ATHENS — Lawrence Cager has impressed New York Jets coach Adam Gase as a “quick study” thus far in fall camp, sounding more and more like a receiver who could make the 53-man roster.
The New York Post reports Cager has been getting extra reps in practice on account of injuries to Jets’ receivers Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims and Vincent Smith.
Two “spectacular catches” on jump balls in the end zone helped him stand out at a recent practice.
Cager has indeed come a long way in his career, from overcoming a torn ACL before his sophomore season at Miami, to the ankle surgery that ended his playing career and Georgia’s championship hopes last season.
“He’s a quick study, very, very intelligent,” Gase told The Post earlier this week. “He’s obviously a very big body, smooth runner. He really tries to be a detailed route runner, he tries to do the little things right when we’re talking about certain routes versus certain techniques.
“He’s just got to keep playing. I think when he gets opportunities like he did [Saturday] and he makes those plays, it’s encouraging for us to see because it’s hard to find guys that are that big that run as smooth as he does and are as sharp as he is”
Georgia football fans know it.
Cager was the go-to receiver for the Bulldogs last season until a fractured ankle ended his season in a Nov. 27 practice.
It was Cager who keyed the offense in the 23-17 win over Notre Dame with a 5-catch, 82-yard performance.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound graduate transfer from Miami suffered a shoulder sprain and bruised ribs midway through last season, limiting his playing time the second half of the year.
Cager went out at halftime of Georgia’s game with South Carolina last season, having made three third-down conversion catches through the first two quarters.
Without him, the offense struggled en route to a 20-17 upset loss in overtime.
Quarterback Jake Fromm, now with the Buffalo Bills, completed 76 percent of his passes when Cager was on the field last season — 53 percent without him.
The Georgia offense peaked against rival Florida with Cager coming back from the painful rib injuries. He had seven catches for 132 yards in a 24-17 win over the Gators.
Still, the ankle injury forced Cager’s rising draft stock to take a hit, as he was unable to workout at the NFL combine.
Georgia’s Pro Day, scheduled for March, was also canceled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It killed me not being able to show off my talents,” Cager told the New York Post earlier this week. “I wasn’t expecting to go undrafted but that’s life,” Cager said. “It’s another obstacle you have to face. Either way, this is where I wanted to end up.”
The Jets were one of the teams Cager interviewed with at the 2020 NFL Combine, meeting with Gase and receivers coach Shawn Jefferson.
“Going through the process, meeting with coach Gase, coach Jefferson, if I could pick where I wanted to go this is where I wanted to be at,” Cager said. “God works in mysterious ways and I ended up in the place I wanted to be at. I’m not complaining at all.”
Cager played in nine of 14 games last season, making 33 catches for 476 yards and four touchdowns.
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