Georgia fan-favorite Dominick Blaylock considers future, receivers room in flux
ATHENS —Georgia football is transitioning right before the eyes of its fans with the annual comings and goings of players moving on to the NFL and early signees easing into the program.
The transfer portal has added a new dimension, however and fans still aren’t exactly sure what to make of it, in terms of the hypocrisy of welcoming new players while calling out others for leaving.
And then, there is the case of fan-favorite Dominick Blaylock, who has battled back from two knee injuries to help Georgia win two national championships.
But still, there’s that love of Georgia football that led Blaylock to fight his way back from not one, but two, ACL injuries.
There might not have been a happier face in the locker room at SoFi Stadium than Blaylock, who had sacrificed so much just to fight his way back into the UGA receiver rotation.
“It’s unbelievable; just all the hard work that we’ve put in for these past two years, basically,” Blaylock said. “It’s a great feeling coming out as a national champion.”
Smart credited Blaylock last spring for setting a key example in the receivers room.
“Our team takes on a lot of his resiliency DNA,” Smart said, “and it’s something we sell our players on.”
Blaylock finished this, his fourth year in the program, with 15 catches for 227 yards and a touchdown.
A surgical route runner with reliable hands, Blaylock’s last catch for Georgia came against Ohio State, when he reeled in a 20-yard pass from Stetson Bennett on a third-and-10 at the Buckeyes’ 25, sustaining UGA’s first touchdown drive that tied the game at 7-7.
“Whenever my name is called I just try to execute and help my team in any way possible,” Blaylock said. “I work hard and do my best to help the outcome for my team.”
Blaylock played in all 15 games and logged 152 offensive snaps — fifth-most among the receivers -- in addition to 19 special teams snaps.
Georgia has already added Missouri transfer Dominic Lovett and Mississippi State transfer Rara Thomas to the receiver room.
Leading receiver Ladd McConkey is eligible to declare for the NFL and has a mid-round draft grade, while A.D. Mitchell is also three years removed from high school and not a certainty to return.
Per NFL.com, “the NFL informed clubs in Sept. 2021 that it counts the 2020 college football season toward a player’s eligibility, whether a player opted out of that season or not,” which might make Mitchell eligible for a waiver.
Veteran Kearis Jackson is believed to have a year of eligibility remaining via the “Covid Year” the NCAA allotted, as it did not count 2020 toward players’ eligibility clock.
Jackson could return for another year, transfer or declare for the NFL. A team leader, Jackson was also a very valuable member of the team with 19 catches for 265 yards along with 18 kick returns for 391 yards and 3 punt returns for 51 yards.
Georgia receivers room (1-13-23)
Transfer in: Dominic Lovett, Missouri
Transfer in: Rara Thomas, Mississippi State
Incoming freshman: Tyler Williams
Incoming freshman: Anthony Evans
Incoming freshman: Yazeed Haynes