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Brant Sanderlin/AJC
Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin

Wide receiver is Georgia’s most intriguing position this spring

Cy Brown

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant Georgia football news and takes every Monday through Friday.

The intrigue at receiver

I thought the offensive line and its “musical chairs” would be the most intriguing, but it turns out the action at wide receiver has piqued my interest the most. And how could it not? There are no proven receivers on Georgia’s football roster and seemingly every snap is up for grabs with this relatively young unit. Meanwhile, one favorite to take the mantle of top receiver, Riley Ridley, could miss the entire spring with an injuryShakenneth Williams is doubtful to continue his playing career and Mecole Hardman is finally getting some reps on offense with the need to find a go-to guy.

There are a lot of unknowns with this unit. So many that it may be more beneficial to go over what we do know.

First, although we don’t know who the starting trio of receivers will be, Javon Wims figures to be part of it. He may have only raked in 190 yards receiving and a touchdown, but he has the height (6-foot-4) that no other Georgia receiver can claim. That alone is enough get him a lot of snaps, if only to diversify the types of receivers they have on the field. He did have 5 receptions and 90 yards against Kentucky; his only TD came in the Liberty Bowl, though. Those late-season performances might’ve showed a better understanding between him and Jacob Eason as the season progressed, which would seem to indicate more development in the offseason.

Second, Terry Godwin is the man most likely to be looked to as Eason’s top WR. He’s entering his third season and hasn’t done much of note after being a much-hyped recruit, gaining less than 400 yards receiving in each of his first two years. As a guy who has played since his freshman season, even if he hasn’t produced a ton, he’s the most experienced wideout on the team. Since Isaiah McKenzie dipped and left the slot position vacant, Godwin is the obvious guy to step up at receiver.

That’s about it as far as what we do know, and I even had to edge them a bit. Here are some other questions I have about this unit:

  • I think Ridley has an extremely bright future, but foot injuries are always tough, and who can ever know how sitting out a spring will affect a player’s development?
  • Michael Chigbu is a fantastic blocker, but can he become a more well-rounded receiver and catch more passes next season?
  • Which players from the freshman crop of wideouts will make noise? 
  • How much will spring practice give early enrollee Jeremiah Holloman a leg up and will he be ready to produce next season?
  • Can someone such as Tyler Simmons surprise us all and become one of the top receivers on the team?

We won’t have answers to any of these questions until next season, but we should get some hints as spring practice chugs along. It should be interesting, if nothing else.

A star is born

Although the position battle will rage on through the rest of the spring, we have a favorite for the starter at star (nickel) corner. Sophomore Tyrique McGhee is first on the depth chart right now, but freshmen Richard LeCounte and Deangelo Gibbs will compete with him and could overtake him as the year progresses. Although McGhee is the man right now, Kirby Smart’s comments hinted he wants a bigger player at star, perhaps Gibbs, who has a couple inches on both LeCounte and McGhee. From Seth Emerson of DawgNation:

“You’re out there playing on (tight end) Charlie Woerner and he comes to block you, do you want a 160-pounder or do you want a 205-pound guy? It’s pretty obvious that we’ve got to have a pretty big guy,” Smart said. “Deangelo is a guy that we know has the ability. Can he sustain, can he run, can he do all the things he needs to do? There’s an argument to say that a guy takes every rep at that position and that becomes his home base and that guy becomes like [Maurice Smith]. But we’re not ready to commit all that to him because we think he’s a good football player who might be able to play other positions.”

But Smart also had some comments that seem to argue against Gibbs or LeCounte as the solution at star. Both freshmen project as safeties in the long term, and if that is indeed where Smart plans to play them, his comments indicate an edge would go to McGhee, who’s only focused on corner.

“That’s a really important spot in your defense, because it’s like an anchor,” Smart said. “I put this rock here. Mo was just steady. He didn’t play much anywhere else because he just played there. So, we’re trying to develop and figure out who those people are.”

I’ve said before that star is the most important position battle of the spring, and I can’t wait to see who does what on G-Day.

Can I kick it?

One position battle that hasn’t been talked about much this offseason is kicker. Rodrigo Blankenship holds the top spot on UGA’s depth chart right now, but he didn’t establish himself enough last season to guarantee the gig for next season. Smart has said he wants Georgia to kick farther on kickoffs. So, even if Blankenship holds on to the job kicking field goals, Wofford transfer David Marvin could beat him out on kickoffs. Here’s Marc Wesizer in the Athens Banner-Herald:

Georgia ranked 65th nationally in touchback percentage at 35.82 percent, according to CFBstats.com. Blankenship, who made 14 of 18 field goals, had touchbacks on 38.2 percent of kickoffs. Marvin had touchbacks on 49.3 percent of his kickoffs last year.

Wofford averaged giving up 22.2 yards per kickoff return while Georgia allowed 23.8.

There’s no adjusting for competition you have to do when looking at touchbacks. A touchback against Furman traveled the same distance as a touchback against Florida. So, if Marvin’s numbers hold steady, and there’s no reason to think they won’t, he’ll likely win the kickoff job.

J.J. Frazier to play in all-star game

Georgia didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but there will still be one Bulldog at the Final Four. J.J. Frazier was selected to the NABC All-Star team and will play in the Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game this Friday in Phoenix.

“It’s going to be fun,” Frazier said. “It’s an experience I didn’t get to have in high school. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to fly out there and to represent Georgia one more time. I’m very excited.”

The game tips off at 3:35 p.m. Friday and will be shown on CBS Sports Network.

ICYMI

Good dog

Feels good, man.