Kirby Smart: Demetris Robertson doesn’t get free pass into starting lineup

Georgia football-Demetris Robertson doesn't get free pass into starting lineup-Georgia Bulldogs
Kirby Smart said senior wideout Jayson Stanley deserves more playing time based on the way he has practiced and performed on special teams.

ATHENS — Just because Demetris Robertson is now eligible to play this season doesn’t mean he’s suddenly going to be Georgia’s premier wide receiver. First, he has to prove he’s good enough to crack the rotation.

That’s according to Georgia coach Kirby Smart, he spent nearly half of his allotted time following the Bulldogs’ scrimmage Saturday discussing the newly-eligible wide receiver from Savannah by way of California.

“I’m going to be honest with you, there’s a lot of competition in that receiver room,” Smart said. “I know y’all have got the 5-star syndrome, but there’s a lot of guys that are not 5-stars that are competing every day. I’m proud the way Demetris has competed, but there’s a lot of guys out there competing. … So there’s going to be good competition in that room.”

In the immediate, Robertson’s addition is a welcomed relief because Terry Godwin — Georgia’s returning receiving leader — remains sidelined with a knee injury. Freshman Kearis Jackson (hamstring) was also had to sit out.

Meanwhile, Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley proved last season they deserve to be targeted. And Smart said several of the less heralded players in the receiver corps have made strides and deserve more playing time.

“Jayson Stanley and Tyler Simmons, those two guys, they have worked their tails off,” Smart said. “They were dominant special teams players last year. This spring and so far this fall, they’ve really been good wideouts and special teams players.”

But Smart said the Bulldogs have liked what they have seen from Robertson so far.

“He’s a good wideout,” Smart said. “He was a track guy in high school. He ran a lot of races against Nate McBride and Mecole. That’s how I recruited those guys. They were all around the same track meets in around the same areas. So he’s got good speed. He’s bright. He’s picked the offense up. We just kind of let him go out there and play and he’s naturally picked things up and did well.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound sophomore had 837 yards receiving on 57 catches in 14 games at Cal, with 50 of those catches coming his freshman season. He scored a total of 8 touchdowns, including a 34-yard run last season before being sidelined with what was reported as a sports hernia injury.

Robertson was sidelined after two games and then underwent offseason surgery. He was granted a medical redshirt and now appears 100 percent healthy with the Bulldogs.

Smart was asked if Robertson gives Georgia another deep threat.

“I don’t know; he’s been here for a few practices,” Smart said. “… He’s playing in the SEC now. There’s guys just as fast as him out there. In this league, you find out real quick when you get bump and run every down when you play South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida, Auburn, they’re going to bump and run you every down. That’s not exactly where he came from. …

“He’s done a great job of competing. I’m very pleased where he is. I want him to continue to work, develop, learn the offense and help us every way he can.”

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