ATHENS — Gray skies hung over Sanford Stadium leading up to the G-Day Game, but the forecast for Georgia football is blue skies.
The Bulldogs are losing a record NFL Draft class, with at least 12 players expected to be selected into the professional ranks April 28-30 in Las Vegas.
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But there are enough experienced players returning to give Georgia a solid nucleus, leading one oddsmaker to set the win total over-under at 11.5.
In addition to the more established players — Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith, Christopher Smith, Brock Bowers, A.D. Mitchell and Stetson Bennett — the Bulldogs expect to get a boost from new and recently healed faces.
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Arik Gilbert and Dominick Blaylock, in particular, will be key as UGA’s offense will be asked to do more and the Bulldogs lost George Pickens to early entry to the NFL draft and Jermaine Burton transferred to Alabama.
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Here are four players that will be watched closely in the G-Day Game:
1. TE Arik Gilbert
The former LSU transfer has lost more than 30 points to get back engaged with the program since sitting out last season to deal with personal issues.
Gilbert still comes in at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds — 25 pounds than the 240 target weight he’s listed at — and runs and catches with great fluidity.
Gilbert has gotten a lot of work leading up to the scrimmage (1 p.m., ESPN2) with Bowers and Darnell Washington sidelined by injuries this spring.
2. WR Dominick Blaylock
Blaylock is back after suffering back-to-back ACL injuries that knocked him out of the 2020 season and kept him severely limited through most of 2021.
All reports indicate that Blaylock, known for his sharp route-running and ability to separate, has been one of the standout player in the closed scrimmages leading up to G-Day.
3. DT Zion Logue
Logue is next man up at nose tackle, and even if he won’t quite fill Jordan Davis’ shoes, he’s plenty capable.
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Center Sedrick Van Pran, who goes against Logue each day, said Logue is a combination of Devonte Wyatt and Davis with his quickness and ability to plug run gaps.
4. P Brett Thorson
The former Australian Rules Football player has had some strong moments in spring drills, but Thorson will get his first taste of pressure in G-Day.
Former punter Jake Camarda was a big weapon, producing several hidden yards with booming and well-placed punts, and the talented Thorson will be looked to step up.