ATHENS — Another day, another man down on Georgia’s defensive line.
Sophomore DaQuan Hawkins hurt his MCL in last Saturday’s scrimmage and “may be out the rest of the spring,” according to head coach Kirby Smart.
It’s a similar injury to the one suffered a week before by fellow sophomore defensive lineman Michael Barnett, who is likely out for the G-Day game a week from Saturday.
The depth at defensive line has become such a concern that walk-on Alex Essex was moved over from the offensive line. Essex (6-foot-5, 276 pounds) is a redshirt sophomore from Richmond, Va.
“He’s done a really good job,” Smart said. “I mean he’s fighting his tail off in there for a position he didn’t work at, he didn’t naturally play.”
There are also two looming suspensions on the defensive line: Chauncey Rivers will miss the first three games because of violations to UGA’s drug policy, and Jonathan Ledbetter will miss the first game because of an alcohol-related arrest a couple weeks ago.
Hawkins and Barnett should be back in plenty of time for summer workouts. And the team has three incoming defensive linemen. But the Bulldogs need enough bodies to get through a practice. Right now there are seven healthy scholarship defensive linemen.
“That is now the thinnest position, along with running back,” Smart said.