Brock Bowers-Georgia football-UGA football
Brock Bowers earned his first career start at UGA in his first game at the Duke's Mayo Classic against Clemson in Charlotte, NC.

Georgia football Freshmen Report: UGA 10, Clemson 3

DawgNation will offer this report after every game which focuses on the freshmen who played and their contributions. Check out the Georgia football edition from the hopeful 10-3 win against Clemson at the Duke’s Mayo Classic in Charlotte, NC


Georgia started one true freshman on Saturday night in Charlotte against Clemson.

The Bulldogs went on to deploy six of their 2021 signees against the Tigers. That will include three names that were not listed on the official postgame participation report.

Kirby Smart’s program started another four redshirt freshmen against the No. 3 team in the land. When the game ended, we saw eight total signees from the 2020 class see time against Clemson.

True freshman TE Brock Bowers was the only true freshman to start for Georgia. He extends the trend of a talented first-year starting TE. Darnell Washington, who will be out for at least a couple more weeks with a foot injury, started seven of 10 games in 2020.

If you didn’t know that but are glad that you do now, then the weekly DawgNation “Freshman Report” was filed with that level of reader interest in mind.

Those plays – and the young Georgia football team members who made them – are what the weekly DawgNation “Freshmen Report” is all about.

It was created for the 2018 season to move the needle forward on all the elite recruiting classes the program signs. That was after UGA signed the first of a series of top-ranked recruiting classes under Smart.

Do those young players that get hyped up truly measure up? Are they talented enough to make an impact during their first season on campus? Let’s hunt down those answers from last Saturday’s game.

Did you know the weekly "Before the Hedges" program is available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it.

Tate Ratledge earned his first career start against Clemson in the Duke's Mayo Classic at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC.
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

Rapid-fire participation info from Georgia-Clemson

  • Starting off: Georgia played 14 redshirt or true freshmen Bulldogs. That’s out of the 56 total players who saw action. It adds up to 25 percent of everyone who got on the field in that 10-3 victory.
  • Big picture: The Bulldogs started a total of four players with a redshirt or true freshman class standing. Those guys were all on offense.
  • Comparion’s sake: Kirby Smart started two true freshmen and one redshirt freshman against Arkansas in the 2020 season opener. Those players were all on offense.
  • Hard to do, especially on D: The Bulldogs did not start any true freshman against Vanderbilt in 2019. The only redshirt freshman starter for that game was OLB Azeez Ojulari.
  • Class action: The number of Bulldogs from each of the last few high school classes who saw action against Clemson: 2021 (6); 2020 (16): 2019 (11); 2018 (18) and 2017 (5).
  • Who was missing?: DB Javon Bullard, DB Kamari Lassiter and ILB Smael Mondon Jr. were the three Bulldogs who played in the game but were not listed on the official postgame participation report. Those names are all now listed on Georgia’s official team stats for the 2021 season.
  • Oldheads knocking heads: Georgia deployed nine redshirt juniors and nine true seniors against the Tigers. Those were the largest single contributions from any specific high school class.
  • Oldheads knocking heads, Part II: Looking for another reason why UGA looked so nimble and stout on D? Well, that unit was flush with “grown man” Bulldogs. Georgia started four true juniors, four seniors and three redshirt seniors against the Tigers in Charlotte.
  • Interesting: With all the buzz about transfers around Athens this summer, we can note that true senior CB Derion Kendrick was the only portal addition who started on Saturday. The number will rise to two Bulldogs when also taking into account the transfer of starting QB JT Daniels in 2020.
  • Homegrowns vs. out-of-state signees: Georgia saw 13 off of its starting 22 sign from outside the state. That was evenly distributed to six on offense and seven on defense. Georgia boys made up five of the 11 starting positions on offense.
  • What about Dabo’s team?: Clemson started a pair of true freshmen against the Bulldogs on the offensive line and at safety. The Tigers also played another six true freshmen and one redshirt freshman. If you’re keeping track of the freshman tally, the Bulldogs had the edge with a 14-9 count.
  • Of note: Georgia only played 10 redshirts or true freshmen against No. 1 Alabama in 2020. It appears the staff feels more comfortable with the young guys in a top 5 matchup than it did a year ago. The Bulldogs also only played 50 players in Tuscaloosa in 2020.

Who played against Clemson (by classes):

  • Freshmen: 6
  • Redshirt freshmen: 8
  • Sophomores: 8
  • Redshirt sophomores: 6
  • Juniors: 5
  • Redshirt juniors: 9
  • Seniors: 9
  • Redshirt or graduate seniors: 5
  • Touchdowns by true or redshirt freshmen: 0
  • True or redshirt freshmen among the leading tacklers: 0

Clemson game freshman focus

Georgia played 14 redshirt or true freshmen. The big picture tallies up to 25 percent of all the Bulldogs who played on Saturday. That equates to:

  • 0 of 1 QBs
  • 0 of 5 RBs
  • 4 of 8 WRs (Tied for biggest freshman presence for the game)
  • 4 of 9 OLs (Tied for biggest freshman presence for the game)
  • 1 of 2 TEs
  • 0 of 9 DLs
  • 1 of 4 ILBs
  • 1 of 5 OLBs
  • 3 of 9 DBs
  • 0 of 1 PKs
  • 0 of 1 Ps
  • 0 of 2 LSs

Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with Georgia football names like Jake Fromm, Gunner Stockon and Brock Vandagriff here.


What’s more important? Snaps or starts?

Both are important, but there is a reason why certain players start the game and stay on the field for the biggest plays. That’s because the coaches trust them to play winning football by what they have seen on the practice field.

There are common instances where the scheme fit based on each opponent allows for a different starting rotation as well.

Here is the weekly list of the true freshmen and redshirt freshmen that have started games in 2021.

  • Freshman TE Brock Bowers: 1 game
  • Redshirt freshman WR Ladd McConkey: 1 game
  • Redshirt freshman OG Tate Ratledge: 1 game
  • Redshirt freshman OC Sedrick Van Pran-Granger: 1 game

Who started against Clemson: Bowers, McConkey, Ratledge and Van Pran-Granger

How many different Bulldogs have played in 2019: 56

How many of those have been freshmen or redshirt freshmen: 14 (25 percent of all participation)


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