Sports Illustrated Preseason Top 25


Sports Illustrated’s Preseason Top 25 was released yesterday and UGA is outside the top 10 at number 11. Clemson, Florida and South Carolina were included in the top 10 at numbers 10, 9, and 7, respectively.

The first half of 2013 is going to determine the success of this year’s team. LSU (13) and Vanderbilt (23) round out the Dawgs top 25 rated opponents. With Clemson, South Carolina and LSU coming in the first four games, 2013 will provide an early test for Georgia’s young defense.


Georgia Bulldogs
2012 record:  12-2 (7-1 SEC)

Key returnees:  QB Aaron Murray, RB Todd Gurley, RB Keith Marshall, WR Michael Bennett, WR/CB Malcolm Mitchell, CB Damian Swann, LB Amarlo Herrera


Key losses:  LB Jarvis Jones, LB Alec Ogletree, S Baccari Rambo, S Shawn Williams, DT John Jenkins, DT Kwame Geathers, DE Cornelius Washington, CB Sanders Commings


Spring star:  LB James DeLoach


Other than the Alabama guard who winds up replacing Chance Warmack, DeLoach may have the toughest replacement assignment in the nation. The 6-3, 270-pound sophomore from Millen, Ga., won the strongside linebacker job this spring, meaning he gets to replace Jarvis Jones. Jones led the nation in 2012 with 24.5 tackles for loss, and DeLoach will have to replace at least some of that productivity. But DeLoach won’t be the only Bulldog who must replace a star. Mike Thornton may seem huge (6-1, 302 pounds) compared to the average human, but he’s svelte compared to the 358-pound Jenkins. Even though he’s 56 pounds lighter, Thornton will be expected to command the same double teams Jenkins did at nose tackle. If he doesn’t, the Bulldogs’ defense won’t work as intended.