Georgia tight end Eli Wolf has the talent, skills to be X-factor
ATHENS — Florida’s success using tight end Kyle Pitts has been well-documented this season, so much so Georgia might be of the mindset to use a tight end of their own more often this week.
Eli Wolf has stepped into the role played by Isaac Nauta this season, a smaller, faster target opposite bookend tight end Charlie Woerner.
Of course, neither can match the impact the 6-foot-6, 239-pound Pitts has had for the Gators, leading his team with 35 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns.
But Wolf, who at 6-4, 236 runs a sub-4.6 40-yard dash, has proven a matchup advantage more than once against defenses and has 9 catches for 116 yards this season.
There’s no doubt quarterback Jake Fromm will be looking for open targets when No. 8 Georgia takes on No. 6 Florida at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday in Jacksonville.
Wolf, a graduate transfer from Tennessee, says he’s happy to contribute in any way he can.
“The amount of snaps I’ve been playing is a bunch, and on a team like Georgia, you can’t ask for a whole lot more,” said Wolf, who was a captain on the Vols team last season.
“Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it the best I can,” Wolf said. “So if it’s blocking the perimeter, or catching passes, I’m going to do it to best of my ability.”
The Bulldogs will be looking to jump-start their offense this week after two less-than-stellar passing performances against South Carolina and Kentucky.
Fromm has had his most success throwing to big receiver targets Lawrence Cager and George Pickens.
But with Cager injured, Georgia is in need of another reliable third down target that can make the tough catches in traffic.
Against South Carolina, it was Wolf that Fromm looked to on a fourth-and-6 in the fourth quarter trailing by a score. Wolf came through by drawing a pass interference penalty, and Demetris Robertson scored the game-tying TD on the next play.
Last year, Nauta was that player for the Bulldogs. It was Nauta who came up big for Georgia in last year’s 36-17 UGA win in the annual Sunshine State rivalry game.
It was Nauta, in fact, who led Georgia with five catches for 73 yards in one of the most effective outings of Fromm’s career the win over the Gators.
Fromm is at his best when he’s using all of the field. Having a player like Wolf with the speed to get open and the experience to find the seams could prove pivotal.
It was Wolf who said last week “there’s no reason to worry” about the Georgia offense, as he has been completely bought in to his coach and Fromm since the time of his rival.
“We hold ourselves to a high standard and we’re never pleased,” Wolf explained. “But I’m not concerned. I like where we’re at, and I think we’re going to get keep getting better.”
Wolf, himself, could play a key role in that improvement starting with the Florida game.