Welcome to your one-stop shop for UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today we look at a burning question for Georgia heading into this season, find out the players who will represent the Dawgs at SEC Media Days, and rank the best safeties UGA will face in 2017
Who are the best safeties UGA will face in 2017?
We conclude the defensive side of the ball in our position-by-position look at the best players Georgia will face this season with the safeties. You know the drill by now. Let’s go.
5. Todd Kelly Jr., Tennessee — A veteran of the Tennessee secondary, Kelly has progressed steadily in each of his three seasons in Knoxville. He finished with 71 tackles in 2016, including 10 against Georgia and 11 against Alabama and had two picks, including one in the Vols’ big win over Florida. As a senior, he’ll be the anchor of the Tennessee secondary.
4. D.J. Smith, South Carolina — Smith came to South Carolina as a highly-touted cornerback, and he spent two seasons at the position before switching to safety. It was definitely the right move, as he made 80 tackles last season, including two games with 12 tackles. Part of his hefty production stems from opposing offenses spending a lot of time in the Gamecocks secondary, so if his numbers drop in 2017, it might not be a bad thing for South Carolina.
3. Marcell Harris, Florida — Harris has been overshadowed by higher profile members of Florida’s secondary over the last few seasons, even though he led the team in tackles last year (73). But that should come to an end in 2017. Along with Nick Washington, he’ll make up one of the best safety pairs in the SEC.
2. Tray Matthews, Auburn — If there is a player who will forever draw the ire of Georgia fans, it’s Tray Matthews. He played a role in the Prayer at Jordan-Hare while still a Bulldog, then split for the Plains after he was kicked off the team. In his time at Auburn, he’s lived up to the potential he showed while in Athens, developing into one of the best safeties in the conference. He led the Tigers with 76 tackles last season, and could do the same again in 2017.
1. Mike Edwards, Kentucky — If you’ve kept up with these rankings the last few weeks (and if you haven’t, just look below), you’ll know Kentucky is full of players. Edwards was an All-SEC safety last year, finishing the year with 100 tackles, sixth-most in the conference. He also broke up 8 passes, intercepted 3 others, and had 5 1/2 tackles for loss. Between Edwards, Jordan Jones, Denzil Ware, and a handful of other talented defenders, the Wildcat defense is going to be legit this season.
Chubb, Michel, Smith to attend SEC Media Days
SEC Media Days are next week. On Wednesday, the league announced the three players that will represent each school at the event. The triumvirate of Bulldogs attending with Kirby Smart shouldn’t surprise anyone: Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Roquan Smith.
Here’s who will attend for every team in the conference.
The full list of SEC players who will attend SEC Media Days pic.twitter.com/vAxPFT4orw
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) July 5, 2017
Burning for you
Edward Aschoff of ESPN asked a burning question for every team in the SEC East. Here’s Georgia’s: “Will the Bulldogs have a more threatening passing game this fall?”
There’s no question that Jacob Eason has all the talent to be a special player, but his right arm needs help. For starters, he needs to get more comfortable with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney’s offense and more comfortable reading opposing defenses. That improved this spring, but Eason also needs his receivers to stretch the field better.
What was left out of Aschoff’s analysis is something that pertains to every facet of UGA’s offense and is what I believe to be the Bulldogs’ most burning question heading into 2017: Can the offensive line improve and protect what should be one of the best all-around backfields in college football?
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Basketball (@UGA_WBB) July 5, 2017
— UGA Football Live (@UGAfootballLive) July 5, 2017
- Georgia’s most important players of 2017: Why Nick Chubb is a notch above (Seth Emerson, DawgNation)
- Pressure building on Georgia football to win big (Chip Towers, DawgNation)
- How does 5-star QB Justin Fields feel about silent commitments? (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- Georgia icon Herschel Walker receives street named after him in hometown (Corey Knapp, DawgNation)
- Archie Manning loves size, skill set of Georgia QB Jacob Eason (Dan Mathews, Gridiron Now)
- Three keys for Georgia with SEC Media Days on the horizon (Brandon Sudge, The Telegraph)
- A Bulldog Connection In Need of Recognition (Patrick Garbin, UGA Sports)
- UGASports.com’s Top Four Bulldog Safeties and Roverbacks (Dave McMahon and Patrick Garbin, UGA Sports)
- Mother of James Cook opens up on UGA, FSU (Kipp Adams, Dawgs247)
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Puppers at training – very good teamwork at the end 12/10 for all watch out Ronaldo
(via IG/arrowwoodretrievers) pic.twitter.com/D5hy5FGfdf
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) July 5, 2017