ATHENS — Georgia football graduate transfer Lawrence Cager is the first to admit it has been quite a transition these past few months of his life.
“Obviously, it’s two different sides of the totem pole, Miami and Athens,” said Cager, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound receiver who led the Hurricanes in touchdown catches and yards per reception last season.
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“But I love it here. It’s a great place and the team welcomed me with open arms, (and) Coach Smart welcomed me with open arms. I’m just happy to be here.”
It was a tough 2018 season for Miami under former coach Mark Richt, particularly with an unsettled quarterback situation.
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Cager knew that coming to Georgia he wouldn’t have that issue with third-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm under center.
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He also knew what he was getting in an offensive coordinator in recently promoted James Coley.
Coley was Miami’s offensive coordinator Cager’s freshman year and recruited him to the Hurricanes.
“Honestly, I didn’t even look at the receiver situation,” said Cager, who has been sharing first team reps in the WR rotation throughout fall camp. “Coach Coley and Coach Smart called me as soon as I put my name in the portal.”
Some thought Cager might declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. Cager is already on the Senior Bowl radar.
But Cager decided a chance to win a championship at Georgia and showcase his abilities more was the better way to go.
“I put my trust in those guys 10 times out of 10,” Cager said. “Coach Coley when he coached me at Miami, and Coach Smart recruiting me heavy when I was being recruited by Alabama, so I just trusted them and we’ll see how it goes.”
It is well documented that Georgia will be relying on new and inexperienced receivers this season.
Two of the three Bulldogs’ receivers drafted into the NFL were underclassmen, and then leading returning receiver Jeremiah Hollomon transferred to Florida International this summer.
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Coley said earlier in fall camp that Cager has been a good fit for Georgia on and off the field.
“Just coming to work every day and enjoying the atmosphere of what we have and being positive with learning and the learning curve,” Coley said. “The big thing that he brings, he brings experience. So where you sit back and you say, ‘well, I wonder if this guy’s going to make this play in a particular time’.
“Veteran guys, you’ve seen it happen and you know that they’ve been those spotlights.”
And, Coley said, he knows what Cager will do out of the spotlight.
“Knowing him a little bit further, working with him for a full year,” Coley said, “you knew what type of character kid he is.”
Indeed, Cager has done his best to use his experience to help lead in the receivers room. Senior Tyler Simmons, with nine catches last season, is UGA’s leading returning receiver.
“From a receiver room aspect, we came in with the mindset, myself, Tyler, all the receivers, especially me and Tyler being seniors , that it’s on us,” Cager said.
“Whether it’s making plays on the perimeter or special teams, a long as we have that mindset that it’s on us and we come with that mindset that it’s on us, then we can attack every day like it’s a game.”
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