Sedrick Van Pran knows he leaves behind massive shoes to fill. He started 44 games during his Georgia career, earning All-American honors. He was a two-time captain and won back-to-back national championships as the team’s starting center.

He’s one of the program’s all-time great offensive linemen. And while Van Pran doesn’t want to put too much pressure on Jared Wilson, the departing Bulldog thinks his replacement could be an improvement at the center position.

“I think Jared is better than me. That’s my opinion,” Van Pran said prior to the Orange Bowl. “I don’t want to put too much expectations on him. Athletically, Jared is better than me. I’ll be really excited to see what he can do.”

Wilson will get his first real shot at being Georgia’s starting center this spring, as practices begin next week for the Bulldogs. Wilson will be surrounded by plenty of talented and experienced players, be it Tate Ratledge, Xavier Truss and Dylan Fairchild at offensive guard or Carson Beck at quarterback.

“I think the guy behind him, Jared [Wilson] is also very, very good,” Beck said of Wilson prior to the Orange Bowl. “I know that he’s been in a few games this year, and to see his athletic ability and the things that he’s capable of, I think there won’t even be a change.”

Georgia brings back four players with starting experience on the offensive line. Wilson could very well be the only new starter on the offensive line when the Bulldogs open the 2024 season against Clemson.

Wilson signed with Georgia as a member of the 2021 signing class, the same that produced Fairchild and potential first-round pick Amarius Mims. While those two have become household names, Wilson has had to wait his turn due to Van Pran’s excellence.

It’s also important to note that Wilson isn’t a natural center. Georgia has been grooming him at the position, slowly teaching him the intricacies that come with snapping and calling out an opposing defense.

At 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, he’s bigger than Van Pran. And Wilson did appear in 13 of Georgia’s 14 games last season. He’s more medium rare than he is truly raw.

Van Pran also made it a point to take Wilson under his wing, knowing that this day was coming for Wilson.

“We talked a lot,” Van Pran said of Wilson at the NFL combine. “I got Jared going probably about two years ago, watching film with me, teaching him different things. How to dissect film, how to figure those guys out.”

Van Pran will be the next Georgia center to head off to the NFL, joining the likes of Ben Jones and David Andrews. Van Pran met with a number of teams at the combine, including the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s seen as someone who could go in either the third or fourth round of the upcoming NFL draft.

While Van Pran will be consumed with figuring out how to become a great NFL player, he’ll also have an eye on how Wilson develops and plays for the Bulldogs.

“I would really like to see him work and figure things out. I think Jared is an amazing player,” Van Pran said. “He’s really, really athletic. He’s really smart. He understands the offense. I’m really excited to see his future.”

Sedrick Van Pran raves about Jared Wilson