ATHENS — When Kirby Smart was asked whether Zamir White, the five-star Georgia tailback recruit coming off a knee injury, would be ready for fall camp, Smart acknowledged that it was hard to tell. Then he invited the media to judge for itself.
“You guys are going to see him out there,” Smart said before Georgia’s spring practice. “He’ll probably be doing some individual trials, and you make your own assessment.”
Admittedly it’s hard to say much from watching for a little more than 10 minutes. But White does appear to be ahead of schedule, considering he tore his ACL only in December.
White, wearing a brace around his right knee, is able to run during run and pass route polish drills. In those drills he was doing everything the other tailbacks were doing. But when the tailbacks went into drills when they did more – such as cutting – White sat it out, going to the side on his own. Ron Courson, the head athletic trainer, walked over to White at one point and had him jog in a zig-zag pattern up the sideline. White will also not be doing any contact drills this spring.
Still, while there are many limits to what White will do this spring, the early signs are encouraging. And even in helmets and shorts, his size and muscle are apparent. He wears that No. 3 jersey well.
This is all a long way from saying White will be ready to play against Austin Peay, of course. And with D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien – not to mention James Cook due to arrive in June – Georgia doesn’t need to push White.
A few other notes and observations from the Thursday practice viewing:
- It was only a pass skeleton drill, but Justin Fields had some good clean throws. He hit Ahkil Crumpton in stride on a pass of about 25-30 yards down the left sideline. He did overthrow a receiver during a later drill, and quarterbacks coach James Coley came over to briefly say something to Fields. The media only gets to see these early pass drills, so how Fields does against a defense, reading coverages, etc., is hard to tell at this point.
- J.J. Holloman, the sophomore receiver, had a nice catch, going to his knees to haul it in before it hit the ground. Senior Michael Chigbu also had a good catch over the middle. Freshman Kearis Jackson, going through just his second practice after enrolling early, had a drop – and immediately hit the ground to do some push-ups.
- Mecole Hardman made some really nice catches while the media was out there. He’s come a long way from this time last year, when he was still jumping between offense and defense.
- The first team offensive line remains the same (LT Andrew Thomas, LG Kendall Baker, C Lamont Gaillard, RG Ben Cleveland, RT Isaiah Wilson) as Tuesday, and could remain that way for a while. The second-team offensive line, for what it’s worth: LT D’Marcus Hayes, LG Netori Johnson, C Warren Ericcson, RG Solomon Kindley, RT Cade Mayes.
- Former Georgia and NFL defensive lineman D’Angelo Tyson was with the defensive lineman, observing. Tyson is back attending classes at UGA, and was in attendance at Pro Day on Wednesday, when he was seen talking with Smart.