WATCH: J.R. Reed confident Georgia has the speed to hang with Auburn
ATHENS — Georgia’s defense leads the SEC in every major statistical category and is only getting stronger, and more importantly, faster.
The return of sophomore cornerback Tyson Campbell, and the continued development of freshman defensive back Tyrique Stevenson puts two more NFL prototypes on the field.
For Campbell it was a matter of overcoming a turf toe ailment that’s sidelined him since the third game of the season. Stevenson has had to mature and learn to invest time in the film room.
But for the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (8-1, 5-1), it’s exactly what the doctor ordered against a No. 13 Auburn (7-2, 4-2) team that knows how to utilize speed and get players in space on the perimeter.
Campbell and Stevenson are two of the three fastest players on the Georgia defense, joining cornerback Eric Stokes. All three ran sub-11-second 100-meter times in high school.
Meanwhile, Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz is the self-declared “fastest player in college football” with a resume to back it up, having set a world youth record in 2017 with a 10.15-second 100-meter dash in 2017.
Schwartz also won the Florida state championship in the 100, running a 10.07, and in 2018, he took silver in the IAAF World U20 Championships.
Campbell, for one, knows exactly how fast Schwartz is as they were high school teammates at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla.
“Good thing we’re not in a track race against him,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said of Schwartz. “We gotta play football against him, and he’s a really good football player.”
Smart said Auburn moves Schwartz around well, and the Bulldogs will need to stay aware of where he’s lining up.
“I think awareness is how to handle it, because we got the players we got; they got the players they got, and nobody in the country is as fast as that guy,” Smart said. “So nobody’s going to be able to match up with him and just run with him.”
Georgia senior safety J.R. Reed said it’s going to take defense to keep Schwartz in check, and that he’s confident the Bulldogs have the speed to handle him.
“You just have to get people to the ball, we’ve got to contain him,” Reed said. “When he’s in open space, we have to tackle him, we can’t let him break loose.
“We have, I think, three legit track guys on our team, too, on defense, so we’ll be fine.”
Georgia football safety J.R. Reed
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