ATHENS — The Georgia football receiving ranks are wide open outside of senior Tyler Simmons locking down a spot.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart elaborated on the position group following Wednesday’s practice, making it clear the competition is alive and well with the season-opening game fast approaching.
It has been well-documented that Georgia lost its top four receivers from a season ago, along with its top pass-catching tight end.
“Tyler Simmons is a starter for us, assuming he’s healthy and ready to go, but outside of him there’s battles at every one of those positions,” Smart said. “The slot, the receiver opposite him, the two deep at receiver … it’s everyday.
“Guys rotate positions and play all kinds of positions. Tyler’s probably a little bit ahead of the other guys just in terms of experience, but outside of that, it’s wide open.”
Georgia most often uses a three-receiver set as its base formation in the media viewing portion of practice.
Simmons has been taking first-team reps opposite Matt Landers, with Demetris Robertson first up in the slot.
Smart pointed to the veteran nature Simmons brings when asked what gives him an edge. Simmons is the leading returning receiver from last season with nine catches in 2018.
“Other than experience,” Smart said, “I’d say it’s his practice habits and speed.”
Smart said junior receiver Trey Blount has “done a great job … had some great scrimmages.”
Blount, Smart said, is “tough, makes the hard catches, one of our bestsellers blockers, very consistent.”
Blount was lined up behind Landers and the outside receiver position opposite Simmons, with freshman George Pickens third.
Smart said following last Saturday’s scrimmage he has been impressed with Pickens, but the newcomer from Hoover, Ala., needs to learn the playbook.
“He’s a talented player, but he’s got to learn his assignments and learn what to do,” Smart said, “because he could certainly help us.”
Miami grad-transfer Lawrence Cager, a 6-foot-5 target, has been working behind Simmons at outside receiver and Smart has had good things to say about him through fall camp.
Incoming freshman receiver Dominick Blaylock is expected to be another contributor in the slot, though he’s currently working No. 3 at the position behind Robertson and Kearis Jackson.