When you recruit as well as Georgia has in recent years, you’re going to have a number of players who seem poised to break out in their second year with the program.

Playing immediately at Georgia is a difficult task, with there usually being an adjustment period for even the best high school prospects as they transition into the SEC.

And one Georgia defender seems to have made the necessary adjustments and is primed for a big sophomore season at Georgia.

Will Backus of CBS Sports tabbed defensive Joenel Aguero as a second-year breakout player.

“Georgia has a lot of secondary depth to replace after NFL and transfer portal departures,” Backus wrote. “While there’s still an open competition, Aguero worked with the first team at star in spring and started there in Georgia’s spring game. It will be hard to take the 5-foot-11 Aguero off the field; the former 5-star’s development will be key for Georgia’s defense as a whole.”

Georgia signed Aguero out of Lynn, Mass., in the 2023 recruiting cycle. He was seen as one of the top prospects in the class, as he was the No. 47 overall player per the On3 Industry Ranking.

Aguero was thought to be someone who could possibly start right away. But a preseason injury and the improved play of Tykee Smith kept Aguero limited to being a special teams contributor. Smith led Georgia in tackles and interceptions. He was taken in the third round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The star position is not the only vacancy in the secondary, as Georgia must also replace cornerback Kamari Lassiter and safety Javon Bullard.

Aguero seems like the surest bet to be a new starter this year, especially after turning heads during spring practice for the Bulldogs.

“Joenel is his own person, but I would say he’s like a miniature version of Tykee. They’ve got the same body type, play very, very physical,” wide receiver Dominic Lovett said of Aguero. “Along with all of the other DBs, I’ve just seen them all come a long way from having who we had last year to having who we have this year.”

Aguero played in 12 games for Georgia as a freshman, registering 5 tackles. The Bulldogs went 13-1 last season, ending the year with a win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

He is far from the only 2023 signee that could have a big year for the Georgia team. Other second-year players who will look to make a big leap include running back Roderick Robinson, wide receiver Anthony Evans, tight end Lawson Luckie, defensive lineman Jordan Hall, inside linebackers Raylen Wilson and CJ Allen and cornerback Daniel Harris.

Georgia opens the 2024 season against the Clemson Tigers on Aug. 31. The game is set for a noon ET kick on ABC.