NEW ORLEANS — Suddenly, Georgia freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell is back in the starting lineup and spotlight for the Bulldogs.
Campbell, a 5-star prospect from Plantation, Fla., who started the first 10 games for Georgia the season, looks to regain his starting spot after Deandre Baker’s decision not to play.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play a motivated No. 15-ranked Texas team in the Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m. new Tuesday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Longhorns feature two of the biggest and most talented receivers they’ll have seen the season in Lil’ Jordan Humphrey (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) and Collin Johnson (6-6, 220).
The Texas receivers figure to pose the biggest challenge for the Georgia defense, Humphrey leading the Longhorns with 79 catches for 1,109 yards and 9 TDs, and Johnson reeling in 65 receptions for 945 yards and 7 TDs.
The good news for Campbell (6-2, 185) and fellow projected starting cornerback Eric Stokes (6-1, 185) is that Texas has not produced a play longer than 50 yards on offense the season.
Campbell said after the SEC Championship Game the area he felt he could improve most was looking back for the football more often while in coverage.
“I feel like I can get better at not panicking and look back for the ball more,” Campbell said. “I worked hard in practice and I feel like I got better at that, and I’m just ready to keep going to work with these guys.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart has assumed secondary coaching duties with former secondary coach and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker moved on to Colorado as the Buffaloes new head coach.
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“Everything he does is more intense, you feel it more,” Stokes said of Smart taking over secondary coach duties. “You’re moving more, you’re giving all you got.”
Campbell said his freshman season had its share of ups and down, but he grew from it.
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“It was tough, it was fun,” Campbell said. “But at the same time, it was a wake-up call and a learning experience.
“I learned a lot about football, and, you know, it’s just an all-learning year for me to get ready for next year.”
Next year as in Jan. 1 against Texas’ giant receivers, as it turns out.
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