ATHENS — Lewis Cine will forever be known for the devastating hit he put on Florida tight end Kyle Pitts last season.
It was a play on which the Georgia safety led with his shoulder only to have Pitts duck before contact leading to a helmet-to-helmet collision.
Cine, who was ejected, has downplayed the hit that knocked Pitts out of the game with the score tied 21-21 in the second quarter.
The third-year player from Texas is not, however, downplaying the role Coach Kirby Smart has assigned him this spring.
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“My job is making sure I work on my leadership role,” said Cine, the only returning starter from the original 2020 secondary. “I’m making sure I’m communicating with the young guys, and making sure we’re all on the same page back there.”
The Bulldogs opened the first of their 15 spring practice sessions on Wednesday.
WATCH: Highlights from first Georgia football spring practice
Cine’s star has been on the rise since he filled in for J.R. Reed in the Bulldogs’ 2020 Sugar Bowl win over Baylor. Cine had six tackles in that game and appeared assignment sound.
The 2021 season started the same way for Cine, as he recorded six tackles in the Bulldogs’ season-opening win over Arkansas.
Of course, that was with such 2021 NFL player prospects as Eric Stokes, Richard LeCounte, Tyson Campbell, Mark Webb and DJ Daniel planning around him.
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Now, Cine said, he feels like the “older brother” in the secondary
It’s a rebuilding group to be sure, with the top three cornerbacks moving on and Smart declaring an open competition at the position.
It’s so open that Cine said he is even seeing reps there, as Georgia looks to get the best four or five defensive backs on the field.
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“Kirby was not lying when he said everyone’s getting a look at cornerback, I mean, he’s tried everyone, including myself,” Cine said. “If I’m put there, I’m going to play it to the best of my ability.”
Cine was second on the team in tackles last season (52), trailing only linebacker Nakobe Dean (71).
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