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Dominick Blaylock looked to be closer to his old self at G-Day for Georgia back in April. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Dominick Blaylock, Tate Ratledge among the most interesting players entering first Georgia football scrimmage

The Georgia Bulldogs will have their first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday, taking place inside the friendly confines of Sanford Stadium.

Georgia began practicing in full pads on Tuesday and have held close to 10 practices already. None will be bigger than Saturday, as it offers the first real good-on-good opportunity for the team.

A few players have already made some moves as far as climbing the depth chart, but Saturday offers a big opportunity not just for those hoping to ascend into a starting role, but those who missed last season to show that like John Wick, they are indeed back.

Below are five players we’re interested in hearing how they play in the key scrimmage. Georgia’s first game is just three weeks away, as the Bulldogs open against the Oregon Ducks on Sept. 3 in Atlanta, Ga.

Tate Ratledge

The quote: “Missing obviously other than four snaps of the Clemson game, missed the whole year and that’s going to take a toll on him mentally. He is still a young player. It’s not like he is Jamaree Salyer and older players, so mentally he has to work back into it. He has all of the attributes you want, he just has to get himself back going again. I don’t care how much you are in meetings, I don’t care how much you are watching, you are not actually executing. If you shoot a rifle, you can’t watch people shoot the gun, you have to actually shoot it. He has to get out there and doing. So getting him out there helps.” -- Offensive coordinator Todd Monken

The why: Ratledge clearly has the inside track at the right guard spot. He’s been taking first-team reps throughout camp. How he plays on his surgically repaired foot will go a long way in detailing whether or not he can be relied upon throughout the regular season at the spot. Ratledge shined in Georgia’s scrimmages last fall, only for him to break said foot on the opening drive of the season for Georgia.

Xavier Truss, Dylan Fairchild, Warren Ericson and others will be competing at the guard spots, with Devin Willock being the perceived leader for the opening at left guard.

Related: Tate Ratledge might be the most exciting option at guard, but he is not the only one for Georgia football

Dominick Blaylock

The quote: “How long is that going to take to recover on the mental side, forget the physical side, and just being able to get out there and go. Over time he has. Gotten to the point where he feels more and more comfortable. He’s always been a crafty route runner. He’s probably more crafty than he is fast. He has a knack. Some guys just have a knack for getting open and making plays and contested catches and you can see that every day that he is out there.” -- Monken

The why: We already saw the Georgia wide receiver room take a hit on Friday when it was learned that Arian Smith had surgery on his ankle. Injuries were a massive concern for Georgia last season at this position.

Like Smith, Blaylock himself has battled injury throughout his Georgia career. The junior seems to be in good form at the moment, impressing early in drills for Georgia. Blaylock really impressed as a freshman but that was back in 2019. With Smith out for the foreseeable future, Blaylock has a chance to carve out a bigger role for himself in the Georgia passing offense this year.

Another name to watch for would be Dillon Bell, a freshman wide receiver. Whether it be Blaylock, George Pickens or AD Mitchell, Georgia has routinely found first-year contributors at the position. Bell only just arrived this summer but seems to be in a good position to earn some reps.

Related: Georgia veteran receivers counted on, ranks thinned with fastest player sidelined

Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins

The quote: “I think the biggest thing is, when he went into the spring, he really attacked his body and his ability to be a guy around the edge. That’s a battle you take as a big guy every single day all throughout the summer and into fall camp. The biggest thing is when you’re leaner, you can be quicker and more explosive, it’s beneficial. That’s at every position. He’s really done that, and we want that in position whether it’s him or Tramel Walthour or Mykel Williams, when they’re out there we want them to be guys that are able to be quick, athletic, lean, guys that can make plays in terms of pursuit but also go inside. But his growth, especially in the spring when he leaned himself up, it helped him.” -- Georgia defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann

The why: Ingram-Dawkins was one of the revelations of spring practice. He firmly thrust himself into the conversation to be the starter for Georgia at defensive end. Can he follow that up and really lock down a starting spot?

Competing alongside him will be senior Tramel Walthour and freshman Mykel Williams. The latter might have as much upside as anyone on the team but this will be his first Sanford Stadium scrimmage. If Georgia can find a reliable option to pair with Zion Logue and Jalen Carter, the Bulldogs could have one of the top defensive lines in the sport sooner rather than later after losing three first-round draft picks.

Smael Mondon

The quote: “Smael Mondon is as good an athlete as I’ve seen. He has to increase his physicality, his toughness. He missed spring because of a shoulder surgery. But he’s put on some good, solid weight. Played a lot of snaps on special teams. Core linebackers get valuable experience on special teams before they’re the featured guy.” -- Kirby Smart

The why: It’s rare for Smart to come right out of the gate and praise a player in the way he did Mondon at his opening press conference. On the one hand, it speaks to the belief in the second-year player.

Related: Kirby Smart praises Georgia football linebacker Smael Mondon: ‘As good an athlete as I’ve seen’

On the other, it firmly applies pressure for him to play big in the scrimmage. There’s significant competition at the inside linebacker spot, with Jamon Dumas-Johnson seeming to have his hands on one of the spots. As for the other starter, Mondon is competing alongside Trezmen Marshall, Rian Davis, Xavian Sorey and Jalon Walker. Marshall ran with the first team during the spring but is dealing with a calf issue at the moment that could further open the door for others.

Nyland Green

The quote: “Kamari Lassiter and Nyland Green. Have been working out there. We dual train a lot of guys... if you go back to the very beginning Chris Smith started out at corner and ended up becoming a safety, so we try to dual train everybody. That competition is well underway. It gets changed up every day we try to mix and match them. We don’t just have one guy running in any group, so they get to go against different wideouts every day. Until we get to the scrimmage see who shows up when it’s live. When coaches are off the field and its live tackle, we’ll know more then.” -- Glenn Schumann

The why: Kelee Ringo is an obvious starter at one of the cornerback spots. Based on Smart’s previous comments, it doesn’t seem like the trio of Daylen Everette, Jaheim Sinlgetary or Julian Humphrey are in a position to really have a go at the other starting spot. That leaves it down to Green and Kamari Lassiter.

The belief has been that Lassiter is ahead of Green in terms of starting. Lassiter had a very strong fall camp last season, while Green’s first season was far from ideal. But the rumblings out of practice have been that Green has really made a move to push for playing time. How they fare tomorrow is absolutely going to have a big say in who replaces Derion Kendrick in Georgia’s starting lineup

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