Georgia football-2021 signees-spring
During Georgia’s practice session in Athens, Ga., on Thursday, March 17, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

2021 Georgia football signees earn early praise during spring practice

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Second-year players earning rave reviews for Georgia football this spring

Statistically speaking, Georgia’s 2021 signing class was one of the least impressive in Smart’s tenure. It is the smallest signing class Smart has signed to date with just 20 signees. From a national ranking standpoint, its No. 4 ranking makes it the second-lowest rated class Smart has signed since he took over in December of 2015.

Most schools in the country would love to have that kind of recruiting haul. The members of said class are already showing why.

The first year of this group though showed some real promise. Most of that came in the form of tight end Brock Bowers, as he became perhaps the best true freshman in the country. He led the team in receiving yards and catches while setting a school record for touchdown passes.

Bowers is obviously an exception compared to most freshmen. Even with Bowers out this spring due to shoulder surgery, Georgia seems like it is set to get a lot more contributions from members of the 2021 signing class.

Georgia found another talented pass catcher in the 2021 cycle in the form of AD Mitchell. Despite entering as a 3-star prospect, Mitchell quickly outplayed that ranking and the expectations that came along with it. He hauled in 29 passes for 426 yards and 4 touchdowns. His biggest grab of the season came in the national championship game, when he hauled in a 40-yard bomb from Stetson Bennett, giving Georgia the go-ahead score it needed.

Related: Georgia’s George Pickens dishes on A.D. Mitchell’s star potential, Carson Beck’s passing velocity

Elsewhere on the offense, perhaps there is no player Georgia football followers are excited to see than Amarius Mims. The gigantic offensive lineman was Georgia’s top-rated signee in the 2021 recruiting cycle, and rated as the No. 2 overall offensive tackle prospect in the country.

Unlike most Georgia offensive linemen, Mims didn’t redshirt as a freshman. He managed to crack the two-deep, earning reps in Georgia’s many blowouts last season.

The problem for Mims though is not necessarily tied to his own abilities. Georgia returns Warren McClendon as the starter at right tackle and Broderick Jones was a difference-maker at left tackle for Georgia in the national championship game. He seems poised to step in as the full-time left tackle.

So where does that leave Mims? Head coach Kirby Smart has said in the past that Georgia wants to find its five best offensive linemen. According to teammate Sedrick Van Pran, Mims has the talent level to crack that club. Even if it puts Mims at guard.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him take the next step,” Van Pran said. “I think he’s going to be fine though, honestly, [from] just watching him and how he practices and just honestly watching how he works. It’s a thing of beauty. I’m looking forward to how he takes the next step because he’s a generational talent, in my opinion.”

Related: Kirby Smart banking on fit in hiring of Stacy Searels as Georgia football offensive line coach

Mims will need to continue to impress new offensive line coach Stacy Searels while battling with Warren Ericson, Micah Morris, Jared Wilson and others at the guard position. Georgia doesn’t have Tate Ratledge at full health this spring as he is still recovering from his foot injury.

On the defensive side of the ball, the strongest reviews have been for linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson. His teammates refer to him as Pop. If he does what he did with a larger sample size, pretty soon plenty of people will know Dumas-Johnson’s name.

“Every time he’s out there you actually see a pop,” teammate Nolan Smith said. “He goes in there for two plays, and he gets the ball out. He went in for three plays against UAB and he caught a pick-6 and runs it back. And he gets forced fumbles and sacks within seconds. I love him.”

Related: Kirby Smart knows something is missing in Georgia football inside linebacker room

Georgia is without fellow sophomore linebacker Smael Mondon this spring as he recovers from labrum surgery. Given Georgia must replace Nakobe Dean, Channing Tindall and Quay Walker, Dumas-Johnson will be counted on entering the 2022 season. He snared a pick-6, a sack and 21 tackles as a backup last season.

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