Kirby Smart pushed his Georgia football player to the limit in offseason conditioning, the better to prepare and protect them from the rigors of the August practices about to begin.ill,
There will be plenty of competition between Bulldogs for starting jobs and slots in the various rotations, as there is every season, even though this is a Georgia football team that’s further along than most.
Still, the Bulldogs have players in key positions that need to step up and fulfill their All-SEC potential.
A look at the preseason teams shows the outside world has modest expectations, even if those who follow Georgia are aware of their vast upsides.
1. Devonte Wyatt
The so-called “pit bull” defensive tackle has led interior linemen in tackles the past two seasons, and with Jordan Davis returning beside him, he should have another productive season.
RELATED: Devonte Wyatt has case as most underrated Georgia player
2. Jermaine Burton
Burton, who goes by “dbassassin” on Instagram, seems like the most likely receiver to put up 1,000 yards provided he can stay healthy. Burton put almost have of his yardage (197) from last season in one game, when JT Daniels served notice in his debut that things were going to change.
RELATED: Jermaine Burton suffered hyperextended knee in spring
3. Jalen Kimber
There are other cornerbacks who have more experience, and others who arrived with higher recruiting rankings, but Kimber has not been deterred. The second-year player from Texas has added strength and quality weight and groomed his skills. Kimber is the most overlooked rising star in the secondary entering fall camp.
4. Nakobe Dean
Dean had double-digit tackle efforts against Kentucky (14), Florida (15) and Mississippi State (12) before being slowed by injury that ultimately required surgery. Dean continued to impress Smart during his offseason recovery: “I’ve never had a player in all my career of coaching who is more engaged.”
RELATED: Nakobe Dean says Dawgs ‘working for something bigger’
5. JT Daniels
Daniels has gotten plenty of attention. But as evidenced by his second-team All-SEC status and the constant questions from Pro Football Focus metrics analyst Anthony Treash, who recently tagged Daniels as Georgia’s “biggest question mark,” there are still plenty of doubters.
RELATED: Metrics analyst ranks JT Daniels No. 6 quarterback in SEC