ATHENS — It’s understandable for there to be excitement around the new faces at the wide receiver position.

The Bulldogs brought in three wide receivers via the transfer portal this offseason. London Humphreys arrived first out of Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs next added Miami wide receiver Colbie Young and finally took in Michael Jackson from USC.

With Ladd McConkey and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint moving on to the NFL, there is an opportunity for those players to come in early and compete for playing time.

To this point, Young has quickly established himself in the room. His size is a key reason why, as his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame really stands out on the practice field.

Perhaps the most encouraging part about Young’s fast start is that he’s actually been producing wihle playing through a bit of an ankle injury.

“He’s been able to practice some and do some things. He’s actually gotten better with each practice, probably did the least with any of his practices his first practice,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “He did a little more the third practice, and then hoping today he’s able to do some more. He’s very bright, transitions smoothly.”

Young had 47 receptions for 563 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns last season for the Hurricanes. The hope is that paring him with quarterback Carson Beck will help further unlock his game.

Given the injury issues the Bulldogs have had at wide receiver in recent seasons — George Pickens, AD Mitchell and Ladd McConkey each missed at least five games over the previous three seasons — it is encouraging that Young is pushing through his ankle injury at this point.

Jackson and Young both have just one season of eligibility remaining. The 2024 season will be their only one at Georgia. Humphreys has three seasons of eligibility remaining, a major reason Georgia aggressively pursued him out of the transfer portal from Vanderbilt.

But he’s also less of a finished product at this point.

“London is really in his second year of college football,” Smart said. “I think a lot of times you take a guy in the portal and think of immediate — RaRa [Thomas], Dom [Lovett], those guys had played in our conference a lot — London had played in our conference, but probably a young player that’s developing.”

Like Thomas and Lovett, Humphreys arrives at Georgia with SEC experience. Lovett had 54 receptions for 613 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first season with the Bulldogs. Thomas had 23 receptions for 383 yards and a touchdown, though his season was cut short by a foot injury.

Thomas and Lovett both return for their second seasons at Georgia. They can both help ease the transition into the Georgia program, something that isn’t easy for everyone.

“I want them to fit into our culture and buy-in to special teams and practice hard and learn how to practice in the spring,” Smart said. “And then come back fall, they should be conditioned and smarter and be able to benefit us more. Each one of them’s done that.”

Georgia has taken five wide receivers via the transfer portal in the past two seasons. Smart clearly believes in the portal as a way to bolster his wide receiver room.

There are risks that come with transfer portal additions, as Smart has outlined. It’s why he has no problem tempering expectations when it comes to Young, Humphreys and Jackson.

But he deep down knows that all three are more than capable of helping this Georgia team. He would not have recruited them to Georgia if that was not the case.

“I can tell you the research we’ve done to bring them into our program was, do they care more about the team than themselves, do they believe in culture? They all checked those boxes,” Smart said earlier in March. “I’ll find out a lot more as the spring goes and as they grow. I’m excited about their addition to the wide receiver room.”

Kirby Smart talks UGA transfer wide receivers