ATHENS — Georgia freshman Travon Walker was expected to get his first reps with the ones on Thursday, an indication the 6-foot-5, 285-pounder from Thomaston is opening eyes.
Bulldogs defensive coordinator Dan Lanning said on Monday that Walker’s athleticism stood out in the offseason workouts in shorts and helmets.
“Travon is extremely athletic, is strong, he’s really an athletic guy for his size, “ Lanning said. “Obviously he has the basketball history as a high school player, so I’m definitely excited to see what he can do.”
Lanning and other defensive coaches covet players like Walker with an explosive burst off the line that is often compared to how basketball players explode to the rim.
Mississippi State first-round pick Montez Sweat was a former basketball player who, liked Walker, also starred on the hardwood.
Walker earned all-state honors on a team that won back-to-back state titles, winning more than 70 consecutive games.
Lanning said Walker has the strength to go long with the quick-twitch.
“ He’s a guy that’s good moving, but he’s also strong enough to hold the point,” Lanning said. “So, I don’t think I would put a ceiling on Travon and I also wouldn’t put a ceiling on our D-Line at this time.”
Georgia’s defensive line is considered by many the weakest position group on the team, lacking any proven star power outside of 2018 FWAA Freshman All-American Jordan Davis.
Senior Tyler Clark failed to take a step forward last season and is considered by most to be merely adequate, and senior Julian Rochester did not have the sort of season many expected in 2018 and is coming off knee surgery.
Kirby Smart has openly challenged junior Malik Herring to rise to his potential, while mentioning senior Justin Young as a player who has made improvements each season.
Georgia Practice 6 observations
— A limited scrimmage was planned by the staff, as each assistant could be heard talking to their players about the upcoming action. A full officiating crew was also on hand during warmups, ready to call some of the first full-scrimmage of the fall.
— Freshman receiver George Pickens has moved up to the second team at receiver, and his size continues to stand out more than one might expect of someone listed at 6-3 on the roster. Pickens looked smooth and athletic running his routes, showing the sort of promise in drills that made him a 5-star recruit.
— Freshman slot Dominick Blaylock continued to work with the third team, unable to advance past redshirt freshman Kearis Jackson or challenge No. 1 slot Demetris Robertson. Jackson redshirted last season on account of a hamstring injury.
— Tyler Simmons is working ahead of Pickens and likely will continue to do so. Simmons is a reliable blocker and now healthy brings a great deal of speed and pass-catching ability to the perimeter. Simmons played more than half of last season in a shoulder brace.
— Junior defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt was blasting the sled in warmups, perhaps serving notice he was ready for whatever degree of scrimmage action the Bulldogs had scheduled. Going up against the ‘Great Wall’ on a daily basis certainly would require pep.
— Redshirt freshman John FitzPatrick had a drop, prompting tight ends coach Todd Hartley to encourage with him a “FitzMagic” reference. FitzPatrick, wearing some sort of elbow brace contraption, caught the next ball.
— Tennessee graduate transfer tight end Eli Wolf was sitting out Thursday’s practice on account of what was described as a minor injury.
— Freshman tight end Brett Seither, who earlier this week was catching heat for his blocking form on the sled, appeared to redeem himself with some nice catches in the warmup period.
— Sophomore defensive end Brenton Cox is no longer on the official roster, closing the door on his pending transfer. Cox parted from the team following Sunday’s practice and it was reported on Sunday he had entered the transfer portal. Smart has yet to address the issue.
Connor Riley and Brandon Adams contributed to this report
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