sacks against Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas.
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) July 2, 2017
3. Jabari Zuniga, Florida — You can’t get much better than two sacks in the first game of your college career, which Zuniga found out in 2016. He burst onto the scene with 5 sacks in the first five games of the Gators season but delivered none in the final eight. With an offseason of work under his belt, I expect Zuniga’s sophomore season to resemble the early goings of his freshman campaign and to be a destructive force for the Gators’ defense.
— Ryan Nelson (@newsguyry) September 5, 2016
2. Denzil Ware, Kentucky — Ware was one of the most productive defensive linemen in the SEC last season, partially because of him playing some linebacker as well. He finished the season with 12 tackles for loss and 70 tackles. He’s the jewel of a Wildcats defense that has a lot of good players returning. Under his leadership, that unit could be the most improved in the SEC this season.
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) November 26, 2016
1. Cece Jefferson, Florida — With so many talented guys in front of him, Jefferson has been used as a utility player so far in his college career. He started 2016 at end, moved inside to tackle when he was needed there, then switched back out to end to close out the season. At the conclusion of the 2016 season, he had 30 tackles, 6.5 TFL and just 1.5 sacks. But Jefferson should be entrenched at his natural position — end — this season, which should help him live up to his 5-star potential.
CeCe Jefferson destroying worlds pic.twitter.com/mQchTgexDy
— SEC Chalkboard (@SECchalkboard) March 26, 2017
Georgia football’s wild cards
Matt Fortuna of Athlon Sports determined some SEC wild card players — aka players flying under the radar — heading into this season, and two Georgia Bulldogs were listed. On offense for the Dawgs is Isaac Nauta, who Fortuna thinks can help ease some of UGA’s scoring woes from last season.
Georgia struggled to score during Kirby Smart’s first season, ranking 102nd nationally in scoring offense. A bright spot, however, was Nauta, who tallied 361 yards and 3 touchdowns last season on 29 catches. The former 5-star prospect lived up to the hype in 2016, making numerous freshman All-America teams and setting high expectations for this fall.
On defense, he named a player I think even some Georgia fans have forgotten about because of the hype surrounding Trent Thompson heading into 2017: DT Julian Rochester.
The Bulldogs return almost everyone from last year’s defense, which is one of the biggest reasons expectations are so high for 2017. Rochester was an early contributor to last year’s 16th-ranked unit, starting six games as a true freshman and tallying 36 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble. He’s reportedly dropped a ton of weight this offseason in an effort to get quicker, which could mean bigger things are on the horizon.
Jet Ski sweep
Jim Chaney should’ve called this on fourth-and-1 against Vandy.
Dawgs on Twitter
Returning from an injury, Georgia RB Nick Chubb didn't quite look the same in 2016. Can he bounce back to his 2014 form this season? pic.twitter.com/7LZvhpupOH
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) June 30, 2017
— Georgia Swim & Dive (@UGASwimDive) June 30, 2017
- A Dawgs fan’s football wish list for the coming season (Bill King, DawgNation)
- 5-star UGA target Matt Corral uncorks winning 77-yard pass at The Opening (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- New intel suggests the nation’s No. 4 TE, Luke Ford, has a different leader (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- UGA recruiting: The 5 things I learned Saturday night at The Opening (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- 5-star Nolan Smith II weighs in on the strength of his commitment (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- Georgia 4-star WR target Marquez Ezzard has set his commitment date (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- Georgia WR target Josh Vann still gives a slight lead to South Carolina (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- Zamir White just the latest recruiting win for Smart, UGA (Adam Gorney, Rivals)
- Top all-time Dawg catchers (Patrick Garbin, UGA Sports)
- Bulldog support staffer named to UGA’s 40 under 40 (Jake Rowe, Dawgs247)
- The devastating beauty of David Greene’s play action (Kyle Funderburk, Dawn of the Dawg)
Is there any bond more pure than that of man and dog? 😍 pic.twitter.com/B6tkugzx6m
— Baby Animals (@BabyanimaiPlcs) June 29, 2017