Georgia is predominately playing an all-freshmen line beside sole junior, nose guard, John Atkins, and sophomore, Trent Thompson. The four leading freshmen on the d-line are, Michail Carter, Tyler Clark, David Marshall, and Julian Rochester.
Coach Kirby Smart let in on a little insight on what he thinks about his defensive line.
‘’They’ve got a long way to go. The fact they’re playing — is it because they’re really good or is it out of necessity. I always say that. I’m proud of ‘em. I love ‘em. But they’ve got to improve. They’ve got to improve in a lot of areas. Julian (Rochester), I don’t know how many tackles he had last week. I know he had a lot of stats, but Julian can play better. He’s got to play with more strike and more pad leverage. Each one of those guys. But can they be great? Yeah, they can be great. My history has been that you don’t have to play freshman D-linemen. We’ve had to play ‘em. They’re learning trial by fire. Each one’s a little different than the other ones, and they’ve all been pleasant surprises,”
Two of the four freshmen, Tyler Clark and Julian Rochester, have played in all 9 of Georgia’s games so far this season. Clark has 11 total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, a QB hurry and assisting on a QB sack in those 9 games. Rochester has 29 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and a forced fumbled on the year so far.
David Marshall has played in 8 of Georgia’s 9 games this season, and he has made 17 stops on the season including 2.5 sacks, 2 hurries, and 2.5 tackles for a loss, plus a forced fumble. Michail Carter has played in 6 games.
The Defensive line is something that Georgia must continue to recruit hard.
“But we’re continuing to recruit a lot of D-linemen because we have to have ‘em. And if the ones we recruit are better than these guys, and they don’t get better, then they’ll get passed by. So the guys here on the team realize that we’re always trying to get better, so if you’re not working at your trade, they’ll pass you by if you’re not careful,” Smart said.
Georgia has two defensive linemen committed. Devonte Wyatt, a three-star defensive tackle, and Robert Beal, a four-star weak-side defensive end, according to Rivals.
The Dawgs are still in the running with a couple big-time defensive linemen prospects. For the 2017 class, Malik Herring, a four-star strong-side defensive end, and Aubrey Solomon, a four-star defensive tackle, according to Rivals. Both are highly sought prospects by many schools, and either one could have an early impact at Georgia, which seems to be a big selling point in for recruits.
Georgia wants to add some depth to this young defensive line and Coach Smart let the media know that it is a priority. If he and his coaching staff are able to convince Aubrey Solomon and Malike Herring to come to Athens and add their size and talent along with Robert Beal and Devonte Wyatt to the “freshmen Four Horsemen,” that would certainly be a great start.