The 7 players Georgia football will miss most off 2019 team
ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart will have plenty of good things to say about the outgoing Bulldogs at the program’s Pro Day on March 18, but don’t get it wrong.
Smart has moved on, and UGA is zeroed in on the ongoing competition at virtually every position.
Georgia looks to replace 10 players who were talented enough to be invited to the NFL combine in Indianapolis, along with a deserving trio of former defensive line starters.
The Bulldogs will reload, of course, and the talent of those players will mitigate some of the losses more than others.
Here’s a list of the 7 players Georgia will miss most off the 2019 team.
The players are not ranked solely on talent, but more on the difficulty UGA figures to have replacing them.
1. D’Andre Swift
Georgia has a talented stable of backs, but there’s no one as explosive or versatile at this stage of their career as Swift. Kenny McIntosh probably comes closest in the group, though Zamir White has potential if he can improve his pass-catching skills.
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2. Lawrence Cager
There’s a reason Jake Fromm was completing more than 70 percent of his passes when Cager was on the field. George Pickens is a great receiver talent who returns, and he will star despite double teams. But there’s not a proven third-down receiver like Cager returning to the team.
3. Andrew Thomas
Thomas was the most talented offensive lineman on the UGA team last season and one of the top five OTs in college football. Thomas provided blanket security on the blind side. Jamie Newman’s mobility mitigates the loss, somewhat.
4. Jake Fromm
Fromm was the face of the program and absorbed a lot of the pressure put on the team. Newman is capable and UGA’s offense is ready to evolve, but Fromm’s leadership and presence shouldn’t be overlooked.
5. Cade Mays
There’s not another player in the SEC that can play every offensive line position with the efficiency Mays showed last season. Mays’ nasty streak and versatility will be missed on the reloading Georgia offensive line. Tennessee got a big pickup with Mays’ transfer back home one season after former Vols’ captain Eli Wolf filled a key role for the Bulldogs at tight end.
Tennessee Football early enrollees/transfers in the building. Spring Ball starts Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/xWWspY4bQF
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6. Rodrigo Blankenship
Blankenship was almost automatic with his kickoffs into the end zone. Blankenship won the Lou Groza Award his senior season after making most, though not all, of the key field goals he was expected to make.
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7. J.R. Reed
Reed was a three-year starter at safety who kept Georgia aligned and provided leadership in secondary. Reed was steady, though not sensational, his senior season. A high IQ player who was very seldom beat deep or caught out of position.
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