Every year since 2017, Georgia has ranked in the top 4 of every recruiting class nationally but yet hasn’t been able to produce a top 4 team in college football as upper class-men. Georgia won the SEC in 2017 but a large part of the team was made up of leftover Richt recruits and Kirby Smart has taken a lot of heat for the quality of play his recruits have produced. Georgia has been a team that has emphasized the run game and won games with their ball control, field position and defense but that doesn’t seem to be the best formula in the SEC at the moment with high powered offenses being built around the conference. Georgia’s offense struggled to keep up in 2020 early on in the season with problems at quarterback and injuries on the offense but they picked it up late in the season pulling off 4 straight wins with JT Daniels at QB. They’ll have to be explosive in 2021 in order to win a national championship which is the teams ultimate goal and they should be good enough in year 2 with Todd Monken calling plays.
Jamie Newman was set to be the Bulldogs starter in 2020 until he opted out. They had a roller coaster at the quarterback position until Daniels stepped in and provided stability. Stability is what Jake Fromm provided from 2017 to 2019 where he played in every game but he was criticized for not leading a more explosive offense. Daniels was the top QB in his class before reclassifying and starting at USC in a year which should’ve been his senior season in high school and is almost the opposite of Jake Fromm. Daniels is an aggressive passer who drives the ball down the field with high level velocity and accuracy which showed up immediately in his first game against Mississippi State. His mobility was limited coming off a torn ACL but he was still successful passing from the pocket. Daniels needs to continue to develop with his mobility, decision making and other parts of his game but is set to have a very good year with the talent around him. Carson Beck seems to have claimed the backup quarterback role after a redshirt freshman season. Beck was fairly impressive in the spring game and in camp and is a traditional pro style pocket passer with good size and arm talent. We haven’t seen any live game reps yet from Beck but I think Georgia wouldn’t feel too uncomfortable if he had to play. Behind him the Dawgs have Stetson Bennett who was a former walk on who started the first half of the 2020 season and was up and down. He’s definitely is the least physically talented size and arm strength wise but he adds a threat on the ground that the other quarterbacks don’t. 5 star true freshman Brock Vandagriff is also on the team but there is a strong chance he redshirts this season and will compete with Beck and future recruits to be the quarterback of the future. Overall Georgia has their guy with Daniels and have as much depth at the position than any team in college football
The University of Georgia is known for producing stud runningbacks and they have continued to recruit and build the position up well. However I’m not certain that they have that true alpha like they’ve had in the past with guys like Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Zamir White has shown a lot of flashes and is set to be the teams #1 back. He has all the tools to be an elite ball carrier with true 4.4 speed and bruising power. He’s a productive goaline and one cut back who has elite explosion. White has been an inconsistent player and has battled some injuries but if he can put it all together he could be one of college footballs best backs in 2021. They have a lot of depth behind him which includes James Cook who is more of a receiving back with his smooth route running and hands. He showed the ability to split out wide as an outside receiver or slot and has been a consistent player in the Bulldogs offense. Kendall Milton and Kenny Mcintosh are intruiguing players that I’m pretty high on that can provide impact as well. Milton, like White has the physical tools as a runner to develop into one of the nations top ball carriers and he flashed some serious potential last year as a true freshman. He shows Leveon Bell level patience at times and his contact balance looked unbelievably good when he got his opportunity. Despite being the 3rd or 4th back on the roster I have high hopes for Milton for this upcoming season and in the future. Mcintosh at the minimum will provide good value on special teams as he was one of the nations best kick returners. He is also more of a receiving type back like cook who contributes as a receiver and pass blocker. I do think his ceiling is higher than that and has the chance to develop into a nice well rounded back but I’m not sure if he’ll be able to reach that in this room. Daijun Edwards is another back worth mentioning who played sparingly last season as a freshman but is a talented compact back.
The Georgia passing game was inconsistent until Daniels emerged which made it difficult for some of the receivers to stand out. This was especially true for George Pickens who broke out with Daniels at quarterback as one of the most dangerous outside threats in college football over the back half of the 2020 season. Unfortunately for Pickens he suffered a torn ACL in the spring and it is unclear how much he’ll be able to play in 2021 if at all. The Bulldogs offense will miss Pickens’ ball skills and athleticism on the outside but the position remains a strength. There are questions as to who will step up as the alpha but Jermaine Burton is a receiver who certainly may be good enough to earn that status. He’s very reminiscent of Packers receiver Davante Adams both physically and with how they play the position. Burton separates at a very high level and showed really nice flashes with the ball in his hands and tracking the ball down the field. Burton isn’t insanely explosive or tall but he wins and separates often. Kearis Jackson is an under the radar player who had a really nice 2020 season. Mainly known as an after the catch guy but made some plays on all levels of the field and has turned into a well rounded receiver that will see a lot of playing time in 21′. None of those players quite have the skill set to replace Pickens though which is why they brought in Arik Gilbert from LSU as a transfer who will convert from tight end which he played as a freshman to receiver. Gilbert was much more of a receiving tight end so this transition makes sense and at 6’5″ 248 he’s very well suited to fill in as the big bodied possession receiver. Despite his size Gilbert is a great route runner and dangerous with the ball in his hands after the catch. You also can’t forget about Dominick Blaylock who had an impressive freshman season before missing his entire sophomore year with a torn ACL. Blaylock has nice quickness and speed out of the slot and has a chance to be a productive receiver in his redshirt sophomore year. After that there is a bit of dropoff but still a lot of talented guys to have on your radar. Marcus Rosmey-Jacksaint suffered a gruesome in his freshman season against Florida in a season where he showed some promise but was never able to showcase it after getting his opportunity due to injury. Arian Smith is another intruiguing player who is a track runner with serious speed. He has the physical skillset to breakout given the right opportunity. Adonai Mitchell shined in the spring game as a big bodied outside threat and appears to be a talented freshman. There are other 3 and 4 star receivers on the roster but it seems difficult for them to find a path to playing time with the players ahead of them. With or without Pickens, Georgia has guys that can step up into the spotlight and are very deep at the position.
The Tight Ends:
Georgia has typically elected to put their blocking tight ends on the field more so than the receiving tight ends. John Fitzpatrick saw the most playing time last year of any returning tight end. He is tall at 6’6″ which helps him seal the edge as a run blocker and is a solid athlete overall who is serviceable in the passing game. Darnell Washington is the guy most fans get more excited about and has the opportunity to be the teams best tight end. Washington is a 6’7″ 5 star freak athlete sophomore. He’s build like a madden created player and can move better than he should at that size. He hasn’t shown more than flashes at this point but the hype is warranted and he could be in for a huge season if he develops. After that they have Brock Bowers who is a field stretching vertical threat who offers a unique blend to Washington and Fitzpatrick. Ryland Goede is a 4 star redshirt sophomore who is a tall slender athlete at the position and is worth mentioning.
The Offensive Line:
The biggest question for me with the offense is on the offensive line, particularly on the interior. Over the last 2 seasons Georgia has lost 6 starters via transfers or the draft and don’t have a ton of experience on the current line. Jamaree Salyer is the best piece they have at the moment at left tackle and someone they feel good about. He’s a mauling type lineman with solid athleticism and is technically sound in pass protection. At the other tackle spot Warren Mcclendon will likely play right tackle but will be pushed by Xavier Truss and Armarius Mims. Mims was a very highly rated recruit who is a true freshman as the 3rd tackle in his high school class. All of these guys could also potentially play guard which is a question mark on the roster. Justin Shaffer is a somewhat experienced guard but has struggled a lot as a pass blocker when he’s played but will likely start at left guard. Owen Condon has seen playing time as a guard and tackle who could compete with freshman Tate Ratledge and Chad Lindberg for a guard spot. Warren Ericson is dealing with a hand injury in camp but is set to start at center for the Bulldogs replacing Trey Hill. There are some question marks along the offensive line and it is a bit of a concern but they have loaded up on talent recruiting wise it’s just about these guys developing and reaching their potential.
Year in and year out Georgia always seems to have an elite defense under defensive guru coach Kirby Smart but haven’t quite gotten over the hump offensively in order to win a national championship or compete in the college football playoffs consistently. Kirby brought in Todd Monken last season in an attempt to have a more explosive passing attack and it seems like all the pieces are in place for 2021 in order for that to be the case. If JT Daniels continues to develop and get the ball into the hands of these explosive playmakers Georgia has the talent and depth to win the SEC and national championship in 2021.