Who are potential spring sleepers for Georgia?
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Don’t sleep on ’em
We already have a good idea of the UGA players we expect to have big showings in spring practice — Nick Chubb, Lorenzo Carter, Dominick Sanders — as well as the players fans want to have big showings in spring practice — Ben Cleveland, Mecole Hardman, Jake Fromm. But what about the players no one is talking about?
Every spring there are a couple of guys few people thought much of the year before who show some improvement and look like they can make a significant leap forward the next season. Of course, it’s the very nature of the beast that we won’t know who those guys are until Georgia has more than one practice, and probably not until after G-Day.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t take some educated guesses as to what players have the potential to come on strong this spring and get the fans chatting about them. So, here are a few Dawgs who could emerge in late April with higher standing than they have now.
Tyrique McGhee, CB
The biggest priority this spring for Georgia’s defense is to find a replacement for Maurice Smith at the Star — a.k.a. nickel — position, and McGhee, a rising sophomore, is one of the favorites to claim that role. The athletic corner played in all 13 games in 2016 but didn’t leave much of a mark on the stat sheet, with only 9 total tackles and a pass breakup.
McGhee is on the smaller side of what it seems Kirby Smart wants in a corner, measuring in at under 5-foot-10 and 183 pounds. But Smart has also praised McGhee in the past for his outstanding work ethic, calling him ‘one of the toughest freshmen I’ve ever been around‘ last fall. High praise, indeed. McGhee’s also incredibly athletic, so if he keeps up the hard work, I’d wager on him being named Smith’s replacement by the end of the spring.
Terry Godwin, WR
Godwin, a junior, is a rising former 5-star prospect who started four games and was Georgia’s second-leading receiver last season. Typically, this would make it difficult for Godwin to be classified as a sleeper. But because his play has not matched the incredible hype that was heaped on him when he came out of high school, lots of Georgia fans have labelled him a bust and forgotten he existed. That could be exactly what he needs to live up to his potential.
Between the hype surrounding the receivers in the recruiting class of 2017 and the expectation that players such as Isaac Nauta and Riley Ridley will be targeted more next season, Godwin has become the forgotten man, a new role for him. His first year, he was the hot shot 5-star player. His second, he was the former hot shot 5-star prospect ready to become his team’s top WR. His third year can be much more laid back. No one expects Godwin to be anything except a solid hand after a mediocre first two seasons.
Now that the pressure is off a bit — and now that his preferred position, the slot, is open after Isaiah McKenzie declared for the draft — maybe Godwin can loosen up, quit trying to live up to hype and just be the best player he can be. If he does that, I think the fans will be damn giddy with the results.
Chauncey Manac, OLB
There is no pressing need at outside linebacker in the immediate future, i.e. next season. Carter and Davin Bellamy will hold down the outside as one of the top OLB pairs in the SEC, if not the country. But both will be gone after next season, so even though Carter and Bellamy will be nearly every-down players, there is a need to blood the next crop.
Manac, who will be a redshirt freshman next season, looks to be the guy most likely to take Carter’s spot. He’s got the size to rush from the edge like Carter, as well as the strength. (Carter recently referred to Manac as ‘country strong.‘) At 6-3 and nearly 250 pounds, all the physical tools are there for him to be a fantastic edge rusher. The key was getting him used to the college game. Many recruits come in from high schools that have football programs with more money than some small colleges. Not Manac, who came from single-A Clinch County. With the physical gifts he has, time to learn the ins and outs of the college game may be all he needs to become a top player.
“He’s grown a lot — tremendously since he has stepped on campus. Just his body has changed,” Carter said, according to Jake Rowe of Dawgs247. “He’s become more used to the amount of work we put in. That’s the first part. That’s the toughest part.”
Red vs. Black
Georgia is trying something different with G-Day this season, pitting a red team vs. a black team in the annual spring scrimmage. Check out the video below to see which side gets to sport the coveted black shirts.
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) March 23, 2017
Georgia tennis’ Ellen Perez named SEC POTW
Junior Ellen Perez snagged her second career SEC Player of the Week honor!
Perez was vital in Georgia's two road victories last weekend. pic.twitter.com/LLkLGdpA4h
— Georgia W Tennis (@UGAWomensTennis) March 22, 2017
- Why Georgia is the SEC’s mystery team in 2017 (Edward Aschoff, ESPN)
- Injury risks make spring football a balancing act for coaches (Chip Towers, DawgNation)
- The curious case of impressive 4-star OLB recruit Quay Walker (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- Marshall Long to participate in spring practice but is starting out in limited role (Jason Butt, The Telegraph)
- In the end, Maurice Smith’s transfer from Alabama to Georgia paid off (Jason Butt, The Telegraph)
- Plenty of options for UGA at Star position (Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald)
- Cause of house fire that killed former UGA football star Quentin Moses, two others narrowed (Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald)
She’s having none of this Snapchat nonsense.
The dog was like nah pic.twitter.com/oaVBOM1q2U
— Best Vines (@TheFunnyVine) March 22, 2017