ATHENS — The No. 4-ranked Georgia Bulldogs stepped out onto Woodruff Practice Fields for Day 1 of a possible 28 practices to be conducted during the month of August leading into the Sept. 1 opener against Austin Peay.
The Bulldogs were limited to just helmets and shorts as they will be for the NCAA’s mandatory five-day acclimatization period, which might’ve been a good thing considering the sweltering heat atop fields still wet from all-night rain storm.
Commanding the most attention of the new group was a player in red wearing the number 16. That’d be Cal transfer wide receiver Demetris Robertson. Robertson has filed a hardship waiver with the NCAA appealing for immediate eligibility rather than having to sit out a “year in residence” as FBS rules require.
Recent successful appeals of players at Florida and N.C. State have Georgia fans feeling confident about a similar decision for the Robertson, a Savannah native who left high school as the nation’s No. 1-rated receiver. But coach Kirby Smart said earlier Friday he does not expect those decisions to have any bearing on this one.
As reported by DawgNation last week, Robertson is free to practice with the team until a decision is rendered. No one at UGA is able to predict what the timeline for that might be.
In the meantime, there were many other observances to note in what was only a 10-minute viewing period for the media. There will much more time on Saturday as the Bulldogs will conduct an open practice at Sanford Stadium that will conclude with the Fans Day autograph session afterward.
- Who’s wearing what numbered jersey is always an interesting sidebar of Georgia’s first practices. Until Friday, it wasn’t certain what number any of the newly-arriving players would be wearing. A few notable ones included: Notre Dame graduate transfer defensive lineman Jay Hayes wearing the No. 7 abandoned by Lorenzo Carter; he was 93 with the Fighting Irish; freshman running back James Cook was wearing number 6; cornerback Tyson Campbell wore 3; and inside linebacker Quay Walker was 25. Others included 12–Tommy Bush, 16–Divaad Wilson, 17–Otis Reese, 29–Chris Smith, 38– Azeez Ojulari, 41–Channing Tindall, 45–Luke Ford, 56–Adam Anderson, 69–Jamaree Salyer, 75–Owen Condon, 86–John FitzPatrick, 90–Jake Camarda, 99-Jordan Davis.
- Running back Zamir White was indeed running full speed through all the drills, albeit with a significant red metal brace on his right knee. Smart had said earlier in the day that the No. 1-rated running back in the Class of 2018 was “full go” for practice.
- Take it for what it’s worth, but the order the backs ran through drills Friday was Elijah Holyfield, Brian Herrien, Prather Hudson, D’Andre Swift, White, then Cook. That makes sense from the standpoint that Swift sat out spring practice with a groin injury. Nonetheless, Swift is expected to be the starter eventually.
- Georgia has recruited some quarterback help to back up Jake Fromm and Justin Fields. Also taking snaps with the QBs and coach James Coley were redshirt freshman John Seter (number 16) and new walkons Mason Wood (4) of Douglasville and Matthew Downing (17) of Alpharetta.
- It wasn’t necessarily apparent during practice viewing, but coach Kirby Smart intimated that freshman Jamaree Salyer would be competing with senior Lamont Gaillard and fellow freshman Warren Ericson for playing time at center this season. Salyer was the No. 1-rated guard prospect in the country coming out of Atlanta’s Pace Academy last year.
- New DawgNation beat writer Mike Griffith was getting his first up close and personal look at Georgia’s quarterbacks. He really liked what he saw, especially that big kid wearing the No. 1 jersey. He remarked about how effortlessly he seemed to throw the football.
First impression of seeing Justin Fields live at practice? Yep, yep, yep …
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) August 3, 2018