It has not been a good spring for the wide receiver position as far as a health standpoint for the Georgia football team.
The Bulldogs entered spring practice with Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Dominick Blaylock working their way back to full strength following season-ending injuries from the 2020 season. Then George Pickens tore his ACL. A week later, Jermaine Burton hyperextended his knee. Then last Saturday, Arian Smith went down with a sprained wrist.
While wide receiver figured to be a strength for Georgia this year, it won’t be if all of those players are unable to contribute.
Fortunately, the Bulldogs have started getting some better news at the position. Smith was able to participate in Georgia’s second scrimmage on Saturday. Burton wasn’t able to but head coach Kirby Smart did note he’s beginning to do more at practice as knee injury does not seem to be as serious as once feared.
“He’s back running around doing some things,” Smart said. “He didn’t scrimmage but he’s doing a lot more and getting more flexibility.”
Perhaps most encouraging on the injury front was what Smart had to say about Rosemy-Jacksaint. The sophomore wide receiver broke his ankle as he scored his first career touchdown against Florida last season, ending his freshman campaign right as he seemed to be taking off as a player.
With Pickens out for the foreseeable future, Rosemy-Jacksaint and his physical receiving style would provide a big boost to the Georgia wide receiver room.
“Marcus Rosemy is getting close. He’s running around doing walkthroughs, doing conditioning,” Smart said. “You see him on the side getting to run you know he’s close to being healthy.”
Related: JT Daniels knows what must come next for George Pickens, Georgia offense
Smart added that Blaylock is running off at the side of practice as well. He tore his ACL last August after tearing the same knee in the 2019 SEC Championship Game.
If there is a silver lining that comes with all the injuries, it is that a number of Georgia’s young wide receivers have gotten more reps this spring than perhaps they would have. Smart noted Justin Robinson, Adonai Mitchell and Ladd McConkey have all taken advantage of the extra reps.
Related: Freshman wide receiver Adonai Mitchell making a strong first impression on JT Daniels
“I’m fired up,” Smart said about his wide receivers. “I wish I had all of them because I think that competition would be really good to see who the top guys and the starters are. But a lot of the young guys are catching up to the old guys now really fast with the work they’ve been able to get.”
Smart expressed his desire for Georgia to have a vertical passing offense this coming season. Having wide receivers such as Burton, Rosemy-Jacksaint and Kearis Jackson being able to make plays downfield will go a long way in helping Georgia become the best version of itself on the offensive side of the ball.
“We want to be explosive, we want to be a vertical passing team,” Smart said. “We’re not into making excuses for what receivers are in and what receivers aren’t. We’ve got really good receivers in and I think they compete well. That will be the expectation every day we go on that field is to attack people vertically and throw the ball and catch the ball.”
Helping the wide receivers is quarterback JT Daniels, who has become a more vocal part of the Georgia offense as he enters his second year in the program.
Daniels threw for 10 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions in Georgia’s final four games fo the 2020 season, all of which were Georgia wins.
“You have a great receiver room and as much as you hate to lose George and you do, there’s no understating that,” Daniels said. “You’ve got a lot of guys that are going to work their butt off and try to develop and produce anyway they have.”
Burton and Rosemy-Jacksaint will not be able to participate in Georgia’s G-Day scrimmage, which is set for next Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. The spring scrimmage figures to be a chance for the wide receiver room to end spring practice on a very positive note.
Kirby Smart talks Georgia wide receivers, second scrimmage
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