ATHENS — Georgia used a bunch of double tight-end sets last week. That wasn’t shocking. The surprise came with who was the second tight end.
Starter Jeb Blazevich has long been the first-teamer, having supplanted veteran Jay Rome early last season. Now another freshman is making a depth-chart run at Rome: This time it’s Jackson Harris, who played a number of snaps against Louisiana-Monroe in the jumbo package, with Blazevich lined up on the other side.
Coach Mark Richt was asked if Harris was just preferred in those sets, or whether Harris had jumped Rome on the depth chart.
“We plan on playing all three of those tight ends,” Richt said. “We played a lot of two tight-end sets. We did some two tight-end, two-back sets, and some two tight-end, one-back sets. So the tight ends got to roll in pretty good.
“Jackson’s had a really good camp and he’s earned a right to play. We’ll see Jay, too, but (Harris) has done a good job for us.”
Harris was indeed taking some second-team snaps in practice leading up to the season, with Rome third-team. Harris, listed at 6-foot-6 and 247 pounds, was a four-star recruit out of Columbia, Tenn., which is about 45 miles south of Nashville.
Harris enrolled last January at Georgia, so he’s had awhile to get acclimated and learn the system.
“He showed that he’s a great worker,” Blazevich said. “He showed that he’s dedicated. He’s dedicated to the team, he’s just dedicated to getting better. He really cares about the details to the game. I think he’s gonna be a tremendous player.”
Rome, a fifth-year senior, has 30 career catches, but has battled foot problems the last couple years. But he said this spring that they were behind him.
Either way, coaches and teammates are very high on Harris, who nearly made a great sideline grab last Saturday on a ball that quarterback Greyson Lambert was throwing out of bounds.
“I see a lot of potential for (Jackson),” senior linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “He’s a big cat, can easily put on another 20 or 30 pounds, and still be able to dominate. He’s got great hands. He’s a big body and I feel like he works his hardest out there.”