What to make of Georgia football wide receivers after encouraging spring game: ‘That time is still coming’
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Kearis Jackson, Georgia football wide receivers ready to ‘cut it loose’ after spring game
ATHENS — Kearis Jackson was a little tired of the recognition. He knew he played well on Saturday, as he led the Bulldogs in receiving yards as he caught four passes for 107 yards.
But more than the numbers, Jackson looked like he was back and perhaps even better than his 2020 form. Jackson had offseason knee surgery last summer, which would explain his 16-catch, 194-yard season.
“Everybody keeps saying 2020,” a bemused Jackson said. “I was okay in 2020 but today I felt ready to cut it loose and just be myself. That time is still coming.”
Jackson was far from the only wide receiver to look like an improved version of his past self on Saturday. Arian Smith showcased his world-class speed, burning promising cornerback Daylen Everette for a 60-yard gain in the first quarter. Smith had three receptions for 83 yards while playing in a white non-contact jersey.
There were also promising moments from Dominick Blaylock. The junior wide receiver, who was outstanding throughout Georgia’s 15 spring practices, hauled in five receptions for 67 yards. After being mostly an injured curiosity these past two seasons, Blaylock looked like the wide receiver who had so much promise in 2019.
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If those three wide receivers continue to build off what they did this spring, Georgia might have some difference-makers at the position this season. Add in the continued growth of AD Mitchell and Ladd McConkey and you start to see a talented room come together.
But head coach Kirby Smart is still a bit weary when it comes to his wide receiver room. And you only have to look at the 2021 season to understand why that is still the case.
Georgia fans will point to the tight end room as a reason why some might not be as concerned about the wide receivers as Smart appears to be. Even with Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington out with injuries this spring, Oscar Delp and Arik Gilbert were two of the bigger stars of G-Day. Add in Brett Seither and Ryland Goede and the tight end room is one of the best position groups in the country, not just limited to tight ends.
The Bulldogs came out in a two-tight end set to open the spring game, something it will no doubt frequently employ in the regular season. But Jackson is quick to bring up the role Georgia’s wide receivers played late in the National Championship game.
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It was a Mitchell touchdown catch that gave Georgia the lead for good against Alabama. And Rosemy-Jacksaint was clearing the way for Bowers to get into the endzone on Georgia’s final offensive play of the game.
“I feel like we made great strides. Just doing the small details stuff. When your receivers can make plays, that puts your offense in a good position to win,” Jackson said on the improvements made by the wide receivers this spring. “Especially in tight ball games. Look at the national championship. Those two drives came from receivers making plays.”
Jackson even backed up that statement on Saturday, as he made a critical 25-yard reception to set up the game-winning field goal for Georgia. The senior receiver was practicing what he preached on Saturday.