UGA’s mammoth-sized offensive line class could be a program cornerstone
Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. In today’s edition, we look at the standing of Georgia’s offensive line class after another commitment. We’re gonna need a bigger … bulb?
The big get bigger
Georgia continued to gain steam as it closes out the Class of 2017. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs added another pledge when 3-star JUCO offensive tackle D’Marcus Hayes out of Gulf Coast Community College committed following a visit last weekend. He plans to enroll in January.
— D'Marcus Hayes® (@DMarcushayes78) December 12, 2016
This is a huge get for the Bulldogs, both in a literal and figurative sense. Hayes is a giant, measuring 6-foot-5 and weighing more than 300 pounds. With a few years of experience at the collegiate level, even if it was the JUCO level, Hayes will be a candidate to fill one of the multiple starting roles that will be vacated at the end of the season. And although many recruitniks won’t think much of him because of his 3-star rating and JUCO background, Hayes is a low-risk, high-reward prospect who will at the very least add numbers, and size, to a unit that is looking for players to step up and claim starting spots.
Here’s what his head coach, Chad Huff, had to say about him, according to Jeff Sentell of Dawg Nation.
“He has the footwork and athleticism to be a left tackle right away,” Huff said. “He needs to continue to build on his upper-body strength and continue to develop every day. He knows that. He’s got the potential to be a really good left tackle.”
“(UGA’s coaches) like his overall athleticism,” Huff added. “They also bring up his potential and feel his best football is still ahead of him. They tell me they just don’t see kids like that with the athleticism that he has.”
As anyone who watched much Georgia football this season can tell you, UGA’s biggest weakness was the offensive line, specifically its lack of size. I am not a fan of the offense Jim Chaney and Kirby Smart are trying to run at Georgia. But if it is going to have any chance to work, Georgia will need to beef up in the trenches.
That process was long underway before the commitment of Hayes. As I noted earlier this season, Georgia’s starting offensive line had an average weight of 295 pounds, the smallest in the SEC. That doesn’t fly with Chaney’s power run, as was so evident this season. Sam Pittman and the rest of the coaches recruiting linemen have started to rectify this deficiency with commits from the likes of 4-star prospect Andrew Thomas (310 pounds), 4-star recruit Netori Johnson (348), 3-star talent Justin Shaffer (356) and 4-star prospect D’Antne Demery (319). With the addition of the 320-pound Hayes, an offensive line featuring those giants would weigh an average of 330 pounds, almost 15 pounds more than the biggest line in the SEC this season. That’s not even mentioning still uncommitted Pace Academy 4-star target Jamaree Salyer, who seems a good bet to play between the hedges.
And Georgia could still get bigger on the offensive line. MUCH bigger. Five-star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson (6-7, 350 pounds) took his official visit to Georgia last weekend and announced shortly after that he is moving his planned decision date from Christmas Day to Dec. 16. Michigan and Alabama have been Nos. 1 and 2 for Wilson throughout most of the process, but it seems like a good sign for Georgia that he moved up the date. Right now, Georgia has a fantastic offensive line class. If it can pull off a coup and snag Wilson, it will be the biggest and baddest in America, no doubt. And if you’re trying to build a team that will hit the defense in the mouth and run the ball with no repercussions, it’s the kind of class that can be the cornerstone of a program.
Georgia to wear red at Liberty Bowl
FYI for those of you wondering about the uniform situation at the Liberty Bowl.
If you were holding out hope that Georgia would go black jerseys in Liberty Bowl, nope. Bulldogs will wear red. TCU going with white.
— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) December 12, 2016
DT Toby Johnson promoted to Vikings’ 53-man roster
Yet another former Bulldog can count himself among the ranks of Dawgs in the NFL. After a few seasons floating between practice squads, Toby Johnson will get a chance on the Minnesota Vikings’ 53-man squad. He was promoted from the practice squad after Sharrif Floyd was placed on injured reserve.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 12, 2016
He was never a star in Athens, but Johnson was a solid contributor for two seasons at Georgia. It’s good to see him finally catching a break in the league. You should check out this story from the Vikings official site on Johnson’s special relationship with the host family he had at Hutchinson Community College. And, just for fun, check out this diving interception Johnson made in the preseason. Here’s to many more like it.
- Kirby Smart shares Lane Kiffin memories, what Jacob Eason must do next at Liberty Bowl press conference (Connor Riley, Dawg Nation)
- Jacob Eason has chance for self-reflection, improvement during bowl practices (Jason Butt, Macon Telegraph)
- Areas where UGA can improve during bowl practices (Jake Rowe, CBS Sports)
- Georgia opens bowl practices Wednesday with an eye on developing younger players (Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald)
- Bowl trip brings bonuses to UGA football coaching staff (Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald)
- Deangelo Gibbs recaps brief official visit to Georgia (Brandon Sudge, Macon Telegraph)
- RB Toneil Carter has remained one loyal Bulldog (Chip Towers, Dawg Nation)
- Next Generation: QB Jake Fromm quite a catch for Georgia (Chip Towers, Dawg Nation)
- Video: Mark Fox speaks ahead of the game against Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday (Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald)
Yo, watch your feet, little dude.
This is Seamus. He's very bad at entering pools. Still a very good boy tho 11/10 https://t.co/hfi264QwYM
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) December 12, 2016