ATHENS — We already knew Solomon Kindley had a cool story: He was a 370-pound lifeguard who once saved a child from drowning. When Kirby Smart hosted newcomers at a lake outing in July, he marveled that Kindley could do back-flips and front-flips, and was “a treat” to watch – though Kindley did destroy Smart’s inner tube.
“He grabbed the handles on it and just ripped the handles off the tube,” Smart said, shaking his head. “We’ve got to get a new tube.”
That’s all funny stuff. But it may be time to move beyond Kindley as a novelty: He can play a bit of football, and appears to be in the plans this season.
Kindley, who was only a three-star recruit out of Jacksonville, has been working at second-team left guard for awhile now, displacing the highly-touted freshman Ben Cleveland. While Georgia’s top six is firmly established, Kindley was one of three other linemen Smart named this week – tackles Kendall Baker and Aulden Bynum were the others – who have stood out.
“He’s a powerful guy,” Smart said of Kindley. “He doesn’t completely know the offense inside and out, and that’s probably still his weakness. He’s got to continue to learn. But he’s going to be a good player, and he gets a lot of movement. That’s a key ingredient for us.”
The lineup on Georgia’s front five has one major question to be answered: Whether they begin with Tyler Catalina at left tackle and Wynn at left guard, or Wynn at left tackle, Dyshon Sims at left guard, and Catalina coming off the bench. Either way, it appears all six will play.
After that, Baker and Bynum offer options at tackle, and Kindley has, somewhat surprisingly, entered the mix at guard.
Kindley has dropped some weight, and is now listed at 336 pounds, making him Georgia’s third-heaviest player, after Cleveland (341) and walk-on offensive lineman Allen Williams (352). The dropped weight has helped Kindley, but given the athleticism he’s shown in the water, it shouldn’t be a surprise he’s more than just a big body.
“Solomon, he’s a great run blocker,” tailback Nick Chubb said. “I watched on film, he’s getting downhill, getting to that linebacker, to the next level.”
Kindley was a late find for Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman. He may have entered camp as kind of a project, and a redshirt candidate, but it’s not looking that way right now.
“There’s really seven or eight guys that we feel like have come along and gotten better, especially since the last scrimmage,” Smart said.