ATHENS — For about the past decade, Georgia’s had a pretty good run of players at the center position.
Both Ben Jones and David Andrews have gone on to become well-known starting centers at the NFL level. Brandon Kulbanow was a multi-year starter on the Georgia offensive line. And Lamont Gaillard — after earning All-SEC honors last year — was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft.
As for Gaillard’s replacement, so far Georgia sophomore Trey Hill is doing his best to continue that line of centers.
“He’s a good center, good leader on the offensive line,” Georgia defensive lineman David Marshall said. “He reminds me of Lamont, in terms of body size and his quick hands.”
Prior to this season, Hill’s experience at center was pretty limited. He started just one game at the position in high school and then filled in briefly for Gaillard last year in the Kentucky game. In that game, Hill did struggle with some snapping issues but the Georgia offense ran for 331 yards. That was the most for the Bulldogs in an SEC game last season.
Hill wanted to do whatever he could to get on the field right away at Georgia. And given Georgia had the likes of Cade Mays and Ben Cleveland vying for the starting spot at right guard, it would’ve been a tall task to beat both out.
But the center position was wide open with Gaillard leaving for the NFL. At the start of spring practice, Smart said Hill would get the first looks at the position to go along with Warren Ericson and Jamaree Salyer. From there, Hill pretty much sowed up the job from there.
In Georgia’s first two games this season, the Bulldogs rushed for an average of 296 yards per game. But Hill hasn’t been perfect either. The offensive line did give up a sack in the Murray State loss when the opposing defensive line ran a twist stunt.
“He’s got to strain longer and harder in order to improve,” Kirby Smart said. “I mean he’s playing well, but he can play better. That’s what we are trying to get out of Trey is his best self, and how does he get his best self? He’s got to strain a little harder.”
The sophomore also isn’t the most vocal player in the world. And when you’re playing offensive guard, speaking and communicating isn’t that big of a deal. But as the center, you’re calling out protections for the entire offensive line while speaking with your quarterback.
According to Smart, Hill has put in some extra time to help make up for his inexperience at the position. And he’s getting a little bit of help from one of his former high school teammates.
“Trey has done a good job of communicating,” Smart said. “Trey comes in and meets extra as the center has to do to call fronts, to get looks, to really watch tape and be the master of his trade. Jake (Fromm) does some of that, too, so Jake helps with him. It helps having a guy that’s got a lot of experience and is as bright as Jake is.”
Hill — a year younger than Fromm — both played for Houston Country in Warner Robins, Ga. In high school, Hill played left tackle and protected Fromm’s blindside.
“We had a great relationship, just doing a lot of things outside of football,” Hill said. Me coming to Georgia, who would have ever thought me and Jake would end up coming to the say same school?”
Fromm and Hill haven’t had any snap issues so far this season. And Georgia is certainly going to play stiffer competition than Vanderbilt and Murray State as the season goes on. But so far Hill is handling life at center as well as any newcomer can.
Georgia offensive lineman Trey Hill discuss his life at center
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