ATHENS — It’s either a sign of great recruiting, or a cause to temper expectations, or both: Georgia’s two-deep depth chart as the season begins includes nine true freshmen.
Only one is a projected starter, which is the good news for the Bulldogs. But six are on defense, where they are poised to play a lot.
“There will be a bunch,” coach Mark Richt said when asked how many freshmen he expected to play on Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe. “Between the scrimmage snaps and the special team snaps, there will be a bunch. I don’t want to sit here and count them, but there will definitely be a bunch.”
On defense, Rico McGraw is listed as a potential starter at one cornerback spot, along with sophomore Malkom Parrish. When not playing cornerback, McGraw is a favorite to start at the star position, which is the nickel-back spot.
“Rico has taken the majority of his snaps at corner and he is a talented guy, no doubt,” Richt said of the Nashville native, who at one point was committed to Alabama. “He has good size, good speed and athleticism. You have to have a certain level of maturity to compete that young and he takes that very seriously and works very hard at it.”
Three other freshmen are listed as second-teamers in the secondary: Juwuan Briscoe at cornerback, and Jonathan Abram and Jarvis Wilson at both safety spots.
But the biggest impact is expected to come from Trent Thompson, the five-star recruit who is listed as a co-second teamer at defensive tackle, along with senior James DeLoach.
Thompson may not start on Saturday, but he’s expected to contribute plenty this season.
DaQuan Hawkins, another true freshman, is listed as a co-second teamer at nose tackle, along with sophomore John Atkins.
As for the offense, the only true freshmen are all at one spot: Receiver.
The Bulldogs listed three receiver spots, and Michael Chigbu, Terry Godwin and Jayson Stanley are each second-teamers, behind a veteran. Considering that the plan is to use a rotation of six-to-eight receivers, that means those three are likely to see action right away.
“Oh yeah, they gotta be able to play,” senior receiver Malcolm Mitchell said. “We’ve got a young group. So freshmen will be a part of that.”