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Kirby Smart updates UGA wide receiver situation after Dominick Blaylock injury

Georgia will now be without Dominick Blaylock for the entirety of the 2020 season after the sophomore wide receiver tore his ACL during Wednesday’s practice this week.

Blaylock was expected to emerge as a bigger target in the Georgia passing offense this season as catching 18 passes for 310 yards and 5 touchdowns as a freshman.

“I reached out to him right away, and he said, ‘Coach, I’m going to be back. I’m going to be fine. I’m going to get through this, I’m going to push through it,'” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “He’s such a fiery competitor, and I’m excited to see him get back.”

Blaylock tore the ACL in his left knee, the same one he tore in Georgia’s loss to LSU in the SEC championship game against LSU last December. Blaylock had recovered enough to the point where he had been granted the ability to do some things at Georgia’s practice. The injury occurred during a non-contact rep.

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I’ll see you soon 2021…

A post shared by Dominick Blaylock (@domblaylock) on

Smart compared Blaylock’s first recovery to that of former running back Nick Chubb, who suffered a similarly devastating knee injury during his sophomore season in college. Chubb recovered and ran for over 1,000 rushing yards in each of his next two seasons as a Georgia Bulldog.

Given Blaylock’s well-demonstrated work ethic, it’s not going to surprise Smart to see the wide receiver have a similar bounce back to those of Malcolm Mitchell and Zamir White, who had multiple knee injuries during their college careers as well.

“Dom’s great, he’s resilient, he’s going to fight, he’s a competitor, he’s a great kid to be around and we want to keep him around the team,” Smart said.

Related: Why Dominick Blaylock is ready for the big moment in 2019 SEC Championship Game

As for replacing Blaylock and his potential production, that competition is already underway. Georgia will obviously rely on George Pickens to do even more this season, as the sophomore led the team in receiving yards, catches and receptions.

After that though, it seems there are two other names to know that seem a little farther ahead when it comes to the top of the pecking order at wide receiver.

“We didn’t have a lot of great vertical passing game, but Kearis [Jackson], Demetris [Robertson] and George [Pickens] are pretty consistent,” Smart said after Georgia’s scrimmage on Saturday.

Robertson is entering his third year in the program and is Georgia’s second-leading-returning receiver from a season ago. He’s had occasional flashes of success, but he’s never been able to consistently maintain a level of excellence associated with the 5-star ranking he garnered in high school.

Jackson is someone who seems to be a big winner of the first two weeks of Georgia’s practice, as offensive coordinator Todd Monken called him a “relative surprise.” Like Blaylock, Jackson battled injuries last season, but he’s a physical player and the one whose skillset figures to most easily fill the slot receiver position Blaylock would’ve occupied.

Related: What comes next at the wide receiver position now that Dominick Blaylock is out for 2020

Smart also gave an update on how some of Georgia’s younger receivers performed during Saturday’s scrimmage, though it was less rosy. He mentioned that the group had hit a wall of sorts, something that isn’t uncommon for players going through their first fall practices.

“We’re trying to build a depth chart among those guys, the freshmen and the other guys competing like Justin [Robinson], Marcus (Rosemy-Jacksaint] and Jermaine [Burton] are all competing in there along with Trey Blount and some of the other guys,” Smart said.

Georgia signed five wide receivers in the 2020 recruiting cycle. So far through practices, Robinson and Burton seem to be the ones that have made the most progress when it comes to transitioning to the college game. Robinson enrolled at Georgia in January and was set to partake in spring practice prior to the pandemic.

Related: LOOK: Freshman WR Justin Robinson continues to make plays at UGA practice

As Smart illustrates, replacing Blaylock won’t be easy and will require a group effort. The Bulldogs have some time to continue to figure out who will step up in the wide receiver room, as Georgia’s first game is not until Sept. 26, when the Bulldogs visit the Arkansas Razorbacks. Georgia will have another scrimmage next Saturday.

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart discusses Dominick Blaylock injury, wide receivers

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