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Georgia offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer (69) during the 2021 G-Day Game on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (photo by Rob Davis)
Rob Davis

Preseason All-American teams show razor-thin margin between Georgia, Clemson

Three teams had four players appear on the Walter Camp Preseason All-American team that came out this week.

Two of those will meet to open the 2021 season in Charlotte, as Clemson will take on Georgia on Sept. 4.

The Bulldogs placed Jordan Davis, Jamaree Salyer, Jake Camarda and George Pickens all on the second team. Clemson had Justyn Ross and Bryan Bresee on the first team with Jordan McFadden and Myles Murphy earning selections on the second team.

With talent like that on the field, it’s easy to see why the Georgia-Clemson game is one of the most anticipated games of the season. There’s talent all over the field, not just those limited to the Preseason All-American list.

Of course, two of those names listed above still have questions about their availability for the first game of the season. Pickens tore his ACL back in March and almost certainly won’t be ready to go for the start the 2021 campaign. Late November feels like a much more likely return date for the star Georgia receiver.

Ross is still waiting to learn if he will be cleared to return to play after he missed the entire 2020 season following spinal surgery.

The talent comparisons between the two sides don’t just end there. They both have promising young quarterbacks who could find themselves on All-American lists at the end of the season in D.J. Uiagalelei and JT Daniels.

Related: Georgia football star talent goes above and beyond preseason All-American teams

The former started two games for Clemson last season and impressed in games against Boston College and Notre Dame. He threw for 781 yards and four touchdowns in those two games while replacing Trevor Lawrence. Now he’ll do it on a full-time basis.

The Bulldogs have shown a willingness to grab players out of the portal, as they’ve brought in Arik Gilbert, Tykee Smith and former Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick. Clemson hasn’t shown that same willingness to add the talent through the portal.

Clemson though hasn’t felt a need to do so and with good reason. The Tigers have made the College Football Playoff in each of the past six seasons. The Bulldogs meanwhile are still chasing, as they have just one College Football Playoff appearance since Smart took over.

Related: College Football Playoff expansion should help grow Georgia-Clemson rivalry

While the season opener could be a playoff preview, these two teams both have the talent to be factors at the end of the season. Even with an opening week loss.

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