Georgia football-Mykel Williams-Travon Walker
All-American Mykel Williams picked up the Maxwell Award as the nation's most outstanding high school defensive player last season. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Standout freshmen, Arik Gilbert updates and other key Georgia football takeaways from SEC media days

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Key Georgia football takeaways from SEC media days

We know, it’s early. Some of the 2022 Georgia football signees haven’t even put on their pads yet. Still, a few members of the team have already impressed in their brief time at Georgia.

Take Mykel Williams. The defensive end was Georgia’s highest-rated signee in the class, as he arrives as the No. 4 overall player in the 2022 recruiting cycle. He went through spring practice, making a few plays during the G-Day scrimmage.

Yet there was his head coach, Kirby Smart, expressing optimism about what he might be able to bring to the Georgia team this season.

“The number one thing that stands out about him is his work ethic. You never hear anything about him academically,” Smart said. “I look out my window, and I see him out there doing extra after every practice.

“I left work the other day on a Sunday, and he’s out there hitting a sled on Sunday. When you have a freshman that’s out there on Sunday on his own, on turf, 115 degrees out there, he’s out there striking a sled, something special.”

Related: Cover 4 on Georgia football: Which true freshman are you most excited to seeing this fall?

Joining Williams on the defense is 5-star edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr. He earned strong praise from Nolan Smith, who knows a thing or two about what Jones is stepping into. Smith was a 5-star prospect in the 2019 class.

Similar to Williams, Jones has received early praise for his work ethic. As well as his ability as a fisher, as Smith and Jones have gone on a few fishing trips around the Athens area.

“He understands getting open in space and the scramble drill,” quarterback Stetson Bennett said. “Some guys just don’t. Some guys are freak athletes who just stop when you start scrambling. He is working to find space. Still getting everything down because it’s like he just got here. He’s a really good football player.”

Related: Arik is a beast’: Teammates rave about Arik Gilbert after strong Georgia football spring performance

As the Georgia coach has at just about every point in the offseason, Smart has commended Gilbert on how far he has come both in terms of his stamina and his work in the classroom. But Smart has also done all he can to slow the Gilbert hype train, which is part of the reason Gilbert felt the need to step away from the team in the first place.

Gilbert might have the ability to be the best pass catcher on Georgia’s team. But he’s going to have to earn that role by putting in the work every single day. The rest of the talent in Georgia’s tight end room will force him to do that.

“The opportunity he got, he seized that opportunity to grow and develop. He will have to continue to do that to be a major contributor for us. He’s bought into doing that, being a team player. There’s a lot more to being a tight end than just catching the ball. He’s bought into that.

Nolan Smith sticks up for Stetson Bennett

By now, Bennett has grown accustomed to the narratives that surround him. He’s been told plenty of times how great his story is, going from a one-time walk-on to a championship-winning quarterback. He’s also heard time and time again how because he was a walk-on, he’s just not good enough to lead Georgia.

NextThe 7 big questions Georgia will attempt to answer at 2022 SEC Media …
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