WATCH: 4 things we know and don’t know about the Georgia football program entering the 2020 season
The Georgia Bulldogs figures to have one of the most talented teams in the country for the 2020 season. We know this based on what the Bulldogs bring back from the 2019 team and what the Bulldogs brought in this offseason.
In addition to the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, Georgia added two transfer quarterbacks in Jamie Newman and JT Daniels, to go along with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
But there still are some lingering unknowns when it comes to what Georgia has as well for the 2020 season. DawgNation’s Cover 4 team, made up of Brandon Adams, Mike Griffith, Jeff Sentell and Connor Riley all got into the things they felt confident about in Georgia’s team, as well as what is still unknown for this coming year.
What we know: The offense will be different in 2020. What we don’t: What happens if JT Daniels does get immediate eligibility for this coming season.
Given all the turnover Georgia’s offense had from the 2019 team, the Bulldogs will look drastically different on that side of the ball. That doesn’t necessarily mean better than 2019, but Georgia needs it to be given how much the group struggled down the stretch.
For a while, it was widely presumed that Newman would be the guy to lead the offense. The Wake Forest transfer has gotten a ton of hype this offseason, some of it justifiable. But the discussion around Newman changed when Georgia also brought in Daniels from USC. Daniels was a much-hyped recruit coming out of high school but had his struggles in his freshman season at USC. He is also coming off a torn ACL that ended his sophomore season in the opening half.
If Daniels is granted eligibility by the NCAA, it means that Georgia will have two talented quarterback options who have started double-digit games at a Power Five level. Given how the Justin Fields-Jake Fromm situation turned out, it will be interesting to see which direction Monken and Smart elect to go.
What we know: George Pickens will be Georgia’s most talented skill player. What we don’t: Who becomes Georgia’s No. 2 receiver.
With Pickens ending the 2019 season in dominant fashion, it gave the Bulldogs a clear answer about who their most talented skill player was going to be in 2020. Pickens will have to continue to grow both on the field and off of it if he’s going to live up to the lofty hype bestowed upon him, but he’s also a known commodity in an offense that doesn’t have a lot of those.
As for what we don’t know with the wide receiver core, it’s who emerges alongside Pickens. Wide receiver still figures to be an issue this season but Georgia has gone a long way in the past two recruiting cycles to address that.
Had Dominick Blaylock not torn his ACL in the SEC championship game against LSU, he’d be a pretty clear choice. Alas, he’s still working his way back from the injury. He’s expected to be ready to go for the start of the season, but it won’t be known how much he can handle until he gets onto the field.
Georgia also signed five freshman wide receivers in the 2020 class, with three of them being top-100 overall prospects. Pickens and Blaylock gave a blueprint for how freshman wide receivers can be productive in Georgia’s offense and the likes of Jermaine Burton, Marcus Rosemy and Arian Smith will look to follow in those.
Add in veterans like Demetris Robertson, Kearis Jackson and Matt Landers and the Bulldogs have much better options in the group than they did a season ago.
What we know: The running back position has capable options. What we don’t: What Georgia’s kicker position will be like
At these two positions, Georgia has to replace two of the best players of the Kirby Smart era in running back D’Andre Swift and kicker Rodrigo Blankenship.
As far as the running backs, there are a number of highly touted options who are ready to take on a bigger role this season. Between Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh and incoming freshmen Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards there’s some solid potential at the position.
But the same confidence can’t be held at the kicker position. Blankenship, who won the Lou Groza Award last season, will be replaced by either 2020 signee Jared Zirkel or Jake Camarda. At the college level, those two have kicked a combined zero field goals. For a team that ranked third in the country in field goals attempted in 2019, that has to be a big worry for the Bulldogs. Especially given the Bulldogs could have tough, close contests against Alabama and Florida.
What we know: Georgia will have a very good defense: What we don’t: Can it be the best defense in the country
As is almost always the case under Kirby Smart, Georgia seems positioned to have a very stout defense. The Bulldogs ranked first in rushing defense and scoring defense last season and bring back eight starters from the unit, along with a number of contributors who seem ready for bigger roles.
But the question the DawgNation panel asked is just how elite can this group be? Georgia ranked 46th in sacks last season and 60th in tackles for loss. While the raw numbers were an improvement year over year, there is still room for Georgia to improve and catch up to the likes of Clemson and Ohio State.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football podcast: 3 steps to make UGA the country’s best defense
- Xavier Worthy: Can the speedy WR be the next link in the California-UGA pipeline?
- 3 things on Jamie Newman: Quick read of quarterback’s insider interview
- Why players like Malik Herring are an important part of building a championship culture
- Georgia football podcast: Zamir White won’t have to wait long for big opportunity at UGA
- Georgia football players Jamie Newman, Jamaree Salyer, Richard LeCounte embracing return to workouts