The most interesting player at each position for Georgia football spring practices
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The most interesting player at each position for Georgia spring practices
Quarterback: Carson Beck
Obviously, a lot of eyes will be JT Daniels this spring. But he’s entrenched as the starter and we’ll learn a whole lot about Daniels in the first game of the season against Clemson.
This spring will be our first chance to see what Beck really looks like. The redshirt freshman didn’t get a chance to go through spring drills last season and he never really got a chance to show what he could do during the season.
The Jacksonville, Fla., native will get more of an opportunity this spring. He’ll also be competing with Brock Vandagriff and Stetson Bennett for the back-up quarterback job. This spring also sets up a chance for Vandagriff and Beck to see who will have the inside track to being the starter for the 2022 season.
Beck might not generate the headlines or popularity that Daniels will this spring, but his growth and performance is something worth watching for the future of the Georgia program.
Running back: Kendall Milton
If you were to take a fan poll on Twitter, it would tell you that Milton is the best running back on Georgia’s team. As a freshman, he ran for 193 yards on 35 carries, ripping off a few highlight runs against Tennessee and Auburn.
A knee injury against Florida really slowed Milton down. He’ll be competing in a crowded backfield, with Zamir White and James Cook both electing to return for their fourth season.
Milton’s ceiling might be higher than any running back on Georgia’s team. If he’s able to use this spring to improve in the pass blocking and receiving games, it will give him the opportunity to show he can be the complete running back so many people already believe he is.
Plays like this run by Kendall Milton happen all the time against Michigan and I always say, "Only Michigan…"
I will now add, "… and Tennessee" 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/bzkGDPIfMH
— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) October 10, 2020
Wide receiver: Arian Smith
Georgia’s wide receiver room is as talented as deep as it ever has been under Kirby Smart. Despite all that talent though, no one has the speed that Smith possesses.
The redshirt freshman didn’t get a chance to showcase that speed much during the 2020 season due to a preseason knee injury. This spring will offer him a chance to grow in the Georgia offense and develop into a more integral piece of the Georgia offense.
Smith likely won’t have more targets than George Pickens, Kearis Jackson or Jermaine Burton in 2021. But his game-breaking speed could bring a game-changing element to the Georgia offense, something it hasn’t had since Mecole Hardman played for the Bulldogs.
Tight end: Darnell Washington
Washington began to deliver on his 5-star hype late in the season for Georgia, as he rolled up 101 yards on just five catches in the last two games. Obviously, the sample size is small, but if Washington is able to give Georgia that over the course of an entire season, he’ll be as big a piece of the Georgia offense as his massive 6-foot-7 frame.
Washington doesn’t have a Tre’ McKitty in front of him on the depth chart or an injury to slow him down as he did last preseason. He’ll be playing alongside John FitzPatrick while newcomer Brock Bowers brings a different element to the tight end room.
Georgia has a number of talented pass-catching options to spread the ball around to this spring. Washington may not get the involvement some want to come the fall, but he can use this spring to show why he might be the biggest matchup problem on Georgia’s team.
Offensive line: Jamaree Salyer
Where Salyer ends up spending most of his time this spring will speak volumes about the state of the offensive line.
If he continues to play left tackle, where he started nine games for Georgia in 2020, the Bulldogs will likely feel more confident with playing Justin Shaffer, Warren Ericson or someone else at one of the guard spots than Amarius Mims, Broderick Jones or Xavier Truss.
But if Salyer is able to slide down to guard, where he started against Cincinnati, it means the Bulldogs feel confident in what one of the aforementioned tackles is able to do.
Salyer is Georgia’s best offensive lineman and his versatility is an asset, as offensive line coach Matt Luke has said before. Where he lines up will have big ramifications for the rest of Georgia’s offensive line.
Defensive line: Travon Walker
Georgia’s defensive line begins spring as the team’s best unit. Jordan Davis is back, as are super seniors Devonte Wyatt and Julian Rochester.
There’s only one contributor that must be replaced in Malik Herring. And the guy replacing him, Walker, might have as high a ceiling as anyone on the team.
The defensive end spot traditionally hasn’t been a productive spot given how Smart uses the Georgia defense. Walker though might be the type of player Georgia changes its defense for. This spring will allow Smart and Dan Lanning to tinker with their defense and how to best use Walker.
Outside linebacker: Nolan Smith
Smith has very big shoes to fill with Azeez Ojulari heading off to the NFL. With MJ Sherman out this spring with a shoulder injury, Smith should get plenty of reps to build upon what he did in his first two seasons at Georgia.
When he signed with Georgia in the 2019 class, he did so as the No. 1 overall prospect in the country. This will be the first chance for him to truly showcase why he entered the college ranks with so much hype, as Georgia also must replace Jermaine Johnson.
Smith and Adam Anderson will need to have big falls if the Georgia defense is going to play to a championship level. This spring will offer Smith the opportunity to show he is more than capable of replacing the potential first-round pick in Ojulari.
Inside linebacker: Quay Walker
Monty Rice is headed to the NFL. Nakobe Dean is dealing with offseason surgery, though he’ll be back this fall for the Bulldogs.
Walker saw his reps increase last season due to Rice’s foot injury. At times he showed why he was such an intriguing prospect. Others, he left some scratching their heads.
This spring, Walker will be Georgia’s top inside linebacker due to depth and attrition. The Bulldogs will need Walker to develop into a consistent presence, as that is what he will be asked to become once the season rolls around.
Defensive back: Kelee Ringo
Ringo has a case for being the most important player on Georgia’s team this spring given the massive hole the Bulldogs have at cornerback.
The Bulldogs bring back a whopping zero starts at the position. That presents a great opportunity for Ringo to become a big-time player for Georgia.
Ringo was the No. 1 defensive back signee in the 2020 recruiting cycle. He has the positional versatility to play at either cornerback or Star for Georgia, though the need is bigger at cornerback.
Georgia has the ability to dip into the transfer portal to address the cornerback position but that will only be a short-term solution. To fix the long-term need at corner, Georgia needs Ringo to develop, starting this spring.
More Georiga football stories from around DawgNation
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- Best of DawgNation: David Pollack excited to see Georgia offense, top targets delay commitment decisions
- UGA’s pursuit of dominant pass rush should be one of spring’s biggest storylines
- Georgia football QB JT Daniels has ‘gunslinger moxie,’ says Eric Zeier
- ESPN on Rush Propst affidavits: No ‘personal knowledge of recruiting violations committed’ by Georgia, Alabama
- UGA pays tribute to former Bulldogs star retiring from NFL
- ESPN lays out why Georgia can become ‘the next Clemson’
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