ATHENS — Another week, another Georgia receiver with a breakout game, this time Tyler Simmons.
Simmons, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior from Powder Springs, had two catches for 81 yards and a touchdown along with a 49-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, really, just knowing all of my hard work is paying off and all those little things the coach emphasizes is all coming together,” Simmons said after the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs beat UMass, 66-27.
“The catch was a little unexpected, the run, I knew I was getting it.”
Georgia has a very competitive situation at receiver, where several players have started this season, the coaches shaking it up each week depending on who has the best practices.
Riley Ridley leads the receivers with 10 starts, Terry Godwin has six starts, Mecole Hardman and Simmons have five starts and Jeremiah Holloman has started three of the past four games.
Simmons has made a name for himself on special teams and with his downfield run blocking, but he has shown this season he’s also dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Simmons has seven caches for 118 yards and two touchdowns this season, but he would likely have more if not for the shoulder injury that knocked him out of the first half of a 43-29 win at Missouri on Sept. 22.
Simmons missed the next week’s game, against Tennessee, and he was stuck playing in a shoulder harness the next two games against Vanderbilt and LSU.
“It was pretty difficult,” Simmons admits, asked what it was like to try to play in the harness. “It was a whole contraption that goes around your body.”
Simmons looked free and clear of any injuries against the Minutemen, his speed evident on the jet sweep run that opened the scoring in the game.
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart could see it coming.
“I thought Tyler for the last couple of weeks, we thought he was one of the fastest guys on the GPS and he’s been popping big numbers,” Smart said. “He’s been really fresh and it showed today. He was able to do some things with the ball in his hands.”
Smart, as usual, was quick to point out the help Simmons received downfield from key blockers.
“None of those plays work without perimeter blocking,” Smart said. “I think a lot of people just think, ‘Oh, man that guy is just an unbelievable player,’they don’t see Luke Ford and Charlie Woerner, Isaac Nauta out there blocking and Jayson Stanley. That sometimes is the harder job than the actual running the ball.”
No one knows that better than Simmons, and he vowed to continue to improve in that area, too.
“There are things I can work on and get better,” Simmons said. “I could have held my blocks longer on some runs.”
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm said he’ll be looking for Simmons more down the road.
“We always knew he had that kind of big-play talent in his back pocket,” Fromm said. “It was just a matter of when we were going to get it, and when we were going to call his number.”
Georgia football WR Tyler Simmons
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