ATHENS — Florida State graduate transfer Tre’ McKitty provided the latest twist for a Georgia offense that continues evolve entering into the fourth week of the season.
“I just tried to come in and realize I haven’t done anything here,” said McKitty, who had 2 catches for 47 yards against Tennessee last Saturday in his first action of the year.
“You try to earn your stripes again, and come in and working harder. Me being an older guy with experience, I try to bring that leadership.”
No doubt, McKitty’s return from preseason arthroscopic knee surgery comes just in time for a No. 3-ranked Bulldogs team that looks to exploit No. 2-ranked Alabama’s inconsistent play at the safety position.
Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah had 7 catches for 181 yards an 2 touchdowns last Saturday, including a 52-yard gain over the middle.
The week before, Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer had 8 catches for 82 yards for the Aggies against the Tide.
Georgia (3-0) tangles with Alabama (3-0) at 8 p.m. on Saturday (TV: CBS) looking to beat the Tide for the first time since Matt Stafford engineered a 26-23 victory in Tuscaloosa in 2007.
Former walk-on and junior college quarterback Stetson Bennett might not resemble Stafford in many ways, but the crafty Bennett has proven a winner with a penchant for finding his tight ends and open receivers over the middle.
Slot receiver Kearis Jackson has been the major benefactor with 27 targets this season, while the tight ends (12) have been thrown to almost as much as Sugar Bowl MVP George Pickens (15).
That trend figures to continue against Alabama with the 6-foot-5, 245-pound McKitty creating a matchup issue.
McKitty, an IMC Academy product originally from Wesley Chapel, Fla., said he knows how to handle the big-stage environment that awaits him and the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa.
“It’s tough, night game, 2 versus 3, but you have to do your best to blur it out and take it as any other week,” McKitty said. “”Like (Eric) Stokes said, we pay in the SEC, so we have a big game every week.
“We try to focus in ourselves and block out the outside noise and get back to work. We try to be our best every game, so let’s not try to up ourselves for this game.”
McKitty was a true freshman on the Florida State team that played Alabama in the 2017 opener, though he was not listed on the participation report.
Still, he said, “I know the hype coming into playing a game like this.”
Now it’s a matter of McKitty handling the moment, something former UGA coach Mark Richt believes the Bulldogs’ graduate transfer tight end can do.
“When we recruited Mckitty at Miami, we thought he was a great player, he’s very agile,” Richt said after UGA added the Florida State graduate transfer to its roster.
“Mckitty has got good ball skills, and he’s probably a better receiver than a blocker. But he’s a willing blocker, and he’s definitely a guy who can play.”
The @GeorgiaFootball offense took a big step forward last week and it will add another playmaker today. FSU grad transfer TE Tré McKitty (@T_mckitty) is one of the most talented senior tight ends in 2021 draft and makes his SEC debut against the Vols. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/LXofJ4JpZE
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 10, 2020