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George Pickens absurd catch emerges as top storyline following first Georgia football scrimmage
On a weekend where running back Zamir White didn’t just look good but also incredibly physical, he somehow wasn’t the player every Georgia fan was talking about. That distinction would belong to freshman wide receiver George Pickens.
Being the first 5-star wide receiver to sign with Georgia out of high school in over a decade, Pickens entered the program with plenty of hype. And given there is a rather large hole at the wide receiver position, there is the expectation to see him produce early on.
Those expectations have only risen following the absurd catch he made during Saturday’s scrimmage.
Video of Pickens’ absurd grab first leaked onto to Instagram before Parrish Walton shared it with the masses on Twitter. The message board chatter was buzzing about Pickens’ grab prior to the video leaking out.
After seeing the catch, it’s easy to see why.
Here’s the GIF in case it’s pulled. pic.twitter.com/qgNE3fsiL9
— Parrish Walton (@ParrishWalton) August 11, 2019
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was asked specifically about Pickens’ catch on Saturday — prior to video of it emerging — and attempted to downplay it.
“George was out there and has been catching the ball every day,” Smart said. “But so was Dom (Dominick Blaylock), Tyler Simmons, D-Rob (Demetris Robertson), Matt Landers, Cager, all those guys were.”
This isn’t the first time that Pickens has turned heads this camp, as safety Richard LeCounte compared the freshman from Hoover, Ala., to former Georgia great AJ Green. In Green’s freshman season, he finished with 963 receiving yards on 56 catches. If Pickens is able to replicate anything close to that, Georgia fans would be doing backflips. Or at least whatever Pickens did to come down with that catch during the scrimmage.
But before the Pickens hype train completely leaves the station, it’s worth looking at another 5-star wide receiver who received a lot of hype before ever playing a down for Georgia.
This time a year ago, Demetris Roberston was being talked about as a potential difference-maker for the Georgia football team. In his freshman season at Cal, he caught 50 passes for 767 yards. His sophomore season was cut short due to an injury, but it was only logical to assume he would improve in Georgia’s offense.
Instead, he finished the year with a total of zero catches. He never was able to crack Georgia’s rotation at wide receiver, and that kept him from seeing the field.
Smart was asked about Robertson this weekend as well and what the difference is between where he stands in 2019 compared to 2018.
“Last year he had a plethora of guys. He had three draft picks in front of him,” Smart said. “And he was coming in not knowing an offense. Now he’s got three draft picks removed, and he’s the guy that’s out there playing the slot, catching the balls, and he did some nice things today. He’s got to continue to work and improve.”
The three wide receivers Smart was referring to are Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley and Terry Godwin. All three are projected to make NFL rosters this year, showing the kind of talent Georgia had on its roster a season ago.
I’m not going to say Georgia has that same type of wide receiver talent on this year’s team, especially after the dismissal of Jeremiah Holloman. But there are still a number of talented wide receivers competing with Pickens for playing time.
Robertson, to his credit, has been working with the first team this fall. Despite not living up to the massive expectations placed on him last fall, he’s kept his head down and gotten better as a football player.
It’s going to be important to remember that in the instance that Pickens doesn’t end up becoming the second-coming of Green this year.
Maybe it’s time to become a Chicago Bears fan
Georgia has a number of alums in the NFL. Matthew Stafford is a star quarterback for the Lions. Todd Gurley, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb are all expected to lead their respective teams in rushing during the 2019 season.
But have you noticed how many former Bulldogs are now on the Chicago Bears?
Leonard Floyd first joined the club in the 2016 season when he was taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Roquan Smith joined the club a season ago, as did wide receiver Javon Wims. Smith was a big reason why the Bears had the best defense in the league a season ago and were able to make the playoffs.
Then in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Bears selected another Bulldog, as Riley Ridley went in the fourth round.
Over the weekend, the Bears highlighted all the Georgia players on their roster by providing a number of highlight clips from training camp so far.
Georgia boys ➡️ Chicago Bears pic.twitter.com/PwWlhROzqh
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 11, 2019
Smith and Floyd are once again expected to anchor one of the top defenses in the league. And if Ridley and Wims assist quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the passing game, Chicago could easily emerge as one of the best teams in the NFL.
The Bears do still have one glaring hole on their team and that comes at the kicker spot. Chicago’s 2018 season ended when former Auburn kicker Cody Parker doinked a potential game-winning kick off the upright. The Bears have cycled through kickers this offseason in hopes of finding a possible replacement.
Though if Chicago’s kicking woes continue, it would be a perfect landing spot for Rodrigo Blankenship in 2020. He has become one of the best kickers in all of college football in his time at Georgia. It’s very easy to envision Blankenship possibly being another Bulldog in Chicago this time next year.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football intriguing at outside linebacker, packages pending
- WATCH: Zamir White highlights Georgia football scrimmage footage
- Own the East: UGA’s lauded offensive line still has areas in which it can improve
- UGA game day: What’s new this season, and what’s still on the wish list
- Kirby Smart updates back-up quarterback battle
- Injury update: Projected starting CB Tyson Campbell ‘dinged up’
- 5 things from fired-up Kirby Smart: Ones ‘lethargic’ in the opening scrimmage
Dawgs on Twitter
Nakobe Dean is really, really smart.
I also think he might be really good, really soon: https://t.co/RaOxauLOS0
— Connor Riley (@Kconnorriley) August 10, 2019
Campus Move In: ☑️
— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) August 10, 2019
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) August 12, 2019
Mecole Hardman turned on the jets 🏃♂️💨
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 11, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
Mickie before and after telling him he's handsome. pic.twitter.com/eYOIoxouaL
— Cute Emergency (@CuteEmergency) August 11, 2019