The big winners from Georgia’s first 10 practices of the fall
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The big winner from each position group through first 10 Georgia football practices
Quarterback: Stetson Bennett
There are limited options here, and that’s before even considering that freshman quarterback D’Wan Mathis is not fully cleared for contact. So between Jake Fromm and Bennett, we’re going to pick Bennett.
Fromm is clearly still going to be the starter, but Georgia head coach Kirby Smart didn’t mention his name once when he met with the media following Saturday’s scrimmage.
Bennett, on the other hand, got some real praise from Smart.
“I thought Stetson, he executed the offense,” Smart said. “He executed well. He moved around the pocket well. He did some good things. Third-down period, I want to say he went six or seven of eight when it was twos on twos. Converted a lot of third downs.”
Running back: Zamir White
No player has been talked about or had more written about them than White this month. Most of that is due to the fact that no one outside of those on the Georgia football team has really seen what White looks like as he works his way back from his second ACL injury.
But another reason why is because just about every Georgia player has praised White for his performance thus far.
“I literally remember the first play of this year during camp and he burst through a hole and me, William Poole, all looked at each other like ‘Dang, he was really moving on them,’” cornerback Eric Stokes said.
The Georgia coaching staff will be cautious using White this fall. But the redshirt freshman hasn’t been wearing knee braces during the media viewing periods in practice, which could be a great sign moving forward for his health.
Wide receiver: George Pickens
Even your grandmother who doesn’t have WiFi has probably seen Pickens’ catch from over the weekend. The freshman wide receiver has also gotten a comparison to A.J. Green from junior safety Richard LeCounte.
Pickens still hasn’t worked his way to the front of the wide receiver line just yet, but his preseason fireworks have made it very clear opposing defenses are going to have to keep an eye on him when he steps on the field.
Tight end: Charlie Woerner
It’s evident the team values Woerner as a leader. He may not have the upside that a White or Pickens does for this team in 2019, but no player on offense will have a high floor than Woerner. Given how James Coley has liked to feature tight ends in the past, he could put up numbers that top what Isaac Nauta did a season ago.
Offensive line: Trey Hill
While much of the offensive line talk focuses on the battle at right guard between Cade Mays and Ben Cleveland, it’s actually the lack of competition at another position that catches our attention.
Not much has been said about Hill this fall, and that seems to be a strong indication things are going very well for the sophomore at center. Hill impressed when he was inserted into the lineup last year, and it looks like that has only continued into August of 2019.
Defensive line: Travon Walker
There are a number of options to go with here. Senior Tyler Clark and junior Malik Herring really seem like they have worked their way onto the first-team unit. Cleveland also added sophomore Jordan Davis is in the best shape of his life. That’s a big compliment, given the concerns about his conditioning during his Georgia career.
It’s actually a player a little further down the depth chart. But it might not take freshman Travon Walker long to rise up to the top of the defensive line. A number of players and coaches have praised Walker’s athletic ability so far this fall.
When asked if any defensive linemen had stood out so far, offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson did not hesitate to bring up Walker’s name.
“Very athletic and rangy guy,” Wilson said. “Just super athletic.”
Outside linebacker: Azeez Ojulari
This group has already seen some attrition as Brenton Cox left the program and transferred to Florida. Normally, losing a former 5-star prospect would be significant. But the emergence of Ojulari offsets any loss that Cox represents.
Ojulari made a big name for himself this spring, and because of that, he vaunted to the top of the depth chart. He’s held onto that spot despite getting pushed from the likes of Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson.
“He’s a big closer,” defensive back Eric Stokes said. “We need somebody to close and he’s going to hold it down and do whatever he’s going to do.”
If you had said that one member of the 2018 Georgia signing class was going to be starting at the Jack position for Georgia at the start of 2019 season, Adam Anderson or Cox would’ve been the guess. But Ojulari’s work ethic has made it clear that the redshirt freshman from Marietta, Ga., is that dude.
Inside linebacker: Tae Crowder
Monty Rice is one of the veteran leaders of the defense. And we’ve spent a lot of time talking about Nakobe Dean, and rightfully so. If you said that Dean should be the big winner from the inside linebacker position, I would not argue with you about it.
But Smart indicated on Saturday that there are three guys taking first-team reps at the inside linebacker spots. Dean and Rice are those first two guys. But it’s the third guy, Crowder, who we’re going to give some love to.
Crowder wasn’t the mega-recruit that Dean was as a prospect. In fact, Crowder is one of the three members from Mark Richt’s final signing class still on the team. But to Crowder’s credit, he’s been able to work his way onto the field, even at the expense of some highly recruited players.
Defensive back: Richard LeCounte
Following the conclusion of the 2018 season, there was a lot of speculation that Otis Reese may end up taking LeCounte’s starting safety spot.
But after the first 10 practices, it’s been made pretty clear that LeCounte has answered the critics and cemented his spot in the starting lineup. Reese may still find his way onto the field in a meaningful way this fall. But it won’t have anything to do with LeCounte taking a step back.
The junior safety continues to improve his game, much like how he made a significant leap from his freshman to sophomore season.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Own the East: Jake Fromm working to gain chemistry with new WRs
- Georgia football Practice 10 report: Jake Fromm sharp, D’Andre Swift late
- Sports Illustrated names Uga college football’s best mascot
- Georgia football podcast: Opinions regarding James Coley’s impact on UGA’s offense continue to evolve
- New position coaches Todd Hartley and Charlton Warren share similar traits to Kirby Smart
- REEL TALK on UGA commit Josh Braun: What does a former NCAA All-American see on the film?
- ESPN’s ranking of Jake Fromm shows national opinion still split on Georgia quarterback
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