ATHENS — Preseason college football magazines are always met with great enthusiasm, a reminder the start of the year is just around the corner.
Glossy photos mixed with deep statistics and projections are a staple, along with preseason rankings and ratings that trigger plenty of conversation.
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Choosing preseason all-stars and All-Americans is in part based on how they performed last season versus how they are projected to perform this season.
It’s an unscientific process, to be sure.
Consider, a year ago a USA Today panel of college football “experts” didn’t have one Georgia player on its preseason SEC first-team offense or defense.
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This, before a season the Bulldogs won the CFP Championship and produced an NFL-record 15 draft picks, in addition to an NFL draft record five first-round picks on defense.
The Phil Steele Magazine is generally regarded as a favorite and it has many metrics that college football fans love.
Steele’s All-American team projection where Georgia is concerned, like most others, leaves room for conversation.
Fact is, not even Bulldogs fans can be sure how the numbers will shake out.
Todd Monken’s offense is based on what the opposing defense is giving, making one doubt if FWAA Freshman of the Year Brock Bowers can replicate his record-setting numbers from a year ago at the tight end position.
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Georgia’s defense is undergoing a massive overhaul replacing four first-round picks out of its front seven along with Butkus Award winner Nakobe Dean, first-round safety Lewis Cine and Orange Bowl Defensive MVP Derion Kendrick.
Steele understandably had defensive tackle Jalen Carter and tight end Brock Bowers on his first-team All-American list, each entering the season as arguably the best player at their respective positions in the nation.
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Carter is everybody’s All-American, turning the CFP Championship Game around with his pivotal third-quarter field goal block and reputed to be more dynamic than 2022 first-round picks Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt.
Bowers, too, is a shoo-in for preseason All-American honors after breaking UGA’s TD receiving mark and shattering the school’s tight end records.
Only three other UGA players were awarded preseason All-American honors from Steele, who did a first-, second-, third- and fourth-team.
Cornerback Kelee Ringo was a second-team preseason All-American per Steele and has become a media favorite after his game-sealing Pick-6 in the CFP title game.