ATHENS — Georgia football sophomore Jamaree Salyer continues to get first-team repetitions on the Bulldogs’ celebrated offensive line six practices into spring drills.
Salyer, the No. 1-rated offensive guard in the 2018 signing class, was working first team at right guard with redshirt junior Ben Cleveland working behind him on Saturday.
It’s far too early to suggest Salyer will displace Cleveland or any other starter, with spring drills not yet at the halfway point and a full fall session ahead.
But Georgia coach Kirby Smart has said the the 6-foot-4, 325-pound Pace Academy product had opened his eyes from the start of spring drills.
“I’d say he’s three or four practices in, our most improved offensive lineman,” Smart said last Tuesday. “He’s working at right tackle and right guard (mainly) and, let me tell you something, he’s played quick. The biggest jump has been that guy.”
Salyer told DawgNation following the SEC Championship Game last December it took some time for him to get up to speed with the Bulldogs offense after enrolling last summer.
“I would say understanding the offense (was the hardest adjustment),” Salyer said. “It’s not terrible, but perfecting it and understanding it like the older guys do, and understanding the speed of the game.”
Smart first started to mention Salyer’s improvement last season in the UMass game, a blowout victory that gave Salyer a chance to get qualify game repetitions.
The Sugar Bowl practices presented another opportunity for young players like Salyer to step up.
“You kept waiting on it because you knew he was a really talented player, but I haven’t seen the Jamaree I’ve seen this spring, I didn’t see that at all last fall,” Smart said. “He’s challenging some guys. He’s making other guys work hard.”
Cleveland was sidelined for six games last season by a broken fibula suffered in Week 4 at Missouri, and his return last November was further complicated by an ankle injury.
Salyer has also worked at right tackle behind 2018 FWAA Freshman All-American Isaiah Wilson this spring.
The question becomes if Salyer has moved ahead of sophomore Cade Mays in the Georgia offensive line rotation.
The competition will continue to play out through the Bulldogs’ annual G-Day game at 2 p.m. on April 20.
Smart, for certain, is very high on Salyer.
“I didn’t know if the guy could be a right tackle, he’s gone out at tackle and played well,” Smart said. “He’s gone out at right guard and played well. He goes to center and blocks Jordan Davis and you start to going, ‘who is that?’ ‘That’s Jamaree.’ ‘Well, who’s the guard?’ ‘It’s Jamaree.’
“So Jamaree has done some good things. We gave him some looks today with the firsts, and we’ll continue to do that if he continues to play well.”